Ashley Ryder

I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and though I have traveled, Orcas has been my heart's home for sixteen years. I worked for my Bachelor’s Degree of Liberal Arts at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.  My focus revolved around herbalism, medicinal plants of the PNW, yoga, writing, and fine art, including my most current and intriguing love affair, fine metalwork.

    My brand name, Sea Starling Fine Metalwork, blends Sea Star (the historically ubiquitous “starfish” native to the San Juan Islands) and Starling (an introduced European bird whose winter feather-tips grow brilliant white, causing the birds to resemble a clear night sky full of stars). I observe both my status as a “native” born Northwesterner and an introduced species of European descent. 

 Many of my designs include imagery of the Pacific Northwest and Salish Sea:  one of the most ecologically diverse regions of the world.  "Salish Sea" is a recent naming of the collective waters of Puget Sound, Juan de Fuca Strait, and the Strait of Georgia. The name honors the Indigenous Tribes of this region, and recognizes our watershed as trans-boundary between Canada, the Indigenous Tribal Nations, and the United States.  Collaboration is imperative to properly care for our shared resources.  Through my metalwork I strive to inspire stewardship of this magical place with images of the beauty around us.

 I spend the dark northwest winters at work in my metal shop.  The warmer seasons I work as a captain and naturalist for a whale watching vessel.

Thank you for your interest in my work!