The 2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellows, Gabriel Frey, Theresa Secord, and Jason Brown, all gave artist demonstrations at the Abbe Museum's Annual Meeting on June 3, 2016.
The Abbe Museum is honored to announce the 2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellows, recognizing three exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and significant contributions to the arts: Jason K. Brown, Penobscot, Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, and Theresa Secord, Penobscot. These fellowships are made possible through support from Dawnland, LLC, the concessioner in Acadia National Park.
The fellowships are intended to provide support for travel, lodging, and other costs associated with exhibiting at Indian art markets in Maine and New Mexico. Brown and Secord will attend the 2016 Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Santa Fe Indian Market (SWAIA) in August, and Frey will attend one of the local markets.
“It is an honor to support talented Wabanaki artists and we look forward to hearing about their success and supporting them through fellowships, our Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market on July 9, 2016, and through our museum shop,” said Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, president and CEO of the Abbe Museum.
Brown, owner of Bangor-based jewelry studio Decontie & Brown, handcrafts jewelry and traditional beadwork made from various metals and semi-precious gemstones. “My work is motivated by my desire to bring to life the designs created by my imagination,” Brown said. “I find inspiration in nature, and in the designs of my Penobscot culture. Historically, the Wabanaki people hired local metalsmiths to create adornments for them. I feel that as a contemporary Wabanaki jeweler, I am breaking new ground as a metalsmith and jeweler.”
Frey, a Passamaquoddy brown ash basketmaker, specializes in utility baskets such as pack baskets, market baskets, and purses. “I weave each basket solely with brown ash and handcraft leather straps for each basket,” Frey said. “My artistic process includes locating and harvesting basket quality brown ash trees from the woods, processing brown ash logs, and weaving brown ash materials into basket forms. I carve the hoops, rims, handle, and wooden pins to fasten leather straps. The majority of my tools, such as basket molds, gauges, and my shave horse, are adaptations of traditional designs. Maintaining the traditional knowledge of Wabanaki basketmakers is an important aspect of my artistic process.”
Over the past ten years, Secord has won awards for her basketry, including several first places at Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, and the Eiteljorg Indian Market. She is also the first U.S. citizen to receive the Prize for Creativity in Rural Life by the Women’s World Summit Foundation at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, for helping basket makers rise out of poverty. “My art journey is currently focused on the use of alternative, natural materials to supplement ash, due to the Emerald Ash Borer beetle,” Secord said. “I’ve been dedicated to the preservation/protection of the sacred ash trees for 23 years, and helped pioneer the use of cedar bark overlay on ash in Maine Indian basketry a few years ago.”
About Dawnland, LLC
Dawnland, LLC operates the Jordan Pond House restaurant, including the traditional tea and popovers on the lawn overlooking Jordan Pond and the Bubbles, and retail services at Jordan Pond House, Cadillac Mountain, and Thunder Hole. Dawnland's parent company, Ortega National Parks, LLC, has more than 45 years of hospitality experience and over 16 years' experience operating concessions in the National Park Service, including at Bandelier National Monument, White Sands, Muir Woods, Carlsbad Caverns, Death Valley and Gateway National Recreation Area.