A few years ago, with the help of a generous donor, the Abbe Museum launched the Friends of the Collection Fund to help us make purchases for our permanent collection. With this support, we've been able to buy baskets by important Wabanaki Master Basketmakers like Sarah Sockbeson, Jeremy Frey, and Molly Neptune Parker. And sometimes, we've also been able to respond when interesting objects are made available by auction or by an individual seller, and we've added some of these unique items to our collections from Decontie & Brown, Gina Brooks, and James Eric Francis, Sr. In all honesty, though, our biggest hope for this fund is to be able to buy art and objects that have significance to Wabanaki people and the Abbe. So often, significant pieces are difficult to buy when they are on the open market or a collector makes the purchase before we are able to raise the funds. We are in this challenging position now.
Passamaquoddy artist, father, husband, friend, culture-keeper, and Abbe trustee David Moses Bridges passed away earlier this year. As with any creative soul, he was working until his last days. Thanks to his widow, Patricia, we have the opportunity to purchase three pieces of birchbark art for the Abbe's permanent collection. And, with the support of David's extended family, Patricia has offered this opportunity to us first as we have the largest collection of David's work in the world and it means a great deal to hold his work in the Wabanaki homeland. Considering the Abbe Museum as their first choice, David's family wants to honor his strong commitment to this institution and its process of decolonization. We have the first right of refusal on these gorgeous pieces of art and history and we would like to exercise this right with your help.
By making a gift today, you can help us reach our fundraising goal of $9,100 before the end of 2017. You can donate by clicking the button at the bottom below and making a gift or sending a check to the Abbe with the notation "DMB purchase" in the memo. Images and detailed descriptions of these pieces are listed below.
Thanks to your generosity, we have raised half of our goal of $9,100, which means we are able to purchase one of the three pieces that David's widow, Patricia, offered! Specifically, the birchbark box that David was working on at the time of his death in January 2017 (featured first below). Thank you for making this opportunity a possibility. We couldn't have done it without you!
The Friends of the Collection is an ongoing campaign, so anyone can donate at any time. Thank you for being a friend of the collection!
BIRCHBARK BOX, 2016
Birchbark, spruce root
14" diameter x 11" high
Purchase price: $4,800
This box is the last one created by David before his death in January 2017. It remains unfinished on the lashings on the top, and yet is still so beautiful. David chose to leave the bark on this piece undecorated so that people could more fully appreciate the natural beauty of the bark.
Birchbark, spruce root
10" diameter x 8 1/2" high
Purchase price: $4,000
This etched box so vividly reflects David's artistic hand. The double-curves are distinctive, David's own interpretation of this traditional Wabanaki symbol. It is fully decorated inside and out, with the inside of the cover and both the inside and outside of the bottom of the piece elaborately etched. This piece was included in the Peabody Essex Museum exhibit Branching Out: Trees as Art from September 2014 to September 2015.
KNIFE SHEATH, 2016
irchbark, spruce root, ash
Purchase price: $300
In his last years, David was exploring new shapes and designs for his art pieces. In this context, he made this sheath to carry his knife, a wonderful example of how art and function come together in David's work and in Wabanaki use of birchbark. The sturdy bark is a full 1/8" thick.
Thank you for being a friend of the collection!