Sadly David Moses Bridges, Passamaquoddy - father, husband, craftsman, environmentalist, wonderful speaker, crafter of canoes and birch bark art - as well as a true friend to so many passed away on January 20th, 2017 after a long battle with cancer. He is missed tremendously by all who knew him. -
Passamaquoddy Birchbark craftsman, David Moses Bridges was an award-winning artist, who had received national attention for his work, which ranges from full-size birchbark canoes to traditional birchbark containers.
David grew up on the Sipayik [Pleasant Point] Passamaquoddy Indian Reservation near Eastport Maine – the most easterly point in the United States. It was there that he learned from his great-grandfather, Sylvester Gabriel that not only had Gabriel been a hunting and fishing guide, but also a birchbark canoe maker. His great-grandfather passed away when David was only 10, so David was not able to learn the art of birchbark working from him. However he works with his great-grandfather's tools. Having spent his summers as a boy at Sipayik, David traveled throughout the US for over 10 years after high school. He returned to the reservation in 1992 to learn brown ash and sweetgrass basketry. While learning basketry from his grandmother, Beatrice Socotomah, his interest in birchbark work and birchbark canoes was rekindled.
David Moses Bridges had served as an artist-in-residence at many museums while building/demonstrating the traditional art of birchbark canoe making. As a result, many of his elegant canoes are on exhibit at museums including the Eiteljorg in Indianapolis, IN, Downeast Heritage Museum in Calais, ME, and the Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport, ME.
Currently there are none of David Moses Bridges' offered at American Native Arts and Antiques - If I do come across some of his work, I will certainly offer it here.
Images and video courtesy of the University of Maine & the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance ... Watch David Moses Bridges discussing building a birchbark canoe - [chitna.asap.um.maine.edu/miba/examples/scrollable-view.html]