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Details about  Wigwam & sunrays - etched birchbark container by Otter

Wigwam & sunrays - etched birchbark container by Otter See original listing
Item Sold
Item condition:
Aug 20, 2013 17:53:28 PDT
US $292.50
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Item location:
Sedgwick, Maine, United States


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Last updated on  May 21, 2012 06:38:03 PDT  View all revisions

Item specifics

New: A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item (including handmade items). See the seller's listing ... Read moreabout the condition

"Otter", Eric Bacon

Exact Type:

Birchbark container

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birchbark and ash splints

August 2011 - Otter wins 2nd place ribbon in basketry @ SWIA - Santa Fe Indian Market - Most prestigious Native American art show

Otter wins 2nd place ribbon in basketry @ Heard Museum, Invitational only Native American Art Show - March 2011! - Amazing - 2nd place honors at the 2 most prestigious Native American art shows in one year!

This birch bark container by Passamaquoddy artist, Otter,  takes this very traditional craft, etched birch bark, in a very traditional round cylinder shape comes with traditional Passamaquoddy motifs done in Otter's own innovative fashion.    Here Otter binds the birch bark with ash splint, traditionally spruce root would have been used.  The exterior of this cylindrical container has a wigwam motif - it is on the front and on either side are what appear to me to be rays of the sun.  Otter has etched another wigwam on the interior bottom of the container and what seems to me to be a campfire on the exterior bottom (See slideshow above to view these).   The etching is done on the birch bark by painstakingly and meticulously scrapping the very thin outer layer off the bark to show the next lighter layer below.  This box is of winter bark - a heavier bark making sturdy, long-lasting and superior items.    Otter has covered the closure of the circularly wrapped bark with a twig - that is a traditional way of making that closure - he has fastened the twig with spruce root - traditionally used for all binding on birch bark items.  However - Otter uses a tapered round twig - rather than a thinner 1/2 twig with flat side toward the container.  Additionally, Otter uses a twig that extends above the container and one that angles out above it - looking rather like a handle on a cup  ...  (NOTE while some birch bark containers of old were meant to hold water - this one is not that type of construction - NOT a cup!)   Please view all the photos above to see all sides of this superb piece! 
This birch bark container  is 3.5" diameter and 3.5" to the rim. The twig extends to a height of 4.25" and an additional 1.5" out from the side of the container.    The carved bentwood rim on the inside of the basket is a very traditional old way to finish the rim of a Passamaquoddy basket - it is lashed to the birch bark with ash splints.   The bottom of the box is affixed with ash lashing as well.    It is in details such as this you can really see the total artist that is Otter - mixing contemporary with tradition while always keeping to a high standard of beauty in each piece. 

Otter just recently began to make baskets, for while he was an apprentice to Jeremy Frey, arguably the best current Maine Indian basketmaker. Certainly Jeremy, still in his twenties, is one of the most honored. Eric "Otter" Bacon has a background in art and has his paintings exhibited in several west coast galleries. He recently returned from the west coast to once again reside on the Indian Township reserve, where he was raised - this is located near the Canadian border, near Princeton Maine  - See a photo of Otter in slideshow above. 


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