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Featured Items from the Abbe's Collections

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Wedding Dress

Wedding dress, Susan Thompson, Penobscot

Beaded Wedding Dress

• Susan "Sunflower" Thompson, Penobscot

• deerskin, elk skin, glass beads, porcupine quills, bone and metal buttons

• worn in 1995 wedding at Mesa Verde


Susan "Sunflower" Thompson's hand-made and hand-beaded wedding dress is the only piece of contemporary Wabanaki beaded clothing in the Abbe's collection. It was given to the museum by Thompson in 2006.


Thompson made the dress over a period of several years, and she estimates it was about two months of work. The top, beaded area is done on soaked and stretched deerskin, which is stiffer to stand up to the weight of the beads. The lower part is made with three white doeskins, and is soft and supple. Matching doeskin leggings and moccasins trimmed with rabbit fur (not pictured) complete the ensemble.


Thompson comes from a family of artists, including her mother ssipsis, a poet and visual artist, and her sisters Pam Cunningham and Kim Bryant, both accomplished basketmakers.


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