Overboard Art’s vision is to produce American inspired and American made quality giftware and sculptures depicting wild birds and native habitat. Europe has been very successful in doing this, building on its long arts and crafts tradition. Don Briddell founded Overboard Art to attempt to establish a similar tradition in the American context.
The name Overboard Art came from the fact that decoys were once thrown overboard with no regard for their value as unique artifacts of the American experience. Decoys were invented by Native American Indians and in use for a thousand years before the colonists began using them, perfecting their utility and attractiveness. Over the years, the realism of the decoys ever more closely approximated the shape and color of wildfowl, gradually becoming recognized as collectable works of art. As the value of this new art form dawned on sportsmen and collectors, they began going “overboard” to get the decoys out of the water and on to the mantelpiece in their living rooms.
Don Briddell’s work during his competition years ranked among the top carver/artists. He attended all the shows in the early days beginning in 1963. For years he was a judge at competitions around the country. Major shows included The Ward Foundation Show, Easton’s Waterfowl Festival, Charleston’s Southeastern Waterfowl Festival, Audubon Show, as well as numerous shows held in California, Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia, New England, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York and others. Don’s work was included in the first exhibition of bird carving from America to tour Japan and England. In the late 1990’s Don retired from competition in order to concentrate on Overboard Art, commissioned sculptures and his other work in Form and Structure Theory and writing. Most rewarding has been the experience of teaching more than one hundred people to carve and paint.