When I was a boy, my bedroom was decorated with decoys, wildlife art, raccoon, mink and rabbit skins, a stuffed great horned owl, paper wasp nests, traps, bow and arrow, old sporting magazines from Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Sports Afield.
We lived in what was a generation ago a rural farming community not far from the bay. But tucked away in a forgotten corner of town surrounded my thousands of acres of old logging trails, swamps, ponds, and meadows. This was my playground growing up fishing, hunting, camping, hiking and exploring and it was indeed a glorious childhood in a coastal sea town called Duxbury. Today, there is very little trace of what once was, but it is still a lovely town.
I took a drive today and met up with Master Decoy Carver, Martin Collins, in his carving barn in Bridgewater, MA. It was like a step back in time into my childhood, and it was glorious. Marty’s childhood was spent very much like mine, in the outdoors, and his carving barn holds all the memories of days gone by.
But something quite nice about it all is, Marty, and now also his son, have kept the old traditions of hunting, fishing, and “make do” alive. They are modern-day decoy, shorebird, fish and lure carvers that have kept the old traditions of the past alive and they leap from their work into into your hands. They are true craftsman from the old days and their carvings are stunning pieces of art.
I took a few photos to try and capture the flavor of Marty’s life and work. I hope you enjoy them and more importantly, I hope you will pay Marty a visit yourself to enjoy the carver and his work in person as much as I did.
Capt. David Bitters, BAYMEN, www.baymenlife.com 30 Years Guiding The Bay.