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Angelica "Angel" H. (Hollins) Braestrup

August 22, 1940 ~ July 3, 2020 (age 79)


Cumberland Center - On July 3, 2020, Angelica (Angel) Hollins Braestrup died of complications of ALS at home in Cumberland Center, Maine.


A lifelong artist, Angel Braestrup moved to Maine in 2008 following the sale of her organic farm in Frederick County, Maryland, where she had raised horses, sheep, and other livestock over nearly 40 years.   She also rescued countless dogs, cats, and parrots, rehabilitated almost as many wild animals, and served on the board of the East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue.  Animals and the human condition are a constant theme in her art.


Angel was born in New York City in 1940 to Harry and Elizabeth Hollins.  Growing up, she spent almost every summer in Maine.  She attended Sarah Lawrence College, and spent years living abroad in Algiers, France, and Bangkok before returning to the United States and subsequently moving to the farm.  She attended Mount Saint Mary’s College, transferring to earn her BA in philosophy and English from Georgetown University in 1979 where she subsequently did graduate work in English.  Her working years were devoted to training teachers and future medical students in underserved communities in Alabama, Texas, California, New York and on reservations in Arizona.  Throughout she never lost her dedication to making art.  


After retiring to Maine, Angel moved from the large complex watercolors that she had previously exhibited to three-dimensional art.  She began taking classes in clay in early 2009 and had her first sculpture exhibit in 2011.  Over the next few years, she showed works in clay and bronze.  Her 2015 show earned critical acclaim.  Fascinated by the role of negative space and by the way it defines movement in sculpture, she took up working in sawdust and glue applied to an armature of sticks, tape, wire, and paper.  The application process is meditative and allows the creation of sculptures that are both strong and light.  In May 2016, she had a show of these final works at the Elizabeth Moss Galleries in Falmouth.   Throughout the years that she lived with ALS, she persevered with determination and good spirits—ever ready to go look at art, go to visit one of her favorite state parks, or enjoy a good meal with friends and family. 


Angel is survived by her children Carl-Peter H. Braestrup of Topsham and San Francisco, Kate Braestrup (Siem van der Ven) of Lincolnville, and Angelica (Mark J. Spalding) of Topsham and Washington, D.C., by her grandchildren Zachary, Peter (Megan), Anne, and Elizabeth Griffith, Cobus and Ilona van der Ven, Hollie and Quintus Cunningham, and Bagna Braestrup, and by her great grandson, Maximus Griffith.  She is also survived by her brother Harry Hollins (Mariette), her sisters Brita Holmquist Bonechi (Roberto), Lilias Outerbridge, and Elizabeth Elliott (Clint), her sister-in-law Ellen Braestrup Strickler (Daniel), and dozens of nieces, nephews, and cousins.  Her parents, her great grandson Drew Griffith, and her sister Evelina Hollins Kats predeceased her. 


Her family would like to extend their deepest thanks and gratitude to her caregivers who added so much to her quality of life for years before her peaceful passing, to the caring staff of Hospice of Southern Maine, and to all the friends and family who made a special effort to brighten her days.  She frequently expressed her gratitude for all of you.


Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue (320 Zoo Road, Fairfield, PA  17320), Good Shepherd Food Bank (PO Box 1807, Auburn, ME 04211-1807), or to the charity of your choice.


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