Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Yellow Bird & Little Beaver

Took a while to finally get the varnish on this one. Lots of paint not to mention the beading. In the past I just ran a beaded strip over the top and down the sides of the papoose but this time I decided to try and bead the whole thing. Turned out pretty well I think. If you've ever seen the real cradleboards you will marvel as I do the care and artistry that goes into making one. You can just look and see just how much the Native Americans treasured their children.
I was worried that the highly patterned blanket, the beaded moccasins, pants, cradleboard and all the other decorations might be too much but after looking at it a while and seeing the reactions and reading the comments I guess it wasn't. I really love doing Native Americans.
Willie Lone Eagle was still hanging around the shop when I finished this one and placing them together really makes a nice group. Hopefully, whoever takes them home will take them all together. Would hate to see the family break up!
As always, comments are appreciated.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Carving the Cradleboard

With the figure finished we can now do the Cradleboard. As I'm here in Oklahoma I've decided to do one from a tribe that was resident here.....Kiowa. Here's where a little research will really help you out. With the Net it should be no problem for you to track down photos of cradleboards as there are lots of them out there. I haven't decided on just how much beading I will do on this one so I haven't added it on yet.
The photos are pretty clear as to what I did to do this part of the project. I used a 1- 3/8" Forstner bit to drill the hole into the block. You want to drill it deep enough for the head insert to fit naturally. Once you get the hole drilled take a 1/8" bit and drill on through so you can insert something to push out the head as you carve and fit it. Otherwise it will get stuck in there. Make the insert about 1/2" thick so you have plenty to work with. Make it the same size as the hole and then carve it to fit easily into the hole but not so much that there is a lot of space around it. To make the frame I just slabbed off some thin strips of basswood, carved them to remove the saw marks, and epoxied them together, leaving a lot of excess wood to cut away after every thing hardened up.
The cradleboard is mounted to the body with a couple of 1/8" dowels but I don't glue the frame to the bag or body until we get it painted.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Squaw With Papoose

As it's been a while since we did a complete project I thought this would be a good one if you want to follow along . It will be quite a colorful carving when done and will require you to do some research. At least I hope you do the research, that's half the fun of doing this type of carving. I'm not going into the actual carving of this except for the head as we've covered carving in other posts. I will devote some time to doing the Papoose as it will require a little construction.
The photo giving the pattern can be blown up to give you the correct sizes using the 10" length of the side profile a a guide. The Papoose blank should be at least 1- 3/8" thick.
You will note from the associated photos that I do a lot of roughing out on my bandsaw. DON'T DO IT!!! It's a very dangerous shortcut that only a fool would use. I guess because my wife is always telling me that I'm a "fool" I think I can get away with it!! One of these days I'll pay the piper!
Once the body was completely carved I burnt in the creases and also the blanket pattern. I used a design called "Circle of Life" out of the latest Pendleton Blanket catalog. Here's the link: , If you want to use something else that's fine. Just remember....with all the folds and overlays in the blanket you'll have to adjust your pattern to reflect this.

After I carved the head I determined the head position on the body, and then carved, fitted and epoxied the braids into place. Do this one side at a time, that's the easiest way. And remember this very important rule of attaching parts: Always leave enough excess wood on the two pieces to allow you to carve the attachment to look like it's part of the main piece and not just something glued on. Sure, you can try and carve the braids and the head a one piece but I can tell you that you'll never get the head to fit down into the body with those braids in the way. You could also carve the head, braids and body as one piece but it would just not look as good as it will the way we will do it. I use Tuf-Carve epoxy to attach things. It's strong, can be carved and is close in basswood in color. Here's the link in case you want to buy some. It goes a long way so get the smallest amount you can.

More photos in the Gallery section.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Brushpopper Bill

Here's a bust I just completed carving. He's going to Chicago to occupy the top spot on a Bottle-Stopper Christmas tree that another artist is constructing. This guy collects bottlestoppers from all over the world and then assembles these fantastic constructions involving hundreds of different stoppers. This new one will be all Cowboys with old Bill being the "King of the Cowboys"! I'll try and post a photo once it's finished.
Here's old Bill all decked out for the Saturday Night Dance over at the Bandstand. He's got a new prospect all lined up and thought he'd better put on his best shirt to make a good impression. I hope he combed out all those biscuit crumbs from that hairbrush above his lip!!
Move photos after the jump and comments always welcome!