Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bust with Crown

I started this carving almost 10 years ago and only finished it in 2009. My studio has many projects in various states of completion. Sometimes I get stalled for lack of just the right tool or materials...sometimes I just get too busy with life.

This carving is not made of burl wood, but made from a 180 year old walnut log obtained from a log barn restoration. There are over 200 growth rings, so this tree began growing about the year 1600. The finish is chip carved and over that a hand made paint. I burnished the painted surface in order to rub through the high points to expose the dark walnut underneath. The design for this bust is based upon a carved effigy head that adorns an exceptional 17th century Native American ball club. As is found on the original club, the eyes of my sculpture are cast in pure lead.

The headdress and 18th c. style trade silver were made by artist Jan Zender. The headdress is known as a chiefs crown and is made from buffalo horn, dyed porcupine quills, horse and deer hair, rawhide, brain tanned deer skin and natural pigments. The original 18th century crown is in the collections of the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris.

Jan Zender is one of the worlds leading artists in the field of early Native American artifact reproductions and restoration. I have included a link to his web site at the right of this blog.

photo by Jan Riser

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