Friday, January 19, 2018

Historical Paddle Illustration: Peachey - View of Three Rivers

Here's more historic artwork by military artist James Peachey. This broad vista is entitled, "A View of Three Rivers Taken from the Road leading to Pointe du Lac" and dates to 1784.

A View of Three Rivers Taken from the Road leading to Pointe du Lac
James Peachey

Difficult to spot, but in the foreground is an overturned canoe with a group of First Nations people huddled around a cooking fire. Some paddle blades with a tear drop design are just peeking out from the left side.


The paddles are coloured a distinctive earthy red colour, much like another work described here.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Historic Paddle Photo: Naskapi (Innu) Paddlers - 1928

As mentioned in this previous post, the Field Museum has some paddles collected during the Rawson-MacMillan Subarctic Expeditions of 1927 and 1928. Acquired by Ethnographer William Duncan Strong, the paddles and other artifacts of material culture are thoroughly discussed in James VanStone's publication, Material culture of the Davis Inlet and Barren Ground Naskapi: The William Duncan Strong Collection

Recently, The Field Museum posted all 975 photos from these two expeditions onto a Flickr album. One particular photo taken at Davis Inlet, Labrador, offers a rare glimpse of the traditional Innu paddling method.

Davis Inlet, Labrador
Taken August 23, 1928

The bow paddler is using a typical high aspect ratio (i.e. long and narrow) paddle consistent with those in usage in the area. His grip hand is holding the small bulbous grip laterally in the indigenous paddling technique described in this post here

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Update on circa 1860 "Delaware" paddles

Here's an update on the set of painted maple canoe dated to the 1860's first posted about here.

Turns out these paddle were part of Sotheby's  New York auction Important American Indian Art. Lot 726 of their May 19th, 1998 event listed a black and white photo of  “A Pair of Painted Wood Oars, Probably Lorette-Huron.”

“A Pair of Painted Wood Oars, Probably Lorette-Huron.” 
Important American Indian Art
Sotheby’s New York
May 19,1998, lot 726 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Tomah Joseph inspired paddle

Before picking up my latest batch of wood stock, I had a single piece of 5/4 cherry left over. Grain wise, it was very suitable for a paddle but there were some conspicuous knots that would end up in the blade section. This piece of cherry sat for years before I decided to make another paddle from it. This one was inspired by a paddle that was on display at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine back in 2012 (post here).
Photo Credit Link - OurAcadia

The paddle seemed to have a darkened tip and flattened grip area. Turns out the paddle was the Tomah Joseph etched paddle  borrowed from the Passamaquoddy Cultural Heritage Center. Featured in an article from the  Portland Press Herald, the accompanying photo didn't provide a closeup of the grip, but provided a clear shot of the blade tip and beautiful etchings on the upper portion.

Descendants of famous Passamaquoddy chief Tomah Joseph, from left, Joan Dana, Natalie Dana and Cassandra Dana show off a paddle made by Joseph and on display at the Passamaquoddy Cultural Heritage Center & Museum in Indian Township.
Image Credit: Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer
Portland Press Herald

Since the grip wasn't clearly shown, I carved what felt comfortable, a flattened grip with a distinct drip ring at the base. Unfortunately, this was another paddle where construction photos were lost on the defective memory card. After carving it down, I burned the grip area with the torch as well as the nearly half the blade. This worked out well because the dark scorching discretely covered the presence of knotholes in these sections. The remaining decoration was burned on the upper portion inspired by Tomah's Joseph's beautiful work so many generations ago.

Tomah Joseph Inspired Paddle

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Historic Photo: Hudson's Bay Cree Canoe Paddles

From the 1912 publication, A summer and winter on Hudson Bay by CK Leith comes a vintage photo of a Cree camp taken at Fort George on the East side of Hudson's Bay. The scene features an overturned canoe propped up with a broad bladed paddle. A bobble style grip is visible in the other paddle which appears quite long in relation to the person holding it.

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