Friday, March 3, 2017

Logan Museum c1900 Odawa Replica

My next paddle replica was based on a circa 1900 Odawa paddle in the Logan Museum of Anthropology.

Odawa Canoe Paddle
Length: 136.5cm
Blade width: 10cm
Source: The Art of the Great Lakes Indians.
Flint, Mich.: Flint Institute of Arts, 1973. p. 98

The original paddle was relatively short (approx 54") with a blade width of just under 4". It has some simple etchings on the upper portion of the blade along with a small grip that features a triangular cutout and slightly worn decorative point on the top.

For my version in sassafras, I adjusted the proportions to make a functional paddle at my preferred length of 58". Also made the grip a tiny bit larger to fit my bulky hands and slightly exaggerated the decorative pointed tip. Below is the photo of when the carving stage was finished back in the early fall.

Here's the paddle prior to the final sanding along with a closeup of the grip. At this stage the tiny triangular cutout on the grip face was not cut out.

The Logan Museum now has updated their online collections catalog to feature colour photos of the paddle along with a useful zoom feature to see the etchings at a higher resolution. Turns out the etchings feature triple lines with the outer cuts containing traces of red paint. The pattern contains a slightly different mix of diamond, heart and other abstract motifs on each side of the blade.

The detailed color versions on the Museum's online collection page shows that the area below the etchings has also been darkened with some sort of greyish surface paint. Painting just isn't my thing so I decided to try another full propane torch burn while leaving the area of the etchings untouched to take advantage of the muted golden hue of sassafras.

On a mild winters day, I took the paddle outside and carefully charred the surface...

Fortunately, this paddle didn't warp like the failed Sassafras Cree paddle back in the summer. For the central untouched areas, I added some mild shading to make the pyrography patterns stand out a bit. Here is the final result after oiling...

c1900  Logan Museum  Odawa Replica

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