Sunday, June 28, 2009

OldWays by Don Gardner

Found another blogger site, Oldways, with pics of some birchbark canoes made by Don Gardner. Really like the last shot of the Oldstyle Algonquin on the frozen lake ice.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Historic Paddle Illustrations - Henry Schoolcraft

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (March 28, 1793–December 10, 1864) was an American geographer and ethnologist, noted for his early studies of Native American cultures. One of his publications entitled, Narrative journal of travels through the northwestern regions of the United States (1821) has an illustration plate documenting 2 paddles including one with an unusual banded decorative pattern. Unfortunately any meaning or significance of the decoration is unknown and Schoolcraft never mentioned the name of tribe. Here's a quote from p 69. of his book available for download in PDF format (26 MB).
"The Fur Companies have lately introduced the use of oars, in propelling
the canoe but the natives employ the cedar paddle, with a light and slender blade. See fig. 14, plate 2. In either case, they are steered with a larger paddle, having a long handle, and a broad blade. See Fig. 2, plate 2."

Schoolcraft's documented paddles - Fig. 14; Fig. 2

June 2017 Update: My reproduction of the Schoolcraft stern paddle has been completed. See that post HERE.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cherry Gallery Paddle

Another antique paddle posted on the Cherry Gallery. Its got a nice looking - sort of a mushroom head style with a scooped out palm area. Circa 1910.

Decorated Canoe Paddle
This handmade paddle has a nicely carved handle and an amber painted blade decorated with a diagonal black stripe on the front and back.
5.5” w, 65” h

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cherry Edged Beothuk - Part 2

Another paddle awaiting some attention was my attempt at a cherry edged, birch-cherry laminated paddle based on a surmised Beothuk design documented in Adney's sketches. Unfortunately the sharp recuve at the tip was too much for the cherry striped edging and the glue did not hold when the clamps were removed. The rest of the blade was fine so in order to salvage this paddle, I redrew the tip a bit higher and re-cut the blade with this ultimately, more narrow tip. A while back, I had set up the shaving horse outdoors and did some work in the brisk spring sunshine.

Split Edging; Redrawn blade

Working on the shaving horse

Adney documented the surmised grip on this paddle as a spherical bobble and this would be my first attempt at something like this. Given the cherry edging, I thought it appropriate to laminate some extra cherry pieces onto the grip which could then be eventually shaped into a sphere. The approximate grip size sketched on the birch (with internal sketches of an octagon) was cut when originally shaping the blank. Additional blocks of scrap cherry were cut to size and then sawn to remove the angled edges resulting in an octagon effect when glued up. The plan is to further shape it with a rasp down to a bobble shape confortable in the hands. Here are some images.

The initial square grip with sketching; Cherry pieces, Glued up

I still haven't worked on the paddle shaft yet as there is more fine tuning to do on the blade region, but here is the work in progress so far...

Sept 1/09 Update: Part 3 has now been posted.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Alutiiq Single Blade Kayak Paddles

Here are some more single blade kayak paddles, made by Alutiiq artist, Jerry Laktonen.

Jerry Laktonen's Alutiiq Paddles

Jerry's site, has the following information about their shape and function...
"The Alutiiq kayaker (canoeist!) kneeled rather than sat in his baidarka (Russian for little boat) and used a single bladed paddle, from a more upright position. The shape of the paddles were long and pointed as to enter the water quietly while hunting. As the blade was fully half the length of the paddle, the surface area needed for power paddling was there when needed . just as if shifting into a lower gear. the shape also was beneficial in that it moved easily through the wind while being brought forward."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Exotic Paddle Series (3)

Next up in my Exotic Paddle Series is an Australian Rainforest Dance paddle, c. 1930's painted with natural earth ochres. Via
A fine and very rare rainforest paddle with traditional diamond patterning in ochres to the front and back of the bi-convex ovoid 'head', with an undecorated carved wood handle. Paddles such as this are clearly related in shape to the traditional rainforest clubs, which in their early 20th century incarnations were also painted with ochred designs related to those on the large shields. As opposed to those traditional large softwood shields, which were used in warfare, these later variants, together with the smaller early 20th century rainforest shields, were used purely ceremonially, usually in dance. There are very few examples known of this 'dance specific' paddle format, as opposed to 'fighting format' artefacts (clubs, shields, boomerangs) brought over into the realm of ritual by appropriate decoration.

Published: Christie's catalogue Australian Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 30 August, 2005 (lot128).

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