Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Voyageur Paddles - CL Sommers Canoe Base

Found this shot on FlickR featuring some decorative "voyageur" paddles at the CL Sommers Canoe Base in Minnesota.

They look very familiar to a paddle I posted on featured at 2008 Indian Summer Festival held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The paddle; The carved grip

I knew I had seen the distinct red tips somewhere before and then realized it was in a historical painting by Frederick Verner. Not the clearest image, but you can just make out the red tip on the paddle in the foreground.

Ojibway Indian Encampment
by Frederick Arthur Verner, 1873
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, Ontario

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

c1900 Decorated Odawa Paddle

Here's an image of a circa 1900 Odawa paddle with decorative etchings referenced in an out of print exhibition catalog, The art of the Great Lakes Indians. Flint, Mich.: Flint Institute of Arts, 1973. p. 98.

Ottawa Canoe Paddle
Length: 136.5cm
Blade width: 10cm

The curator at the Logan Museum of Anthropology was kind enough to send me additional details to post. The paddle, made around 1900, was purchased from Margaret Ashkanock in 1917 in Cross Village, Michigan by Albert Green Heath. The descriptive catalog information refers to the object as a "wooden paddle carved in geometric designs and heart shapes, triangular hole in handle." Despite not being visible on this B&W image, there are traces of red and gray paint between the engraved decorations on the top of blade.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Expensive Canoe Poling Art

An expired (2007) listing on the LiveAuctioneers.com site lists an original painting by Philip Russell Goodwin (1881-1935) showing two hearty men poling a birchbark canoe. It eventually sold for $30 000!

Framed Piece; Closeup
Lot # 0130
Estimates: $15000 - $25000
Start Price: $10000
Description GOODWIN, Phillip Russell, (American, 1881-1935): Illustration, possibly for a Remington ad, depicting two men poling a canoe down river rapids, Oil/C, 30" x 20", signed and dated 1909, bears partial label verse "and Meelsins went up the Montreal and staked the mine", original frame 35 1/2" x 25 1/2". Small portion of inpaint with tiny patch visible verso, mid-upper right quadrant has minor fleck, pinpoint puncture in man's pant leg, needs cleaning.
Hammer Price $30000

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cherry Gallery - Adirondack Guide Paddle

November 2010 current items at the Cherry Gallery features an Adirondack Guide Paddle circa 1890...

A delicate cherry guide boat paddle with a lollipop top and a diamond shaped and chamfered upper shaft. Good original surface, with minor damage to one edge of the blade.
Circa 1890
4.75" w, 66" h
The "lollipop" grip the description refers to is similar to a historic one documented in Dr Gordon L Fishers's 2008 publication Guideboat Paddles: An Adirondack Treasure. Specifically, it resembles the grip design popularized by Adirondack Guide and Boatbuilder, Caleb Judson Chase and is often referred to as an Arrowhead Motif grip.

Arrowhead Motif

An online excerpt (.PDF format) of Fisher's book has some photos of the author carving out this interesting grip shape (see last page of excerpt - pg 60). The book has a nice schematic of this grip design with a table of offsets for the blade in the appendix section. I'm planning to get more lumber stock in a few weeks and figure I'll attempt this new grip design as a winter project.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Historic Paddle Illustration - Frank Schoonover Art

From John Lindman's Bark Canoe Newsletter is an image by Frank Schoonover(1877 - 1972). This image shows a rear shot of a bark canoe and clear illustration of a paddle.

F. Schoonover - Unknown Title

Paddle Closeup

The short, angular shoulders of the blade with the relative straight sides in the part visible above the waterline, seem similar to Cree style paddles. In particular, check out the screenshots from Cree Hunters of the Mistassini - the blade profile looks similar to Sam Blacksmith's green painted paddle. The elongated roll grip is also reminiscent of antique Cree Paddle posted on the Cherry Gallery site a while back.

Sept 2015 Update: Found the same image accompanying a fiction piece entitled "His Quest and the End of It" by Gerald Chittenden in Scribner's Magazine Vol XLVIII July 1910

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ojibwa Grandmother Paddle

Here's a pic that shows an elderly Ojibwa woman with a weathered paddle and simple, flattened grip...

Title: Ojibwa Woman standing beside canoe
Author: Lecours, Ghislaine.
Control no: S72-1266
Canadian Museum of Civilization

Grip Closeup

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