Sunday, December 30, 2012

Painted Camp Paddle

Another decorative piece from One Kings Lane featuring a 1940s canoe paddle with red painted border around blade.

Ash Decorative Paddle
1''L x 6.5''W x 63''H

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Historic Photo: Ojibwe Paddling Method

Found another photo representative of a traditional native paddling method with the grip hand positioned differently below the grip in the "Northwoods" style. This one is of Ojibwe Chief Busticogan in a bark canoe on the Big Fork River (MN) but it resembles some of the photos here as well as in some additional photos from an earlier post on Indigenous paddling techniques.

Interesting that the solo paddler is positioned in the centre of the boat. Most pics I've seen from this era feature a solitary paddle in the stern with the bow weighed down with gear. But with a relatively empty canoe (note how high it is floating on the water) and the position of the paddler kneeling low in the hull, this gripping style seems like it would be the most relaxed and comfortable for long distance paddling.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Miniature Slotted Grip Paddle

Another interesting Ebay Listing featuring a 16 1/2 inch model paddle. The grip area looks interesting with its slotted interior. Might be an interesting one to replicate at full scale...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

70 Inch Maine Guide Paddle

Another Ebay listing of an antique paddle, this one a 70" paddle from Maine with a small Northwoods style grip and some blade damage...

Seller Info:
Beautiful, 70-3/4" antique canoe paddle that was found in Maine.The original owners initials are carved into the paddle, RLK.

 Initialized Blade Shoulder & Split on Reverse Side

Monday, December 17, 2012

Katie Ohlke's Tom Thomson Paddle Art

Katie Ohlke of Stone Ridge Art Studio  has created some wonderful paddle art reflective of the historical impact of Tom Thomson in Canadian Art. Below are some pics of her paddle creations. The first is an evocative piece that carries some of the mysterious symbolism of Thomson's death on Canoe Lake in 1917. Thomson's facial profile is carved into the blade and the base of the grip is wrapped 17 times with copper wire.

 The Backstory: When his overturned canoe was found floating on the lake, one of the two paddles he carried was lashed to the thwarts for portaging...the other paddle was missing and never found despite a thorough search for weeks after. Wood paddles float so finding it shouldn't have been much a challenge according to search parties. When Thomson's body was discovered some distance away, a large wound was found on the side of his head while his left ankle reportedly had 17 wraps of fishing line tied in a very deliberate fashion. All this created the suspicion of the paddle used as a murder weapon thereby adding to the mystery.

K Ohlke's Thomson Inspired Paddle

Closeup of the copper wrapping

Thomson was famous for capturing scenes of the Canadian landscape, especially rugged depictions of coniferous trees, like pines. Katie's other paddle showcases these majestic trees with the crown of the tree carved from the blade. There's just enough bend in the shaft to evoke the natural growth of shoreline trees and give an otherwise static paddle the illusion of life...

K. Ohlke's Pine Paddle

In addition to these paddles, Katie has done some marvelous painting inspired by historic photos. This photo, one of the few showing any details of Thomson's personal canoe (assumed to be a Chestnut Cruiser dating from before the 1921 Chestnut Factory fire ), is one of my personal favourites. Here's Thomson setting off for a journey into the bush....

Here is Katie's wonderful modern day interpretation entitled Day Trip from Artists Camp...

For more info on these and other works by Katie Ohlke, check out Stone Ridge Art Studio and her Facebook page

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Steve Kovach Native Inspired Paddles

From a now expired Ebay listing showcasing a hand-carved Tiger Maple paddle...

The seller's listing info...
"This is a one of a kind Hand Carved Algonquin style CANOE PADDLE. I made this using traditional hand tools from a single piece of beautiful figured tiger maple (rock maple). This paddle has stunning sculptural form and brilliant almost iridescent wood grain pattern. This paddle is based on examples of traditional Abanaki, Passamoquoddy, Maliceet paddles (the same native Americans who built the spectacular and technologically advanced birch bark canoes). I have always admired the amazing and beautiful sculptural form in the original native American paddles made from various American hardwoods including Birdseye and tiger maple, Cherry, ash. Many were decorated with incised designs, I prefer the pure shape and highly figured wood.... 
This paddle offered in this auction is 67-3/4"" long, blade is 7-1/4" wide (as thin as 3/16"in places) shaft is 1- 1/4" thick at widest point and weighs approx 2- 1/2 pounds. Signed "SK" (Steve Kovach) with my personal brand on end of grip."

Included in the array of photos was an additional set of some of the other paddles made by the same seller. Nice collection with some lovely grain patterns...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Craig Johnson's Northwoods Paddle

A recent story (Oct 31, 2012) appeared online at entitled Canoe heirloom brings together three generations. It features paddling friend Craig Johnson who I had the pleasure of meeting back at the Killbear Rendezvous back in 2011. Craig is a fantastic woodworker and has a growing collection of wood canvas canoes. Apart from some of his glorious looking paddles, Craig recently restored his father's Old Town Canoe and took it with his daughter on fantastic backcountry journey through Quetico Provincial Park this summer. Very touching that this cherished heirloom has new life and is being used appropriately!

Included in the online article are some pics of Craig's work including a beautiful Northwoods paddle in action.

 Craig  paddling... 

Craig's Wood Canvas Fleet

Friday, December 7, 2012

Manly Way to Portage a Canoe

Came across this great pic featuring the "tough guy" way to portage a canoe...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ebay Late 19th Century Penobscot Paddle

An Ebay posting found today of a Tiger Maple paddle. Seller claims it is late 19th century from the Penobscot Nation in Maine...

Seller's Description:
A beautifully made and gracefully shaped canoe paddle from the Penobscot nation of northern Maine. The wear and color of the lovely surface makes it evident that it is significantly old, most probably late 19th century. There is no damage. It is 56 3/4" long by 4 3/8" wide.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Exquisite Rick Nash Paddle & Display Case

In my opinion, Rick Nash of Woodland Heirlooms is the finest traditional paddle carver around today. His magnificent paddle creations (all featured previously - click here) are just stunning to amateur hobbyists like myself. His latest creation for a client included an equally beautiful display case made from butternut (73" x10") and lined with a dark teal coloured velvet. It was constructed with a special channel in the middle so that the shaft of the paddle fits with pressure.  Feast your eyes on the gorgeous paddle art below...

Paddle & Display Case

Blade Closeup with etched patterns

Pics Courtesy of R Nash - Woodland Heirlooms

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