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.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Krieghoff Comparison: Indian Wigwam in Lower Canada 1848

Another replica I've been itching to do for quite some time is the brightly coloured paddle featured in the Cornelius Krieghoff piece, "Indian Wigwam in Lower Canada" dated to 1848. I first wrote about this paddle way back in 2010 when casually researching historic images. Since then I've read biographies about Krieghoff to learn a bit more about his inspiration and potential accuracy of his images.

The McCord Museum in Montreal has an original oil by Krieghoff dated to 1847 entitled " Aboriginal Camp in Lower Canada".  In it we see a canoe with highly bent ends, bark wigwams in the background and a group of people in the front. Seated on a log with his back to the viewer, a man is holding a paddle decorated with brightly coloured chevrons.  Unfortunately in this image there is no visible shaft, giving the paddle a bit of a distorted look.

Aboriginal Camp in Lower Canada
Cornelius Krieghoff (1815-1872)
1847, 19th century

The next year in 1848, Krieghoff created another piece based on this image with some minor modifications. The image was retitled, " Indian Wigwam in Lower Canada" and was used to create a lithograph for publication. Multiple copies of these lithographs were distributed around the world over the years and have often come up for auction. An example is the following image by William Reese Company.

Krieghoff, Cornelius:
[Montreal: R. & C. Chalmers, 1848]. Lithograph, 15 x 20 inches (visible portion).
 Item #WRCAM32676

In Krieghoff's updated version, the shaft and bobble shaped grip of the paddle are now in view, eliminating the missing distortion in the previous work. Krieghoff also decided to reverse the chevron pattern on the blade so that the decorations are now "pointing" up towards the grip rather than down towards the blade tip. In order to enhance the appearance of greyscale lithographs, many were subsequently coloured by other artists resulting is slightly different renditions of the paddle decoration.

The McCord Museum also has one of these painted lithograph prints. The coloured bands on the blade and shaft follow a Red - Yellow - Blue sequence from the tip upwards.

Indian Wigwam in Lower Canada
Cornelius Krieghoff (1815-1872)
About 1850, 19th century
Purchase from Kennedy Galleries
Source Link

Another version now in the National Gallery of Canada (uploaded to Wiki Commons) is a more brightly coloured version with the same decoration pattern.

Indian Wigwam in Lower Canada
Cornelius Krieghoff
Lithograph with watercolour on wove paper
National Gallery of Canada
Credit line: Gift of Donald Maclaren, Ottawa, 1990
Accession number: 30820

The Toronto Public Library Special Collections Archive also contains a version. This one has a more significant pattern change. The chevron pattern is Yellow - Red - Blue - Red - Yellow - Blue and the banded decoration on the shaft has been replaced with an all red.

Indian Wigwam in Lower Canada (1848)
Creator: Cornelius Krieghoff, 1815-1872
Contributors:Thomas Kammerer; Andreas Borum, 1799-1853
Identifier: 022kieghoff-inidan-wigwam
Format: Picture
Rights: Public domain
Gift of the Bain family - 2008.
Courtesy: Toronto Public Library

Canadian Auction House Waddington's had a print for sale back in 2016. This one has the Red - Yellow - Blue banded pattern on the shaft culminating in a red bobble grip. The blade has a curious pattern of Red - Yellow - Blue then a plain or natural looking band again followed by a  Yellow - Blue - Red.

Lot 59:  Indian Wigwam in Lower Canada (1848)
November 21, 2016
Toronto, ON, CA

The version on Artnet Auctions has a Yellow - Red - Blue pattern on the blade. The shaft however is decorated with the alternating pattern of thick yellow bands followed by thin red lines.

Indian Wigwam in Lower Canada (1848)
Artnet Auctions

A final version is in the collection of the Library and Archives of Canada. This one has a blade pattern of Yellow - Red - Blue repeating up the shaft.

Indian Wigwam in Lower Canada (1848)
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1989-511-1
Copyright: Expired
MIKAN 2836651

March 2018 Update: My reproduction of this paddle has been completed. See HERE for that post.

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