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Dragons have become a popular motif for walking sticks, with the popularity of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Their style and appearance ranges greatly. Like Lord of the Rings, this piece grew with the telling. Carved from a single moose antler, I started with a poorly shaped piece of antler and had to develop the image given what was available. Antler carving of this form is a reductive process, so once removed, material cannot be added back. The resulting shape reflects getting the most from the original shape of the antler.
The dragon is outfitted with matched Australian sapphires, rectangular in shape and tri-colored in hue. The piece is meant to be mounted on a walking stick that is long enough that the dragon is grasped from the side, as opposed to from the top. If desired, it is also very suited to be held like a sword. The dragon head is mounted on a Saskatoon wood shaft of distinctive character. Altogether, this is a walking stick for someone with a solid conception of their own image.
I saw several articulated lobsters while visiting Japan. They varied in size and in the material they were created from: brass, steel, ivory, wood, etc. They were all amazing and extremely expensive. Most of the ones I saw were in the high end antique stores, usually behind glass so one could not touch them. Obviously, they were highly prized, so I decided to create one myself. Naturally, my starting place was a real lobster and I endeavored to make my lobster as lifelike as possible, using drawings and measurements to ensure that all pieces were correctly proportional and attached to each other in the correct manner.
This exceptionally lifelike piece is made from elk and moose antler. Including the wires and brass pins it is made of over 200 pieces. All joints move, hence the term articulated, including the antennae, the feeding arms, all joints of all eight legs, the large claws and each segment of the abdomen and of the tail section. The legs are attached to the body in a manner that supports the body in a position approximating a live lobster. All hinges are facilitated by brass pins. The eyes are facetted Swarovski black crystal. The piece mounts on a bur oak base that has support pieces for the body and claws.
One critic stated that “this piece is both monumental and exquisite.”
Sixteen tadpoles are depicted swimming through the water. Like the piece itself, the story behind it is somewhat complicated. It begins with Chaos Theory, where harmony and order are found within what appears to be a disorganized set of information.
Part of the theory is that if we knew all the factors affecting the activity of a system, we could, theoretically, be able to understand it better. Within Chaos Theory, are objects known as “strange attractors” – strange theory, strange name. A strange attractor is an object that, as its name implies, attracts forces to itself, if they are weak enough. If the forces are too strong, the activity of a system expands into randomness.
What has this to do with the carving? Well, it is an allegory for Chaos Theory. The tadpoles are swimming in a murky water, creating waves around themselves as they move. The pressure waves in the water move away from the tadpole until they meet another wave from another tadpole. These are the strong forces. Around each tadpole is an empty space representing the weak forces. The little swimmers are, in fact, acting as strange attractors.
If only the pressure waves were shown, we would not understand why they are there. With the presence of the tadpoles shown, we can understand why the waves look like they do. We have found understanding. If only the rest of physics was this easy.
The carving is made from a single piece of moose antler. Tadpoles cover all sides of the antler piece. The smooth ridges and backs of the tadpoles, interspersed with grooves feel like movement captured in your hand. The eyes are facetted crystal.
Walking sticks used to be a common accoutrement for people when they went out. Of course, people walked more often. Now, walking sticks seem to be reserved for hikers and are either high tech or very rustic and masculine.
This walking stick is designed for a woman who does not want to have to compromise her style. A single large rose is carved from a moose antler and mounted on a polished stick of Nannyberry. The antler has a natural purplish color that is complimented by a purplish stain on the wood. The end piece has detachable rubber and pointed brass tips. The wooden part can be shortened if desired to cane length.
4cm diameter x 9cmH
1.5”diameter x 3.5”H
length: 48” (122cm) or less