This is the piece we did the dye tests for. I like the texture that came out of the surface so I’m hesitant to attempt to dye it black but whatever the patron chooses will be ok. This design took much longer than In anticipated even though I tried to keep it very simple. It feels like I carved it several times over before I was happy with the proportions. I learned a lot especially using the graver tools and carving in relief. If we try to dye it I am not sure how the piece will turn out but I am eager to see.
From time to time people contact me through my website asking how to go about making their own bone carving. Unfortunately unless you come from New Zealand or a Pacific Island there just are not that many resources available. So going forward I will post any and all bone carving related resources I come across and here are a few I have already found. Some of the books are hard to find but not impossible.
Bone Carving – A Skillbase of Techniques and Concepts by Stephen Myhre
This book is essentially the Bone Carving Bible. It sets a precedent for quality of craftsmanship and it will walk you through step by step how to prepare the bone, what tools to use and how to approach traditional Maori motifs without offending anyone. It is the kind of book you keep on hand when carving as a reference if you ever get stuck or forget what cleaning agent to use and so on. I recommend this book to anyone interested in bone carving be they beginner or advanced.
Scrimshaw Techniques by Jim Stevens
Not essentially a bone carving book but it does cover some bone preparation techniques relevant to bone carving. For anyone interested in scrimshaw it is a great resource. I enjoyed reading about the history of this art form and I hope to incorporate some scrimshaw into my own work at some point.
Manawa Pacific Heartbeat – A Celebration of Contemporary Maori and Northwest Coast Art by Nigel Reading and Gary Wyatt
This book covers the art of contemporary artists from Maori, Inuit and native American backgrounds. The unique cultures actually have a lot in common through their artwork which is commonly carved wood and bone amongst other mediums. Its great to see these artists getting some recognition for their skills.
A couple years ago I was exploring and experimenting with different types of bone and I picked up this deer antler at a Native American market. However, it was so cool, I was reluctant to carve it and so it just hung out in my Studio awkwardly taking up space and it was good inspiration for the small antler pieces I made. Now that I have a new set of gravers though, I am going to get in there and see what happens with this thing. The bone/horn is a little different and it feels softer to cut into. Like the cow bone it is hollow on the inside except for this flaky horn stuff you can see in the last photo. I’m not really sure what to carve out of it and I think it will end up just being a learning experience rather than a piece of art but we’ll see how it goes. I’ll post the results later on.
Some shots of Studio Tapu as of 2013. The jar is full of bone dust from 2012. Consider it an offering to the bone carving gods. The Muppet lunchbox is my carrying case for when I walk down to the dog-park to carve and the picture of the Maori chief with moko (facial tattoos) is a Goldie print I stole from my Nana (sorry Nana). My studio space is not very large right now so everything has its place and if it doesn’t belong in Studio Tapu I get rid of it.
This is only the second Unicorn Horn bone carving I have made so far but I like it a lot. Both of the Unicorn Horns are for sale at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in the Gift Store along with a few other designs I have in there or you can buy them on the website www.studiotapu.com.
The horn is about 2 inches long and 1/3 of an inch wide. Two lines spiral down towards the tip and I try to show a little grain/texture in these. We have them on sterling silver chains at either 18 or 24 inches.