Monday, August 24, 2009

A Tipping Point -- The First Finished Parks Pieces

We have some leaves scattered around the back yard, so it must have been windy last night, but we seem to have come off pretty lightly in St. John's from the passing of what was left of Hurricane Bill. The biggest impact on our household was the loss of the satellite signal for 5 minutes in the middle of last night's episode of True Blood. Mercifully, the storm broke the humidity that we had all day and the wind and rain made for perfect sleeping weather.

Today is a normal workday. I'm in the shed making the modifications to the Parks reproductions that I mapped out on Friday. The Rooms visits to check on the progress are getting kind of overwhelming. I have pretty much every piece on the go now, which is a lot to keep track of in my head. However, I'm hoping that I'm passed a tipping point in the project -- some of the pieces are finished and won't have to go back for comparisons anymore. Hopefully, from now until the end of the project, there will be a steady stream of finished reproductions. I'm looking forward to having fewer pieces to keep track of. Here are the first pieces that I finished.

Net Gauge, Ivvavik National Park: The original artifact is in the middle and the reproductions are above and below it. I've talked a bit about this artifact in a previous post. Its a key shaped tool used to measure the diameter of the gaps in a fishnet. Its made on softwood and I tried to match the weathered surface using a combination of wood stain, rock dust, ochre, and a clear matte spray finish.

Stone Scraper, Banks Island: This one was a little challenging, but unless I can figure out how to stain the stone more I think it will stay in the finished pile. This little scraper was made on what looks to be a pebble with a reddish cortex and green interior, with blue and white layers in between. Its such a specific combination of colours and textures that even if I had complete access to the source of the stone (which I don't) it would still be unlikely that I'd come across an identical stone. I went through boxes and boxes of rock and found a heat treated flake from a source that I'm not certain off (Florida, maybe) that had a similar red cortex and colourful interior. I knapped the scraper to keep the patch of cortex in the same location as on the original and tried staining the stone darker with ochre and shoe polish, with mixed results. Maybe green shoe polish would give a closer match - does that exist? For now its in the finished pile, because I don't know what else to do to make it any closer to the original.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Photo Captions:
Top: Aftermath of Bill - note the scattered leaves.
Second: Net Gauges. The original artifact is in the middle.
Third: Scraper and flake
Fourth: Scraper and scraper reproduction made on the flake in the previous photo.


  1. Yay, finished pieces! The net gauges look great and so does the form of the scraper. In fact, I'm more than impressed you were able to find stone with that reddish/orange cortex and work it strategically to match the original - you're good! I don't have any ideas for darkening the stone at the moment (need coffee) but I'll get back to you ;-)

  2. While the colour of the object is what most people notice first, I'd argue that the actual value in the reproduction is the form and in the location of the cortex - which you've masterfully reproduced. Great job!

  3. Thanks - its good to have some pieces finished and out of my head.

    In the case of the scraper, the colour difference is something I can live with. I agree with John, the story with this piece is the fact that the scraper is made on a fine grained chert with a portion of the cortex left on - not that its green.

    Parks has used resin casts of some of these artifacts in the past and while the casts might produce identically proportioned and coloured objects, they still feel like plastic when you hold them. In a photo contest or as reference pieces the casts might do well, but when the objects are meant to be handled then I think reproductions made in the original material will provide a more authentic experience.

  4. You got me curious so I had a quick google, and apparently, Lincoln Stain Wax Shoe Polish does indeed come in midnight green. Don't know if that's any use to you, but thought I'd mention it. :-)


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