Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Lori's off for a few days of archaeological survey work on the Northern Peninsula. Hopefully she'll tell us all about it in the near future. The plan is to come back early next week, but if they find something, they may have to stay longer. There's potential to find some fantastic stuff, so I'm pretty jealous.

I've got a few days of cutting, grinding, and antiquing to look forward to. Yesterday was a visit to the Rooms to compare my Parks reproductions to the Inuvialuit artifacts. I didn't get to cross anything off the list, but things seem to be more or less on track.

Here's a look at a fish hook that I'm reproducing. The original (in the middle) is from Ivvavik National Park and is made from a very unsual ivory with alternating light and dark bands. There is a good chance that its some kind of tooth, most likely beluga whale. The Parks folks in Inuvik got me some beluga teeth from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans last spring to experiment with. They are definitely shaped like the fish hook, and they do have banding inside them from growth layers, but I couldn't get the right look anywhere. The bands are at the wrong angles and the beluga tooth reproductions wound up looking less like the original than using walrus ivory with tea died bands.

The fish hook has two holes at one end to attach the line to and a single larger hole at the other end for a metal or bone spike. The little copper awl artifact is the kind of thing that would have been stuck through the bottom hole to serve as the actual hook. The ivory is more of the lure. From the staining on the surface the hook was wrapped with a spiral of red string that left a pink stain on the ivory. To simulate the pink stain I found that beet juice works great. I dipped a string that was the right thickness in a little dish of beet juice and wound it around the reproductions while it was damp. The only string I had that was the right diameter was green, so you don't really get the red effect in the photos, but when you peel the dried string off after an hour or so the pink stain is there. The ivory actually has tiny indentations on the edges for the string to sit in, which makes reconstructing the string pattern that much easier.

The final bit of antiquing on these pieces will be dabbing on a bit of oil-based stain to create that brown blob in the middle of the original. I'll need to spray on a clear finish as well to seal in the beet stain. I can fade it a bit by rubbing some of the pink off, but once its at the right shade I want to seal it in and stabilize it.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Photo Captions:
Top, Lori waiting for the Boss to get his field shoes on as they head out for the Northern Peninsula to do Important Scientific Research.
Second, Ivvavik Fish Hook, between two walrus ivory reproductions, in progress
Third, Beluga Whale Teeth - Fresh!
Fourth, Beet staining the reproductions

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails