Saturday, January 28, 2006

Game storage box with hunter's talismans

I have been busy trying to get the box finished for my son's birthday gift done so I can get it in the mail. I used a wooden box (that cheese had come in) that I got from the Good Will for .69 cents or so. I cleaned it up a bit, then stained it with a turqoise-ish oil stain. The sliding lid of the box was stamped/woodburned with a Kraft cheese logo and information about the product. I thought it would sand off, but that wasn't working. So after much thinking, trying different things, I decided to use some of the Sculpey clay we bought a few years ago, and never did much with. It was white, so I figured I could make an oval big enough to cover the label, and then paint it to look like ivory. Then I decided I would just do a miniature painting on the oval. I selected an Aleut or Alutiiq hunter, from an original watercolor by the Russian Mikhail Tikhanov. The painting was used for the cover art of the book "Glory Remembered - Wooden Headgear of Alaska Sea Hunters" by Dr. Lydia Black. Since I am of Alutiiq descent, and my son is a commercial fisherman in Alaska, and enjoys hiking and hunting, this seemed like an appropriate choice. It's been fun - but of course, I haven't worked on my Valentines for the February Co-op show, which hangs this Friday. Oh well. If I get 'em done, I'll go hang some work!

Rendered in acrylic, my miniature (3 in. X 7 in.) on baked Sculpey, is shown below. I then decided the sides of the box would be painted using motifs from Aleut/Alutiiq hunting hats. The inside bottom of the box bears an imaginary shark/whale. This is the secret, powerful talisman that will protect Alex. He loves to play dice and poker, so I figured he could use the box to store his dice in. The Eskimos and Aluiiq people made beautiful boxes, decorated with animals, fish and mythical creatures. They used such boxes for carving, hunting & fishing tools, and women's sewing gear, as well as food storage.

These are the long sides of the box. The show (l to r) a seal, a hunter in a kayak, a shark or big fish, another hunter in kayak, a small fish, and a sea monster. The wave patterns and stripes, as well as the colors, are traditional hunting hat designs.

These are the short ends of the box. They show, (l to r): a floral motif (could signify the sun, land, or an eye), a seal, an octopus, and medallion again.


Anonymous marja-leena said...

What a lovely gift for your son! I like all the references to your heritage. I bet he will treasure it.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

marja-leena: Thank you. I am sure my son will appreciate the box. He may have to keep it away from his friends, who tend to get a bit rowdy.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous greg said...

Somehow I missed this ... but I am awestruck! This is so marvelly-ous! Now how can you permanently afix the clay to the wood? It would seem very fragile to me unless you laquered it perhaps, to seal it on.

What a treasure!!

9:36 AM  
Blogger Jackie said...

Greg - Danke. actually, polymer clay is not fragile. The oval I made was about 1/4 in thick (guesstimate), and is still somewhat flexible after baking. I coated the finished painting with 4 layers of matte medium acrylic varnish, then glued her on with Weldbond. DIdn't use epoxy, as I was afraid it might interact with the polymer. But weldond works great for most surfaces. Clamped it overnight to dry.

Son Alex called last night to let me know the package arrived safely, and he was home briefly between fishing deliveries (and storms) to get it. He loves it. Or - as he said: "I'm totally stoked!".
Hey - hope you're out enjoying the sunshine (again) today!

4:53 PM  

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