I especially enjoy working with runes and the straight lines certainly make them easier to create with a handheld wood burner than some other subject matters. This staff is 57.5″ piece of maple wood and contains the elder Futhark rune set in ascending order on one side and descending order on the other. Wood burned above the one rune set is a five pointed star, or pentagram, and above the other set is a Celtic trinity knot, or triquetra. The pentagram here symbolizes fire, water, earth, air, and spirit while the triquetra symbolizes the mother-maiden-crone goddess trinity. However both symbols vary in meaning depending on their locations and cultural context. Tied to the top is a string of pyrite and skull beads. Pyrite is symbolic of luck, wealth and prosperity while also being known in mythology as a stone to induce creativity, physical health, and well being. Skulls have numerous symbolic meanings around the world and in Celtic and Norse mythology by themselves. Here they are intended to symbolize magic, creation, and transformation. And the maple wood itself is symbolically known for balance, generosity, intelligence, and longevity. I used boiled linseed oil to protect and polish the wood.
Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs are always fun to work with, though they do require a fair amount of precision hand work. Each of the six symbols were created with a wood burner and paint pens. The first set depicts an ankh, wedja, and seneb meaning life, prosperity, and health. The second set depicts the nefer, djed, and wasir symbols meaning beauty, strength, and power. There are also three beads attached a little more than half ways up the 56″ staff. They depict King Tutankhamen’s death mask, the god Amun, and an ankh. The staff itself is made from sumac wood which is sturdy, but lightweight. I used spray on acrylic sealer to protect both the wood and paint. I also used boiled linseed oil for the same reasons and it also gives the piece a subtle luster.