While it took a fair amount of time, patience, and a steady hand to make this staff I enjoyed working on it and am pleased with the final result. Red and orange flowers are joined by a leafy vine wrapped around the body of the staff. It’s a 60″ piece of maple wood with a faux ladybug attached near the top. The images were wood burned onto the staff and the colors come from paint pens which give better control than a typical brush. I then used a spray on acrylic sealer to keep the paint from smearing and wearing off as well protecting the wood from weathering. I also used boiled linseed oil for an extra layer of protection which had the added benefit of giving the piece a subtle shine.
This staff stands at 62.5” and is made from an unidentified hardwood. The original branch must have been about 15’ long and had to be carried home intact because it simply would not break. Our production partner helped with the procurement and refinement (sanding, cutting) of the piece. The best section was cut away and paint pens were used to illustrate the 12 constellations of the Zodiac. The signs are all in order although Pisces which is normally last fit better at the top. Spray acrylic sealer keeps the constellation images safe from smudging and the elements. Boiled linseed oil was also applied afterward producing an added luster to the wood.
This piece of wood used to be part of an old shovel, or something I don’t remember the specific tool. It looked run down, felt rough, but a little sanding, wood burning, and polyurethane gave it new life. The symbols have quotes from Star Wars like “May the force be with you” and “All is as the force wills it to be.” There are also quotes from The Walking Dead – appropriately for a bo staff there’s one from Morgan- “All life is precious,” along with “Let my mercy prevail over my wrath.” There’s a few other symbols thrown in for spacing and good measure like the symbol for the Rebellion in Star Wars and some Egyptian glyphs meaning “peace” and “strength.”
This is a shorter staff, perhaps more accurately a cane, and is made from a piece of beaver chew wood that’s 47.5” long, or just a half inch under 4 feet. The tips were shaped by beavers and their tooth marks can still be seen along its length. The top features a compass star above an astrolabe to symbolize guidance and direction. Below those are two turquoise beads threaded with rawhide and accented by vibrant strands of colored yarn symbolizing the intertwining of the four elemental forces: blue for water; green for earth; orange for fire, and light purple for air. Further down are a leaf, gusts of wind, a rain drop, and a flame, which are also meant to be representations of the four elemental forces. Opposite the compass star and astrolabe are a sun and crescent moon. Underneath those are a circle containing a river and pyramid and below that a star, the four symbolize the Sun, Moon, Earth and stars. The images are all wood burned then colored with paint pens. Acrylic sealer was used to keep the paint from smudging and to protect the wood from weathering as well as boiled linseed oil for the same purpose.
I’m tempted to say this staff is cursed. From the beginning nothing went the way I intended it and the final product turned out completely different from what I’d originally envisioned. Something would go wrong and I’d be forced to redo something else, or change the direction to compensate. Overall it still came out looking alright, just not its original intended look. And although I’m happy with the final outcome I’m more relieved that it’s finally done. It took a lot of hours to complete and even more to fine tune it and fix mistakes.
This is the first piece made with direct help from our new and first shop member other than myself. He debarked the wood, did most of the sanding and gave input into the overall design of the piece as well as assisting on other projects. It measures 65” or 5’5” from the base to the top of the glass crystal. Several pieces of amethyst were added along the underside of glass crystal for stability and aesthetic reasons, but really only the central stone remained visible of wrapping it with leather rawhide. The spiral running along the length of the staff was hand carved with a steel file and then highlighted with a silver paint pen and touches of copper too. Small blemishes and imperfections that didn’t come out with intense sanding were filled in with the copper paint to add a little more overall texture and nuance to the piece. Along the top of the spiral, I then used a wood burning tool to create the Elder Futhark rune set and the three larger runes symbolizing (from left to right) good luck, protection, and strength. There’s also a five pointed star and three sided knot on opposite sides of the top. I finished it by rubbing some boiled linseed oil along the length of the staff. And since I liked the accidental darkening effect of the oil on a previous staff (and because I already got some on the rawhide anyway) I applied some to the rawhide wrapping as well – which as I mentioned in another piece may not be the best idea, but shouldn’t be a problem for what the leather is being used for.
Artist: J.R. Goslant
Measuring only 49” or 4’1” this piece falls more into the cane or walking sticking category. The wood I’ve had for a while and can’t recall its origin, but it’s sturdy and is probably a local hardwood. It’s smooth to the touch and has been adorned with various bird feather patterns and a series of small bird tracks made with various paint pens. Near the top are a few strips of tan rawhide where several small eagle charms are affixed along with a blue jay feather weighted down with a dark turquoise bead. I sprayed with an acrylic sealer to keep the paint from running and for overall preservation and protection from weathering. Because the acrylic seal is so thin I tried an experiment and polished it off with some boiled linseed oil as an extra measure and it came out surprisingly well. However, in the interest of full disclosure, during the process, as sometimes happens with these projects, some linseed oil got onto the rawhide leather strips. It darkened them nicely, but is generally not supposed to be applied to leather as it can cause problems like stiffening down the road. However, stiffening, shouldn’t be a problem since the leather serves no functional operation and furthermore most of what I read said a single application shouldn’t be too problematic anyway, it’s with repeated applications that issues tend to arise.
Artist: J.R. Goslant
Sometimes I find a piece of wood that I try to work as little as possible – usually for wands since I come across small interestingly shaped pieces than larger ones. If memory serves, which it might not, this was cut from the small patch of woods growing (mostly maple) near my house where some sort of vine grew along the small tree creating the nice spiral. I stripped away the bark then sanded it and after deciding to leave it as is applied some boiled linseed oil. It is on the smaller side measuring 50” or 4’2” making more of a cane or walking stick than a staff.
Artist: J.R. Goslant
The idea behind this piece is if a Templar Knight retired and tended to a farm this would be the staff he used. The top has a subtle natural spiral that I wanted to leave intact and to possibly serve as the hand grip (depending on your height and preference). Below the spiral I wood burned the “chi rho” and ichthys symbols, on the reverse I wood burned a Templar cross. Below those are “alpha” and “omega” followed by “INRI” and “IHS” and a runic script which reads “Milites Christi” on the respective sides. There’s also a strand of leather rawhide with a rune charm I found and thought would be fitting: “Nyd,” meaning “endurance, survival, and destiny. I then used a spray acrylic sealer and boiled linseed oil to preserve and protect the wood. Some of the oil also got onto the rawhide and darkened it slightly, but came out looking better. Boiled linseed oil isn’t typically supposed to be used on rawhide, but shouldn’t cause any problems for a static piece on a staff. It has a slight bend to it and measures 58″ tall.
Artist: J.R. Goslant
A more modest petroglyph staff with symbols found in rock carvings from around the world: some symbols like the spiral are fairly universal, but a good number of these are found in the Southwestern areas of the US. The meaning of many petroglyphs remain obscure to this day, some claim they depict shamanic rituals while others say they show evidence of ancient astronauts. The symbols here were created with various paint pens. A piece of pyrite bordered by black rawhide crowns the top of the staff and then the entire 4’8“ piece was given a few coatings of acrylic sealer to protect the paint from running and from overall weathering.
Artist: J.R. Goslant