This piece was a custom wedding gift I made for a friend. The wood was found in the yard of their childhood home. Originally it was much longer, but broken into two pieces. The second piece was turned into a siblings birthday gift. It features a lot of wood burned symbolism which include the Chi Rho, and anchor, and the recipient’s initials. The circles surrounding the anchor and Chi Rho, the alpha and omega aspect of the Chi Rho, recipient’s name in hieroglyphs with surrounding cartouche, and Roman “ichthys” were done using a black paint pen. The attached beads are an owl and several American coin replicas. Gold colored aluminum wire is wrapped around the staff several places to accent the piece and leather rawhide was used for the handle grip. A sealant was also used to hold the paint and protect 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.
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.”
During the summer, I went hiking with a few friends and realized that despite crafting and selling all sorts of staffs and hiking sticks, I had failed to make myself one. That’s when a long, thin, dry piece of pine caught my eye on the side of the trail. I broke it down to size and part of a twisted root at what would now be the top.
After I got it home, I debarked most it, shaped the root a little, and gave it a good sanding. I opted for keeping some of the bark in places because I ended up really liking the texture; I had never worked with pine before, but found it very enjoyable. The bark nearest the top wrapped with a simple pattern of black rawhide lace serves as the hand grip.
The twisted root now holds a “stone” of green glass and several marbles I f(strangely) found while hiking, or on the way to go hiking. It’s also wrapped with waxed hemp and a small amount of copper wire, both for their aesthetics – it really pulls the ornaments together as single section- and for keeping said ornaments securely fastened to the staff. The bottom of this section is boarded by tan rawhide lace which also serves to attach a number of small charms and beads: an Egyptian scarab; a red bead depicting the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen, a double sided charm depicting Quetzalcoatl on one and the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan on the other, a ring that accompanied it, and a stragate pendant.
The pyrography displays the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom, Thoth; my name in a cartouche and hieroglyphics; and my name in cuneiform-like symbols. It stands at 65.5” tall and is coated with several layers of polyurethane.
Artist: J.R. Goslant
I’ve recently by practicing engraving various depictions on stones with plans for a more extensive engraving project planned.
If you can’t tell, I have an affinity for ancient Egyptian culture and astronomy choosing to carve out ancient hieroglyphs and star constellations – Orion and the twelve signs of the zodiac. The larger black stones are coated with a water-proof sealant meant to protect the ink and giving the stones a remarkable sheen that came out wonderful! The smaller colored and black stones have no coating since I used a paint-pen which dries quicker and won’t smudge despite handling.
Artist: J.R. Goslant
While looking through an assortment of beads I received as a gift, a number of ancient Egyptian ones caught my eye and coalesced into the necklace you see now. The red pendant came with a paper stating it’s from the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago which had an exhibit for King Tutankhamen. The pendants were rediscovered on the estate of a man who worked there at the time.
The other beads are carved to resemble traditional Egyptian dedications of the scarab beetle which features prominently in some versions of the Egyptian creation myth.
If you’re interested in purchasing this necklace you can contact me, or visit the Astrolabe Arts Etsy shop in the links below.
Artist: J.R. Goslant