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.
The blade and haft are a single piece of river wood and, as evidenced by the teeth marks and pointed tips, debark by beavers. I then used different colored yarn for the patterns. The black, red, yellow, and white bands were inspired by the medicine wheel found in numerous native North American cultures with each color representing one of the four the cardinal directions. Each band is bordered by smaller blue bands I intended to represent rivers, lakes, the seas and the overall importance of water. Below those is a crosshatch pattern of dark and light green, blue, and orange on a background of white meant to symbolize the interplay between earth, water, fire, and air. The blade is coated with boiled linseed oil and comes to just under 24” in length. A strand of pyrite, turquoise, and skull beads capped with found blue jay feathers is attached to the midpoint of the wand. The patterns on the haft have also been given a thin layer of acrylic sealer for some protection against weathering.
Artist: J.R. Goslant
The wood of this wand is most likely birch, but was difficult to be certain because it’s also a “beaver chew,” also called a “beaver stick,” and has had the bark chewed off. But this process has left clear tooth marks on parts of the wand’s blade. The point of the wand was also created naturally by beavers.
Continuing with the strong natural theme of this wand I attached a quartz crystal to the bottom of the haft and used vines to help keep it secure. I also attached feathers I found, one from a blue jay, a cardinal, and a small yellow bird -probably some kind of finch. There’s a little detailing done with a wood-burner and bands of yellow, blue, and red hemp to match the colors of each feather.
It’s about 13.5” long and polished with boiled linseed oil.
Artist: J.R. Goslant