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.
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.
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.”
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
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
This is the second dinosaur fossil hiking stick that I’ve made, it’s one of my favorite styles. On this staff, going from top to bottom, are the fossil skeletons of a tyrannosaurus rex, a plesiosaur, and dilophosaurus created with a wood-burner. It stands at about 57” and has several coats of polyurethane to preserve and protect the wood.
Artist: J.R. Goslant