So you can't find a birdstone, but you'd like to have one to display with your collection....


Jasper/Sioux Quartzite

This red pipestone, a relatively soft material (rates 2.5 on the Mohs hardnesss scale) contains sioux quartzite, one of the hardest stones on earth (rates an 8 on the Mohs hardness scale)....

The result is a beautiful rock that looks like pipestone but is so hard it requires diamond tools to cut efficiently.

Length 43mm (1 11/16 inches)
Height   19mm (13/16 of an inch)
Width 11mm (7/16 of an inch)

 The birdstones I carve are based on ancient examples found in controlled digs by archaeologists...

Birdstones are among the most rare and mysterious artifacts left behind by ancient Native Americans. 

It's estimated that only 5,000 authentic examples exist, including broken ones, and they are found primarily in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan, but also show up in the archaeological record along the eastern seaboard.

Although no one knows their true function, it's a good guess that these water bird effigies were good luck charms for hunting. I've drilled this one with bi-conical holes at each end, the same as authentic birdstones. 

These holes were obviously used to mount the stone on some object or clothing. Many authentic birdstones are found with the stone between the mounting holes broken out, implying some sort of rough use other than just decoration, but no one knows for sure.
Notice the nice median ridge running from the nose to the tail. This is the same ridge present on authentic birdstones, and it's there because I'm using the same technique the ancients used, thinning the whole piece with a single stroke from an abrading stone down each side, over and over.


Birdstones were made in a great variety of poses and styles, but follow certain rules of proportion and style that I've learned through studying many examples. 
When I carve a birdstone, I'm not copying a particular example exactly, I'm carving my own interpretation, just like the ancients! 

It's amazing to me how much information can be communicated with just a few strategically placed curves. I really enjoy carving these  #tinysculptures  !
  #stonecarving   #willybeeoriginals   

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