Materials and Techniques: Walnut inlaid with enraved staghorn and engraved and copper mounts
This powder flask was used to carry gunpowder. A measured quantity of powder was drawn off by using the spring-loaded pivoting cap on the nozzle.
Firearms became more and more sophisticated during the 16th-century but still required a number of accessories to load and operate them. The main charge, placed in the barrel with the shot, was carried in the powder flask. Smaller priming flasks contained fine-grain powder for priming the pans of wheel-lock firearms. Flasks were attached to a bandolier, a type of sling worn over the shoulder or around the waist, from which hung the various accessories required for a weapon including spanners for the mechanism, measured charges, powder flasks and priming flasks.
Arms and armour are rarely associated with art. However, they were influenced by the same design sources as other art forms including architecture, sculpture, goldsmiths' work, stained glass and ceramics. These sources had to be adapted to awkwardly shaped devices required to perform complicated technical functions. Armour and weapons were collected as works of art as much as military tools.
Pins were a necessity for the fastening of clothing and the arrangement of dress accessories in the 16th and 17th centuries. Their importance for women as a personal requirement and expense is reflected in the term pin-money, the sum originally allocated to meet this essential cost.
Before the mid-16th century the finest pins were imported from France, but their manufacture in England was encouraged under Henry VIII, and an Act for the True Making of Pynnes was passed in 1543, controlling their quality and price. Gloucestershire and London became the main centres of the pin-making industry.
Materials & Making
As the industry developed in the 16th century the major advance in the manufacture of pins came with the use of a steel draw-plate with a graduated series of holes. Wire, which was usually brass, could be drawn through this to any gauge, permitting standardisation of the size of the pins. The heads were made from fine coils of wire that were soldered in place.
Enormous quantities of pins were used for the fastening of clothing. Elizabeth I was supplied with 24,000 'pynnes of diverse sorts' just for her coronation. Pins secured the petticoat in a ruffle above the farthingale (hoops that supported a skirt), and held the curves of the ruff in place around the neck. Several dozen might be used for one ensemble. Such a quantity required large pincushions, like the canvas work one here. These pins were found in written documents that were dated between 1620 and 1635.
Donald Shaver is donating a ladle inspired by an original 18th century piece. Don made this treenware ladle of Mulberry he harvested himself and dried for 2 years. He finished the ladle with bear grease bringing out the natural color of the mulberry.. The ladle has 4 sterling silver inlays. The two inlays on the back of the bowl have coin silver pins cut from a dime and the two heart shaped inlays bracketing the handle have brass pins.
This ladle, or bowl, is 7-1/4 inches in length with a 4 inch diameter bowl. With the inlays and carving this is a very artistic piece in a traditional art form. A small chip in the bowl edge is intentionally left there, aging the piece and blending with the natural inclusions in the grain. Overall the workmanship and the finish come across as very period authentic. The original was perhaps a wedding gift or for some other special occasion, perhaps settler or perhaps Native American. This is a great piece for the upscale American Indian reenactor or as plunder stolen from the Cherokee or Shawnee towns by frontiersmen.
Donald and Tina Shaver are regular supporters of the CLF Fundraising Auction. Donald is a well known re-enactor and his photo portraying Tall Tree, a white adoptee of the Shawnee Nation, appears on the cover of the May 2015 Muzzle Blasts. Formerly, Donald was a Native American living history interpreter at Old Fort Harrod State Park and the Friends of Fort Harrod say "He is the best they have ever seen! We are all proud to call him our friend and we appreciate him coming to our Fort." Donald is currently working at Martin's Station in Ewing, Virginia, where he is just as enthusiastically received.
His artwork is noted for his careful research and authentic methods and materials. We are grateful to Donald for donating this unique and historically correct item to the 2015 CLF Fundraising Auction.
When Robert Weil started collecting images for the Contemporary Makers book in 1973 the challenge to record contemporary gun work was daunting. Gathering material was difficult and time consuming. Few makers thought that there was any value in published documentation of their work. Electronic publishing has changed all that. Having a website or having one's work available to view on the internet is becoming a necessity. In spite of all the potential to finally have a true overview of what's being produced by the artists of today, a great deal of work still remains covered up and basically unknown. Our role is to make an effort to document some portion of what’s going on today. To comment on the established makers and to uncover the unknown. We welcome your comments and suggestions and look to you our readers to make us aware of the talented makers out there. Art and Jan Riser Robert Weil and The Makers