Monday, July 31, 2017

Early Moravian Rifle by Chuck Edwards

This is frist time in years that I been able to build a spec rifle for the CLA Show. It is a early Moravian rifle .44' rice barrel. 54cal, 13.5 trigger pull. 3/8 cast off. In joy.

Photos and copy supplied by Chuck Edwards.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

2017 CLF Auction Item: Knife and Sheath Set by Robert Park and Linda Pritchard

Arguably the most important tool for any outdoorsman: a good blade.  But for the modern-day frontiersman who favors period black powder shooting, not just any knife will do.  This year’s CLF fundraising auction is fortunately graced with an outstanding knife and sheath set by artisans Robert Park and Linda Pritchard.

Accomplished bladesmith Robert Park handcrafted the knife, which is forged from 1084 spring steel.  It’s a well-proportioned piece: the handle is 4 ¼” long, while the blade itself measures 5 ¼” inches.  The artist skillfully married a historical pattern with a contemporary twist.  It’s “an English trade knife,” says Park, “with some of my own styling.”  The handle is crafted from French box wood, with a linseed oil finish.

Park sites the CLA and its artists as a major influence in his work, having studied with noted craftsmen including Joe Seabolt, Ian Pratt, and the House brothers.  The CLA, says Park, is simply a “Great organization.  The other artists give me a lot of inspiration to make better knives to get to a higher level.”

This project, says Park, was the brainchild of quill artisan Linda Pritchard.  Pritchard explains that the sheath which she crafted for this set “is inspired by the quillwork and moose hair embroidery from the Great Lakes region of the 18th and early 19th centuries.”  The body of the sheath is constructed from brain tanned deer hide and lined with another sheath made from rawhide. “In this piece,” she says, “I used silk and linen threads and tried to stay as historically accurate in the creation of the sheath as possible while using a bit of my own artistic expression.”  The completed sheath was then dyed with black walnut from the Pritchard farm.

Pritchard adorned the face of the sheath with a stunning pattern executed in porcupine quills and moose hair; the sheath is further set off with extra details including glass trade beads, brass hawk bells, and handmade tin cones filled with dyed deer hair. The artist largely crafts her own period-appropriate dyes: madder root for orange, indigo and verdigris for blue, and bloodroot for yellow.

While maintaining a respect for history, Pritchard explores her own artistic vision.  “The scalloped moose hair portion along the border of the sheath,” she explains, “was common among the Huron pouches as well as other Great Lakes tribes.  The center zigzag design and the quilled wrapped edging was also very common and used throughout the 18th century by the Great Lakes tribes.”  Due to such historic examples, the artist observes, “I’m sometimes inspired to recreate an original, but the originals remain only as an inspiration, never as an exact copy.”

This exemplary set is simply the artists’ way of contributing to an organization that has been crucial to their own development as craftspeople.  “I feel so humbled to be there among all the great artists,” says Pritchard.  “I am so lucky to have the encouragement from the CLA members and fantastic artists there because I am sure without them I would have never been inspired to keep working to improve my craft.”

For more information on the work of the artists, contact:
Robert Park (
Linda Pritchard (

Copy by Josh Shepherd with photos by David Wright

Saturday, July 29, 2017

2017 CLF Auction Item: Puppet by Dale Powers

Despite the passage of centuries, mankind, at his core, remains the same.  Life in the 18th century could entail some pretty serious work, but everyone eventually needs get away from it all.  Long before he penned the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was a hard-working Williamsburg attorney who managed a veritable mountain of court cases.  But on April 14, 1769, Jefferson recorded his expenses for a little harmless diversion: he paid 7 shillings and 6 pence “for seeing a puppet show.”

Virginia artisan Dale Powers has crafted a truly unique offering for this year’s CLF fundraising auction: a full articulated 18th century puppet.  “The origin of the Dancing Man,” explains the artist, “can be traced to France during the 16th century. They were known throughout Europe as Poupées à la. In America, by the 18th century these puppets became popular in Appalachia. They were created on the frontier as toys.”

Powers’ reproduction is crafted from hand-carved Appalachian white pine and measures 3” wide and 10 ¼” tall.  The artist painted the puppet with a subdued color palette and then subtly aged the piece.  Appropriately enough for a frontier toy, the puppet’s eyes and nose are made from white tail deer antler.  The finished product is a charmingly well-executed example of early American folk art.  It’s perfectly well suited for the junior reenactors at your next living history event, or as a display piece in your collection of primitive Americana.

For more information on the work of the artist, contact:
Dale Powers

Text by Josh Shepherd with photos by G Barlow

Friday, July 28, 2017

Powder Horn by Clinton Byers

Mary Bohlen’s ancestors arrived in the Carolina’s sometime in the early 1760’s. I can only imagine they found the southern frontier a virtual Garden of Eden. That thought became the guiding theme as I created this horn for Mary. The architecture of the horn is based on an original I have in my collection and inspiration for the “Garden” came from the “Mauries Robeson Esqr.” horn owned by the late Glenn Sutt. Glenn brought the horn to the 2014 HCH meeting in Carlisle, PA and was kind enough to let me photograph it. I would like offer a special thank you to Tom Ames for all of his guidance with symbolism. As with so much do, many hands were here. Deo Juvante.

Copy and photos supplied by Clinton Byers.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

2017 CLF Auction Item: Brooch and Box by Glen Mock

The Eighteenth Century was a time of few possessions. Items of personal ornament often doubled with a useful purpose.  The treasured family pieces were kept in containers appropriate to their value.  Glen Mock has created such a piece for the 2017 Auction.  Carefully crafted from natural material this shawl brooch is stunning and elegant.  Glen has always been known for his scrimshaw work in horn, bone, antler and other natural materials.  This brooch has some of his best work, a delicate vining pattern with flowers and butterflies and a heart suggesting a gift to a loved one.  The brooch pin is elegantly simple. 

The box of curly maple repeats the vining floral design with silver wire and scrimshaw.  With its red wool lining and decorated lid the box is every bit as elegant as the brooch.  Your sweetheart may let you borrow the brooch to pin up your plaid, but she will never let you have this container.
Glen has been a regular auction supporter because he believes in the CLA and its support for contemporary artists. 

Glen mock’s contact information is

Text  by Heinz Ahlers with photos by David Wright

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hunting Pouch by James Rogers

This is a bag with a shape that is reminiscent of several first half 18th century bags I have seen in paintings and engravings. English bridle leather, internal divider, flap lined in pigskin, goat trim, and a die forged iron buckle.  This bag is constructed with the buckle in the rear for a right handed shooter resulting from a recent thread in which we shared our preferences for buckle location.  The strap is oversized and for custom fitting. This, along with other recently created items are being created for my table at the CLA show in August.

Copy and photos supplied by James Rogers.