Saturday, August 20, 2011

Killing two birds with one stone...Or is that killing two stones with one bird?

Currently I have a commission to make a Buffalo hide incised Parflech for a museum display.   I also have been once again toying with some ideas of art glass, so will be combining the two projects (since they deal with the same subject matter).  Only the materials are different.  

 Incised Buffalo Hide parflech's are pretty rare, especially when you think about the ratio of painted ones in existence to the incised ones that still survive.  They are not all that easy to make either.   They have to be made from buffalo hide in which the hair has been slipped off and the dark brown epidermal is retained.   Not as easy as it sounds.   Usually when you soak a buffalo hide long enough to slip the hair off, its starts to rot and the epidermal layer also comes off too.   So timing is very important in this process, as well as getting hides from a summer kill or fall kill buffalo when the epidermis is at its darkest.  Much like a sun tan on the buffalo.
 This is one I made a few years ago for a commission I had for a entire set of Nez Perce horse gear.   The epidermal layer has to be removed to reveal the white hide underneath.  Again, this involves proper timing.   You cannot do this if the hide is too wet or too dry.   And it takes a constant sharp knife to do this procedure.
 So, in thinking about the incised rawhide parflech,  I also am taking this concept into some art glass I am currently working on.  Yesterday I was able to spend a little time on the floor of the hot shop at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.   We blew a cylinder that will eventually become a glass "Parfletch"
 This process too is kind of like making a rawhide one.   The glass is colored in layers.  First a light tan color, then a layer of clear glass to protect that,  then a top layer of dark brown glass.   The top layer will then be carved to reveal the tan underneath, making the designs in the glass.  

We also had to drill lots of holes in this glass while it was still molten for attachment of the fringe once the designs are carved and the shine of the glass is taken down with a acid bath.   So...stay tuned for both projects to be posted soon.


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