Friday, May 18, 2007

Walking Sticks

Another habit of mine has been to make walking sticks from fallen limbs, toppled trees, and drift wood. When my oldest son and I helped a fellow choir member with her yard work one afternoon, we cut a number of dead limbs from a huge blooming George Tabor azalea in front of her house. There were a number of seasoned, crooked branches which we took home.

I've found that some of the best walking sticks are not straight, but bent in the right place to hold, hang, and swing with each stride. This one turned out this way. The wood was very fine grained, hard, and a lovely ruddy brown.

And the design I carved on the top, during quiet sleepy hours each afternoon of one of our mountain vacations, was suggested by our youngest, then five. Here are some shots of the carving, moving around the top of the stick. The color is colored pencil wax (prismacolor), put on the exposed wood right after carving, rubbed lightly with a smooth stone, then heated over a campfire. Hand rubbing completes the process which started with pocketknife and a stone from a beach on the Linville River, about two miles from the falls.

(Photo link for George Tabor azalea thanks to Donna Andrews)

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