La culture matérielle des indiens de Weymontachie by Norman Clermont (1982) contains a grainy image of paddles made by members of the Weymontachie Reserve (now Wemotaci) in Quebec. These are straight sided working paddles although one of them features an elongated grip with carved vine motif.
La culture matérielle des indiens de Weymontachie
Norman Clermont (1982)
A second sketch appears in the book providing a closeup of the decorative element...
The Galerie Bac's web gallery of Cornelius Krieghoff (1815-1872) features a rare painting by the Canadian Artist. The untitled and undated oil showcases a shoreline camp scene with bark wigwam, a canoe and a slender paddle blade with a simple chevron motif on the blade.
Krieghoff's other works containing paddle imagery (see all posts HERE) continue the motif. One other specific work, Indians in the Employ of the Hudson's Bay Company at a Portage (1858) also features a paddle with a similar chevron decoration.
Indians in the Employ of the Hudson's Bay Company at at Portage
From this page on artifacts from New France is a rare glimpse of an old Mi'kmaq style birchbark canoe model.
The model was assumed to be collected by Christophe-Paul de Robien (1698-1756), a French enthnographer and historian. After the French Revolution, his personal collection inherited by his descendants was seized by the state and distributed to what became the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes. During the inventory process, it was inscribed with a date of 1794 but the original construction date is unknown.
From La Bibli du Canoe website is an excerpt from a 1945 publication entitled, Pirogues et Pagaies by Jacques Bidault. Page 139 contains sketches of various paddles. Unfortunately apart from the brief figure captions, no signification details are provided.
The first paddle is reminiscent of Innu shaped paddles. The second figure is labelled as a "Pagaie chippeway" and looks to be a resketching of the "Chippewa Woman's Paddle" from the Smithsonian complete with knots on the shaft and grip area..
The final paddle sketch (figure 138) contains some decorative etchings and a hole in the flattened grip area. Unfortunately, it is simply listed as an "Indian Paddle" with no other clues to the specific origins.
My older son has recently taken an interest in playing chess so thought it would be a good idea to have some sort of set ready for rainy camp days. There are plenty of foldaway, magnetic boards or other travel chess sets out there, but wanted to use some scraps and make a homemade version.
The wanigan I made a few years back had an 11"x14" birch art panel used as a sliding internal tray. It would now serve double duty as the removable board for play.
Wanigan with inner tray
The checkerboard pattern was marked out with 1-1/8" squares. Over a leisurely few days, the appropriate squares were burned at high heat. Decided to fill the remaining space on the rectangular tray with burned images of the two heirloom paddles for my sons.
One is dark with negative pyrography, the other a light paddle burned in a positive image so it kind of fits the whole dark vs light theme in chess.
My sons' heirloom paddles
In retrospect, I should have sanded the birch panel surface with a finer grit before doing the burn as the board was a bit lumpy and it is blotchy in places. But it'll work for a functional game. Here's a photo before a light, waterbased varnish was added to protect the surface.
As far as pieces go, I ended up replicating a simple block design found on line (credit to Lanier Graham) ...
Made my light pieces from basswood and the dark pieces from cherry scraps. Sort of changed the piece for the King by adding another cut and making the top a four pointed crown. I've repurposed a sami-style coffee bag made from suede leather to carry the 64 pieces. Anyway, here is the finished set ready for our upcoming trip planning on the May long weekend...
I'm an avid canoeist and general "outdoorsy type" guy with a bit of an artistic side. Recently started this hobby of making custom canoe paddles after my disappointing experience with most commercial brands. This site documents various styles of single blade canoe paddles I've made or researched as well as other canoe related info I've stumbled across on my internet wanderings. Hope you enjoy your visit.