Doyle's Hand Carved Conch Shell Pendant Gorgets in Progress

Who's Afraid of Spiders?
Doyle holds his work securely in a Jeweler's Ball

 Doyle has been busy every spare moment this week hand carving two new Pre Contact Woodland Period Conch Whelk Pendant Gorgets, one is the Medicine Wheel Spider, the other a Medicine Wheel Star Pendant.

These are recreations of actual Sea Shell Pendant Gorgets that were popular among Pre Contact Native American Peoples more the 500 years ago primarily from the South eastern Part of the American Continent.
You can see he has carefully marked out his design in pencil

You can see some of the hard work that goes into these conch pendant shell blanks that Doyle cut himself from shells we collected from Florida beaches this last Winter.

After roughing out the basic shape, he draws the design on the shell using a compass and flexible ruler.

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In the case of the Spider Conch Gorget he had to just eyeball it and draw it out. He fussed over it forever, but I think he did a great job, the legs overlap the outside rings ever so slightly, giving it a slightly 3-D look. (I am not fond of Spiders, but, if I had to own one, this is the best way I guess!)

As you can see, Doyle uses a high carbon steel engraver and he has to carve the design over and over until he gets the depth and texture he needs for the pattern to emerge.

These images were very important to Primitive Peoples, they often represented Clan identification and status in the community.

It takes anywhere from 10 to 24 continuous hours to create one of these wonders, and from what he's done in the past, it's darn well worth it!

Once he's done he will hand it over to me and I will turn it into a Pendant either with a crochet, beaded or leather cord, depending on what the Pendant tells me what it wants to be.

I hope this glimpse into our little workshop helps you understand how we create our Sea Shell jewelry, not only beautiful in their own right, but Historically accurate as well!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading your description and photos of the carving processs,knowing they are made by hand, one at a time, as the ancestors created them is good to know. When we create this way, part of the artist is infused into the work, its more personal. With the flood of cheap, poorly made asian copies saturating the market, there are many of us who still prefer old school!