and the Creation of the Antler Pendants
Horses have always been my favorite
animal and favorite subject when it comes to art. As a very
young child in school, my teachers always had to deal with little
horse and pony drawings all of my school work. I never did grow out
miniature painting - there is something about the "tiny-ness" that
intrigues me. I have always been fussy about little details, perhaps
that has something to do with it.
My Antler Discovery
My dad is always tinkering with
something, from coconuts to cans and everything in between. I
thought it a bit odd one day when he gave me a bucket of deer
antlers. Why would he give me some of his precious tinkering
objects? How very strange indeed, I thought.
The bucket sat in my barn for two
years - I walked by it several times a day. I never gave that bucket
a second thought.
One cold, nasty, windy, blustery
Northern Michigan winter day I treaded through two feet of freshly
fallen snow and into the barn to do chores. I heard the horses
nickering as they patiently waited for me, as they did each morning.
Then, without warning - that darn bucket - I tripped over it....and
the grain I was carrying spilled all over. Snow was blowing
into the barn and the cold wet stuff was all over. What an idiot I
thought- how could I have tripped over that darn bucket? As I was
getting back up off the ground I must admit I was not a very
happy camper. So there I was - cold, wet, unhappy with a bad look on
my face thinking about the mess I had to clean up. I annoyingly
looked around at the antlers that had made their way all over the
ground. I noticed for the first time how unique they are. I leaned
over and picked one up, examining it.
I found its shape and texture to be
very intriguing. I wondered what I could do with such a thing.
I decided I wanted to know what the
inside of an antler looked like. I always knew what the burrs
(bases) looked like as I have seen elk antler buckles, etc. But what
about a Whitetail antler? Where they the same? What color where
they? I knew they were not hollow - so what excitement could there
possibly be inside there....
I was hooked the first time I cut one
open. I still remember it - that piece I had first picked up off the
ground, staring at it with the snow blowing in the barn door,
covering us both in winters fury. I realized that the shape of each
and every antler is like a snowflake - so unique they could never be
grown the same way twice. And the inside?....Some are plain, yet
others have very neat variations of colors and designs. Some of
these 'designs' are not even noticed by the average looker - there
are often times color variations (such as grays and browns) that
create them. Others have natural little holes or dips and still
others are perfectly and solidly colored.
Thus, pavilionpony antler jewelry was
I must admit this is not a clean job.
It is in fact, something most people would not even consider doing.
Just my style! :)
Every pendant goes through a strict
process. There is much, much more to creating these than simply
cutting a piece off and painting it. First off, not all antler are
even worthy of the pendant process. Some are old, pitted and chalky.
Others look great, but you don't really know until you see the
inside. The choosing process is many times, if not most, by chance
of getting good pieces.
There are also extreme safety
precautions that must be taken - metal cutting blades spinning
faster than you can watch are unforgiving on most everything - and
this definitely includes fingers. I cannot tell you how many times
stray pieces have gone whizzing by at high rates of speed.
The sanding process....well....lets
just say it helps to be ambidextrous - how I do it would be nearly
impossible if I was not. During this process, the antler piece will
get extremely HOT. Many times too hot for touch and leaving me with
blisters or burns. Picky. I am very, very picky. Each piece is
scrutinized before it leaves the sanding area.
The fun, yet tedious part of course
is the painting. Many of the brushes used have about four
hairs......! They have a few more than that, but you get the idea.
They are very tiny. When doing custom orders from photos, I take
great care in getting markings right - that's what makes each animal
so different looking from each other and each pendant so special.
Sealing and curing time for each
pendant is usually 48 hours.....as you can tell, there is nothing
fast about a pendants creation. Funny thing is, I am just as excited
with each pendant that I paint now as I was with the very first one,
almost twelve years ago! Sometimes, I have to make myself leave them
alone. I really enjoy painting them and it is hard to put them down.
There are of course, a few others
steps that are not mentioned here. After all, I can't give away all
my secrets now can I.
I still have that darn bucket.
It is blue, with whitetail deer on
Thanks dad. :)
I am always in
search of new ideas and things to try with artwork. If you have any
suggestions or are looking for something you just can't seem to
find, please email me.
© 1990-2012 Cynthia J. Hoffmeister