Sunday, December 28, 2008

Adventures in FlintKnapping

Left image: Glass antler carving by artist Graham Orridge

This evening I was at my dad's spending all afternoon organizing my beads into new plastic boxes, color coding beads and vintage pieces for the new year. This took me all day, yesterday my friend Alison and I splurged at this lovely antique store, some great vintage finds that I can't wait to show you and even a child of Fatima statue for $4.00. Anyways I was finally able to get the kitchen table cleaned and ate dinner.

After dinner, my dad's friend came by named Big John, he brought his roommate Chris. He is a god with his hands, and looks like a mountain man, his hands were dirty and came carrying a white bucket and a box of tools; he reached in the bucket to reveal his latest works. Small glass arrowheads he carved with his own hands. He introduced me to FlintKnapping, the art of stone tool making. It is also known as flaking or chipping; flintknapping is the world's oldest documentable craft that have been found on prehistoric sites of our ancestors.

Glass is used, along with leather for your hands, metal files and copper can be used to flake away to reveal a shape, most popular are arrow heads. These tools have been used as readily created for hunting, sacrifical knives or even used as scalpels. Flaking was used by the Mayans and Aztecs, and Chris showed me several of these arrowheads he carved out of antique pieces of glass from old bottles he found; he even used old mirrors. It was really fascinating to see this technique and what patience it takes. He said he does break them sometimes, but the outcome is marvelous. Chris even gave me some extra tools so I can practice and do it on my own. I was stunned; I have a leather piece for my hand, some carving tools such as copper sticks in plastic dowels, glass, and a metal file. I am super excited to try it out and read the book he let me borrow. I even told him to open up shop on etsy, so he can spread his talent.

You can read more about Flintknapping here, and here is a great link that you can follow to do this at home, a tutorial on taking an old beer bottle and turning it into a piece of art.

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