Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Between the storms (so to speak)

PJ006 Thunderbird Medium with Symbols
Hi all, CFCF was in February, Twister Retreat is this month,  and on May 1 I'll be teaching at Fandango in Florida. Needless to say, we have a Storm of activity going on!!

Along with the regular things we do to prepare for a show, this year we have designed a new booth. It is finished and all that's left is painting.

Not only that, we are trying to update our line. And it kind of started like this. You know how sometimes you get to looking at something and think wow what if I did this……

Conclusion? What can we do to improve our line?

Thunderbird molds PJ005 in PJ006 were sculpted years ago. The PJ005 is a single stylized Thunderbird and an over-sized mold. It's the largest mold we've made. The PJ006 is a medium sized Thunderbird with two feathers in the mold.

But compared to some of our new molds, one with over three dozen tiny parts, it the large pieces all alone or with only three openings in a large mold seemed kind of bare.

The Thunderbird is a symbol made popular by Plains Indians. Because of the beauty of it it has endured and been taken up by a number of different artists because of their love of an eagle or just the beauty of the design.

In addition to a Thunderbird many animal images have been held in high esteem by not only the Native Americans of our country but also by people the world over.

Added to the medium Thunderbird mold were an owl, a bear, a howling wolf and a bison. Depending on the part of the world, these creatures are symbols of a strength, attitude or other quality that people would like to hold in their own lives. These tiny symbols were usually carved of stone and strung on necklaces or hung from other parts of clothing to decorate and inspire the wearer.

Note the owl; even as a child I was taught we want to be as wise as an owl. The owl then became a symbol of wisdom in which used in many formats including cartoons to impress upon us the importance of wisdom.

To me the bear shows versatility, ferocity and patience, the howling wolf is a strong provider and fighter; and the bison shows the power of great strength. These animals may symbolize something different to other people.

These carved tiny animals, or other natural elements, were often strung on beads. Some of the little symbols even had tiny bits of natural organic things and minerals in the form of pebbles or slivers of stone fastened to their back with cords. These tiny artworks have intrigued me for years.

Yesterday I updated the large Thunderbird with some more fun and inspiring symbols.

In this mold there are six new pieces the horse, a RAM, a cougar, a turtle, a bird that is stylized as well as a feather. We'll get this particular mold made today and a few days later it will have its own new packaging and photos of molded parts ready to go.

Making these tiny symbols is great fun for me I began sculpting as a miniaturist and continue to love the small things.

 Thanks for dropping by today!

Penni Jo Couch – designer and sculptor of