In many ways this is a traditional style chip carved walking stick by Erik Sappier, Penobscot/Abenaki, carver. This is a large walking stick, 44" long and 2" in diameter. (CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE ENTIRE IMAGE _ You can only see a small portion, a square, of the actual photo)
Traditionally a brave's or chief's face is traditionally carved at the top of a walking stick. Here Erik breaks tradition and carves a woman's face, she is wearing a traditional Wabanaki peaked/beaded hat and her face is below a an incised sun which has been stained with orange wood stain. There is a beautiful incised and chip carved design of traditional shapes and motifs- at the center of this is the Wabanaki 4 corners/4 races of humankind symbol, with chip carved elongated oval leaves and double curves.
Then below this Erik has carved a chief's face with full upright feathered headdress. The headband of the headdress has a triangle design, he wears a wampum necklace/choker with a chip carved diamond pendant. On either side of the pendant is a traditional double curve design - each of these double curve designs is traditional, yet they are quite different. As is often done, Erik leaves the bark on this until the carvings of the woman's face, and on back until the top of the chief's headdress. Beneath the chief's face on front is a very traditional design which is often placed below the face on a Wabanaki root club or walking stick, it is a cross hatched triangle with chip carved elongated oval dangling leaves/feathers around the sides.
Beneath this is a band or deeply carved triangles forming larger triangles -this band encircles the stick. Below that are more traditional chip carved and double curved designs which frame a incised turtle - the turtle design is between 2 rising suns which are the centers of double curves. (the suns here also are stained with orange wood stain) The "Turtle Island" creation story is evoked by this design. Still on the front of the stick, beneath the turtle is a 5 petaled flower, incised carved and highlighted with orange wood stain. Beneath that is the final front design, an upward facing chip carved ash branch. (more about the significance of ash branches below this description)
---On the back ... the bark extends down to the top back of the chief's headdress, for his hair (as well as the woman's hair) Erik has used a black wood stain. At the back of the man's hair, is an upward facing ash branch with Erik's maker's mark below ... here he uses the first 3 letters of his last name SAP and entwines them. Then another ash branch, downward facing just above the triangle design band that encircles the stick at this point. The final design on the back of the stick is an upward facing ash branch with a chip carved diamond from which dangles chip carved leaves/feathers.
The use of the woman's face is unique. Thus far, only Erik has done this, that I am aware of. He has carved a woman's face on a talking stick and a key ring fob as well. I appreciate this break with tradition by Erik. - Not only is this unusual, the woman's face is beautifully done, as is the entire stick. The turtle design is most elegant and wonderful.
The chip carved leaves on the ash branch you see on this stick are similar in Senahbeh, Stan Neptune, and Hugga Joe Dana's work. The brown ash is a sacred tree to the Northeast Native Americans - it figures in their creation myth... the Wabanaki people were when an arrow piercing the brown ash tree and the splinters became the people.
The photos below can only show a square of the entire photo.... click on a photo to see it, the entire stick will show in some of the photos of the "slideshow"... Check out all the photos... which can not do justice to designs on round surface! But photos do show many of the designs and Erik's fine workmanship.