To see the entire stick - click on a photo then scroll thru the slideshow. The length of the stick will be shown, it can't be fit into the square photo which is how this website constricts the photos on the page
The carved woman's head - with her Wabanaki "peaked cap" atop this talking stick is beautiful. This peaked cap would have been worn by Erik's female ancestresses - both Penobscot & Abenaki. Below the face, the barkless portion of the stick shows the elegance that painting can bring. Erik Sappier, Penobscot /Abenaki explains this technique "these sticks take 4-5 coats of stain to achieve the color, whereas the talking sticks I've made in the past are chip carved, stained then stain is wiped away. The painting of the turtle takes me about the same amount of time as it does to carve it, so all in all, these new painted sticks are 2-4 times more time consuming then a chip carved, then stained stick. Also, it's a tougher medium because I can't really draw what I want to chip carve, it scars the stained wood."
Wabanaki - a confederacy of 5 NE tribes currently residing in what is now Maine, Vermont and Eastern Canada.... The Abenaki, Maliseet, MicMac (Mi'kmaq - Canadian spelling), Passamaquoddy and Penobscot.
As far as I am aware Erik is the only Wabanaki chip carver - ever - to put a woman's face atop his work, talking sticks, walking sticks and on a root club. -- Men's faces - chiefs & braves faces are the traditional faces atop these items.
This stick is painted a light glossy brown. Traditionally many chip carved items, talking sticks, walking sticks and root clubs have some of the bark left on some portion of these items. Here the bark is left on the upper portion of the stick, and Erik has cut out a large portion of the upper front of the stick where he has carved the woman's head.
Erik Sappier's work is included in a recent Abbe Museum's exhibit.... "Emergence: Root Clubs of the Penobscot Nation"
This stick is exquisitely detailed. Erik uses traditional designs with several variations on a traditional style chip carved talking stick, most are design elements that have been used by Erik's ancestors for centuries.
This talking stick has at top - the woman's head with her darker hair and face (stained) and her lighter peaked cap. The bottom 1/2 of the stick is painted and has chip carving with some incised lines ... the carving exposes the nearly white wood making a bold contrast.
Directly beneath the bark on the front part of the stick are 2 bands of incised lines making vertical stripes that encircle the stick, between these lines are incised triangles with smaller chip carved triangles inside. Beneath these bands on the front of the stick is a triangle made 2 incised lines with a small triangle made of small chip carved triangles. Around the outer sides of the larger triangle dangle elongated chip carved ovals - either feathers or leaves. ... At the bottom of the front is a upraised ash branch (more on this below)... On either side of the ash branch are large morning star symbols made of chip carving - with incised "rays" around it. On the side tops just beneath the bottom encircling band are star symbols made of incised lines. Between these 2 star symbols is Erik's maker's mark, his initials "EJS" with the J attached to the bottom of the E
On the back of the stick below Erik's maker's mark is another upright ash branch.
This stick is 11.5" long and about 1" diameter. The woman's face is 3" long from top of peaked cap to top of bark below it. 1" across. This is one of Erik's newest sticks which utilize the glossy painted finish. You will receive information on Native Americans' use of talking sticks with this piece.
See "bios" section in this website to learn more about Erik Sappier.