|Project by Mark A. DeCou||posted 10-10-2012 02:00 PM||3972 views||3 times favorited||8 comments|
Powder Horn with Fine Silver Decoration:
Horn Size: 14.25” end to end along curve
Twist: Right Hand
Hardware: Fine Silver
Wood Butt End: Curly Mulberry
Tip Plug: Cow Horn Tip with Fine Silver Rain Shield
Display Stand: Black finished Pine & Dark Patina Brass
This Powder Horn is FOR SALE in my Etsy.com Store
I have blogged and posted about powder horns and scrimshaw for several years, so if you’d like to read more start by clicking here and it’ll take you to some other places about this subject that I’ve written and work that I’ve done in the past.
Here is another Blog on Powder Horn Building
Tying some ends together…...
I was little boy, maybe about 8 years old when I bought my first Powder Horn. It was a simple thing, built quickly and sold in the gift shop of “Cow Town”, a historical village in Wichita, KS. Our school class went there on a field trip, and while the other kids “wasted” their parent’s money on candy, I came home with a powder horn. I used that first horn to carry my Daisy BB’s for my Daisy Special Edition Buffalo Bill BB Gun (quite a valuable little thing today), which I still have. And, I still have that first powder horn, it hangs on the wall in my little wood shop.
I was also a little boy about 10 years old when I would go stay with my grandparents on their Farm for several days at a time and “help” my granddad with the farming and ranching operation. I just loved hanging out with him, he would talk and tell me stories, teach me all sorts of things, point out the deer and pheasants when he saw them, driving around the countryside doing chores. I loved him so much, it makes me cry just thinking about those care free days in the early 1970’s spending time with my grandparents. My grandmother was a great wife to my granddad, a great cook, loved kids, kept the house, and did crafts. She had a neighbor lady that lived about a mile East of their place that also liked doing crafts, and she painted landscapes on canvas and started doing silver jewelry. One day during lunch, the neighbor lady was over at my grandparent’s house showing off the silver jewelry she had just made. I didn’t know people could make such a thing, and I was memorized with the shiny silver. I set my mind that day that I would learn to make silver jewelry just like her…...
Well, as plans change for kids, I was distracted by other things, grew up, went to college, got a job I hated, quit, got another job I hated, and just settled into life, debts, and the rest of it, maybe you know the story?
But, I never forgot those two early influences, the Powder Horn and the Silver Jewelry.
Many years later I bought my first black powder rifle and needed a powder horn for it. A local friend gave me some cow horns and a couple of books on how to turn them into a powder container, and off I went. I finished my first horn and went to a competition shoot the next morning. I took 2nd in the Shoot, and everyone saw my new powder horn. They all encouraged me with offers for trade goods for powder horns, and so I went home and started making more. I learned more and more with practice, and started to build up the hand strength to do the scrimshaw artwork, and my work improved a little over time. So, I’ve been making Powder Horns ever since.
Back a few years ago, I ran onto another silversmith, who told me they learned how do it at afternoon classes down in Wichita at the City Arts building. It’s a City Government function, and the classes are great and not all that expensive. The hard part for me is driving the 90 miles down there, and taking one day per week for 10 weeks to do it. But I did sign up for the class, despite my wife’s complaints and her waving the stack of Bills to be paid at me. She got the first silver ring, my mom got the second silver ring, and I’m glad to have learned to manipulate silver and solder it together, at least well enough to accomplish what I want to do at this point in my learning.
So, during the City Arts Silversmithing class, I had to make the common bezel/hoop ring, and a couple more required projects, and then they turned me loose to do what I wanted. So, brought down to Wichita this raw cow horn, and asked the teacher to show me how to complete my vision for it. I had a lot of fun learning, but I never finished the horn at that time.
So a few years passes, and the John Campbell Folk School asks me to come and teach a week long class on Powder Horn making and Scrimshaw decoration. That was the motivation to get back to work and finish my Powder Horn with Silver work, so that I could show it to the students in the class. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun, and I’m happy it is finished now.
So, when you are a kid, and you are inspired by the crafts people and things they make…..you just never know where that will lead you. This is specifically the reason that I stop my schedule and encourage and teach kids things they want to know about. Maybe they can’t “buy” an item they see of mine in a store, but I can motivate them to take their own journey into craft work someday, and I take that task eagerly and very seriously.
Thanks for reading along,
-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com