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Figuring Out the Totem Poles

Aug 17, 2007
Carving a Totem is a splendid thing to do. Now a day it becomes very desirable for room decorations. For those who really have a desire to create by their own self then this article can become an effective guideline for them.

There is nothing more demanding than the art of making little root figures. Search for suitable pieces among gnarled roots, bits of fallen limbs and branches, driftwood from streams and beaches and so on. In this case "suitable" means that the pieces naturally have the shape of some figure or some fabulous sort of animal. Your imagination is more important here than your ability to work with the knife. Select the pieces of wood so that you have as little to add or fix up as possible. Perhaps you will have to remove a knob or a growth, or carefully add a limb that nature forgot.

The results of such work are really totem figures and are very desirable today as room decorations. With such fabulous figures as these, you can transform your hut in the woods or your room into a medieval witch's kitchen or a medicine man's tepee.

Keep in mind that too much work with the knife ruins the figure. There is a completely natural way of giving one or more branches the form you want. Tie the wood into the desired form with cords. Then lay the figure under water for a day, and afterward let it dry in the sun. Remove the cords, and the shape you want will remain.

The Totem Pole
Carving a totem pole is a splendid thing to do. Ask a forest ranger or the owner of the property on which a tree was felled for the fallen trunk. Then, start to work with your ax and knife, and later with your paintbrush. With careful work and imaginative planning, you should be able to make a totem pole similar to those the Indians made.

Since many of the Indians' totems represented their guardian spirits, each figure had a specific meaning. Some intricately carved figures on the totem poles represented tribal laws, customs, and usages covering kinship, marriage, property and descent. If your totem pole is to be authentic, see that the figures you carve have some personal meaning to you. If you travelled through Alaska today, you would see totem poles rising in the midst of Indian villages. Many tower as high as 30 to 50 feet and are 3 or 4 feet thick. Usually they stand in front of the owner's house, but they often also serve as cornerposts of the huts themselves. Powerful forms of animals and humans are artfully carved into the wood and painted with rich colors. The Indians prepare these paints themselves according to traditional recipes of ashes, burned colored shells, mosses, and various stones mixed with plant and animal fats.

In British Columbia there are also totem figures standing today which have not changed their forms or meanings for hundreds of years.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.best-scopes-n-binoculars.com/, http://www.ezcampingresources.info/ , http://www.goodbudgetholiday.info/
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