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New member from northern Kentucky

Denis A Bryant

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Hi everyone, my name is Denis Alan Bryant and I live in Brooksville Ky. I hope I am posting this correctly, if I am not, please give me a little time and I will learn. I have been an artist all of my life, I have never had any formal training or lessons. My mother made and painted ceramics and my father was a wood carver. I work mostly in 3 mediums, oil on canvas, clay [ southwestern style coiled pottery ] and stone carving. It is stone carving that I do most often. I carve arrowheads, spearheads, blades and effigy pieces. My work is a tribute to a magnificent prehistoric people who lived in North America hundreds and even thousands of years ago whom I have always had a great respect for. Each piece can take several hours to make, but when it is finished it will look almost exactly like the real artifact. My favorite stone to carve is a alabaster, I also carve catlinite and wonderstone. I like soapstone but it is to soft, for my type of work the stone must be hard enough to hold fine detail and edge work without crumbling. some of the alabaster I buy I cant use as it is to soft, but it is good for other things. I dont know of anyone else in the world who carves arrowheads with the realism that I do. Flint knapping is an ancient skill that is used to make arrowheads, spearheads, ect. My hat is off to both ancient and modern flint knappers, thier work is very beautiful and I am glad there are people keeping the art of flintknapping alive. My work is not knapping but carving. I use a hacksaw to cut about a .312 slab of stone. Then I get it wet so I can see the true colors, banding and grain of the stone, then I will draw the outline of the point I want to carve on the slab. I can see how it will look when it is finished this way. I then use the hacksaw to cut the excess away, cutting it carefully so I can get other pieces out of the slab. Now I will use a 60 grit drum sand pad on a dremel to rough shape the symetery and outline, the finish shape is done with a rasp and flat file, much more control can be obtained with a file, having control is the key to all of my art work. If the arrow head is to have notches, I will draw them on now and with a small diamond bit or round file I will cut the notches out, then with a cone shape bit I will bevel the notches and base, then blend in the beveling with the same tool. now comes the part that takes some practice, I grind each flake with a 120 grit drum sand pad with the dremel tool. I dont draw these on, I just carve them in the natural way they would be if they were knapped. I have walked fields and river banks for many years and have found several prehistoric artifacts, so I am familiar with the way they really look. I then go back over each flake with a fine sand paper to get out any grind marks. I can find no sanding drums this fine, so I cut a piece of sand paper and glue it to a used sanding drum. After washing the dust off and letting the stone dry I put a good coat of mineral oil on it and rub off the excess. This brings the color out and never clouds. Some softer alabaster will need another coat as it will fade after several months. I must caution anyone who might try making an arrowhead like this to ware the best dust mask / respairator you can get as the dust is very, very bad. Stone dust can cause permenent and even fatal lung desease, I need to make sure you are aware of this danger. I have been carving stone for over 25 years and I am ok, but I have always taken the dangers serously. I put most of my finished work in riker mount cases and I also make necklaces withe the arrowheads. I will send pictures of my work so you can see what I am making. It is an honor to be part of this forum, Thank you, Denis A Bryant

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