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I'd like to see some more pictures. How's about making some ear rings!
I will cover that throughly very soon. I mean absolutely no disrespect and please do not take these next two statements in a bad light (turn off the lights).
Women spend a lot of money on their 'ears'.
Women will wear 'anything' on their ears.
I am willing to bet $$ that if you take a pop top from an aluminum can. And make that shape with the holes. (it is very recognizable). Make them out of white ivory or baleen. I know beyond any shadow of doubt - women will buy them. Wait !! you just said white ivory ? we can't use that. OH yes you can in many different ways. 90% of the fossil ivory you will purchase from Alaska Fur Exchange is white on the inside. That's one way to legally obtain the correct material. Vegetable IVORY I betcha never heard of that stuff. Go to Black Elk Leather and touch it and look at it.. you cannot tell it from the real thing!!
Ear-rings are the easiest and simplest thing to make; with the minimal amount of waste of the ivory being used.
Notice the sharp hard edges.. they didn't even take the time to sand them.. MY sons found this when walking the beaches in Point Hope in summer of 06. They just sliced it up - drilled a 1/16th hole in the top of each piece that was sanded flat. Polish & sold them for $75 each - We made 20 pair in less than 2 hours and sold them all that day!
Some photos of ear-rings - simple ones - the complicated ones can go for many hundreds of dollars (we don't make those). The most expensive ear-rings we make cost 150 there abouts (barrow prices).
In all the villages - our prices are different. Depending on the village.
Barrow (highest) Point Hope (lowest) Kotzebue (mid-range).
Anchorage was always completly out of the question. BECAUSE of the manner in which the tourists shops rip the carver off. BUT I was wrong (again). We stay away from those types of shops. We only go where the money is. NATIVES and much to my surprise and I never would have believed it.. White people are very interested in these things.
A few months ago.. Sept My boys had tried to get back into carving and they made two bracelets. I went to a restraunt - Jackie O's to meet with a friend for breakfast. When I sat down I showed my friend the bracelet and he was amazed at the quality of the work by my sons. I just put the box down on the table and we were talking. The waitriess came by and just said. how much ?? without even thinking I said 250. she just walked away saying nothing. 1/2 a minute later she plopped 250 on the table and said..That's Mine !!!
I was wrong. Lots of people want these and they are willing to pay top dollar for them. But where to go ????
BINGO - NATIVE CORPORATIONS - DOCTORS - LAWYERS - CHRIOPRACTORS - DENTISTS -HOSPITALS -ANYPLACE lyou can just show them... shut up about yourself and let the Ivory do ALL THE TALKING. Native coporations do not care who made the item - they want it!!
I will tell you a simple way to make $50,000 from each native corporation here in town. We have been talking about this for years and so have many others in Point Hope. BUT NO ONE will take the time to actually do this.
couple more question and yes more photo's please....
1.) are the boys drilling by hand or using a small drill press?
2.) you stated oil from the body dulls the finish...what do you recommend people buff/polish their piece with to bring back the luster finish you have put on it?
3.) do you sons make pendants too or just bracelets/earrings?
4.) do you combine the different materials into pieces...baleen/ivory etc?
5.) in post #57 you show in the photo sanding the piece. what grit and type of sand paper are you using or is it Emory cloth?
A.We use dremels and drill by hand.
B.Clean the pieces with tissue and rubbing alcohol & shine is restored.
C.Pendants - gun handles - knife handles - letter openers - you name it
D. Emery Cloth nope - We use sand paper. 80 grit 120 grit and 200 grit
Those are the fast rough shaping grits.. now you need to get rid of the scratches by using 400 - 800 - 1500 type grits THEN the polishihng compund for the brilliant shine - IT IS THE SHINE THAT SELLS.
That's why I keep saying .. Let the ivory do all the talking. all ya gotta do is just show this stuff/ People want it..Women fight over these - We have seen it too many times.. Oh I want that bracelet and I left my money at home.. can you save that ?? Another voice: I will pay you right now.. Hey I will pay you more I want that !!!
A REVERSEABLE WATCH BAND. $700 bucks
Back to EAR-RINGS This is what you look for when you purchase a piece of ivory to make ear-rings. The shape of the ivory. You want something that you can just slice it all up quick like - (Picture a bannana) squash it slightly.. That OVAL type shape.
Make a slice of ivory that is rectangle 3/8 inches by one inch long or longer. Wrap a string around it and trace the string on the ivory piece using pencil or marker. Now get out your dremel with a sharp burr bit and hollow out the lines !! Total time about 40 minutes. Price $150. You ain't gonna do it right the first time - but you will learn and get it right by the 3rd or 4th or 5th time!! AND if your clever - you can place a black baleen ball inside !!! Or a rod of black baleen and people wonder ?? HOW DID HE GET THAT IN THERE??
That really is a gorgeous bracelet. Worth every penny of $600.
Thanks ArcticState, We have sold lots of those. Quite frankly we can't keep up with the demand. We try to use our imagination lots and we come up with kewl ideas. Like necktie ear-rings - they caused a huge sensation in Kotzebue.
Originally Posted by michmoldman
You make some beautiful items!!!
Thanks michmoldman; My sons make it all; I am strictly quality control and lead designer - photography & 3D
EAR-RINGS - ear-rings. A virtual gold mine - if you do it right. VOLUME!!
PRE-FAB & make 100's of pairs. Get them all boxed up.
Ear-rings are simple to make. Here are images of easy to make simple shapes. Some require assembly (ulu ear-rings) & mukluk ear-rings.
Be careful making these. A real ulu is only sharpened on one side. Watch out when you do this. We received some nasty cuts by making these too sharp.
The hardware needed to create the finshed product(s).
We order 1000 of each of these 4 pieces in gold & in silver for 248 bux plus shipping to point hope. BLACK ELK LEATHER is the only place. All other places charge outrageous prices just for 10 of them.
That 'stash' of hardware will last quite a long time. Next you need 1/2 dozen small bottles of super glue. There are dozens of different types. Thin - thick - fast drying - slow drying etc. etc. There is no one type for all purposes. Experience is the best teacher; unfortunatly she kills all her students eventually.
I say small bottles because with any size bottle the top(s) get crapped up with excess buildup. I like the small ones. I keep 25 or more on hand. I don't want to even have to think of what I might need. Everything is stocked up to the max.
These steps become very boring indeed - SO ... now that you have it down pat. USE YOUR IMAGINATION and see what you can come with for NEW IDEAS. While your working with the same boring simple shapes. What can you do different?
Here are some of our templates we use to make ear-rings.
It doesn't matter what you purchase for ivory. Just do the steps and learn as you go. Children do this effortlessly in the Arctic producing incredible results.
As I have said: It doesn't matter what you purchase for Ivory - you put it in the vise and slice it all up.
Male or Female Ivory:
Is there a difference ? You betcha and it is quite significant!!
How do you tell the difference ? Look at the center core. That is core - it is useless - It is not pure Ivory - it is core. A male walrus has large core. It fills the center of the tusk and leaves very little Ivory to work with. We use the core and everything. So what !! A female Walrus has hardly any core at all.. Much more pure Ivory to work with. So it is a no brainer to figure out which one of the three samples is female !!
We sent some Ivory bracelets and ear-rings to Tennesse a few years ago. Those people - marveld more at the core on the pieces than the actual ivory itself. They were so impressed at the texture of the core portion.
SLICE IT UP - SHAPE IT OUT - SMOOTH/SAND - POLISH & PACK = $$
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