Iron Spirit Boat with Mica Moons

October 20, 2010

Spirit Boat made from 1/8″ steel plate,  forged into the shape and size of a Coralbean seedpod (Erythrina flabelliformis, a desert shrub).  Drilled with six beveled holes and ornamented with three large catfish ribs that are tied in place with hemp cord.  The ribs were originally several inches longer but I cut them down to a manageable size and polished them.  They are from a collection of fish bones that I gathered in the swamps of western Kentucky about 15 years ago.  The removable copper chain is made from 16-gauge rings and ornamented with 13 muscovite mica discs that represent the moons of the year.  The boat is 9 inches long.  It sits on a cradle of heavy latigo leather that was carved to resemble a seed, then charred to color and stiffen it.

Forged Iron Spirit Boat


Spirit Boat Closeup

Leather Cradle for Spirit Boat


3 Responses to “Iron Spirit Boat with Mica Moons”

  1. debra said

    A beautiful thing.

    How do you use it?

    A friend wonders if it floats. I’m guessing only on a river in the spirit world…

  2. ironwing said

    No, it doesn’t float. These boats represent the boat the carries spirits across the Oldest River to the Otherworld after death. I’ve made several of them over the years, each a little different, and put them on my Halloween altar and/or given them to friends who had recently lost someone. This is the most elaborate one that I’ve made so far.

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