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LMRD 807 ~ Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Lower Mississippi River"
~~~Monday, Nov 2, 2020~~~

Calling for Submissions! Help us find the Spirit in the Log!

Grandfather Cypress awaiting its form to be carved -- Clarksdale, Miss, banks of Sunflower River next to Quapaw Canoe Company

Calling all artists! And creative types! And anyone who is willing to send a doodle, a sketch, or an idea. Deadline in 2 weeks, Tues, Nov 17th.

Let your imagination go free... Design the canoe as a river canoe, a lake canoe, an ocean canoe -- or spirit canoe -- whatever you "see" is what is right!

We're taking submissions through Tuesday, Nov 17th. All ideas will be collected and then we'll vote on them live, on Wed Nov 18th, during the next BEAM session. Scan or photograph and send all submissions to Allie Grant and John Ruskey

Story thus far:

Last month we dropped the dead-standing Louisiana Bald Cypress that we have lovingly come to call "Grandfather Cypress."

Now we are studying the 20 foot trunk section. It is sitting in the field next to the Quapaw Canoe Company on the banks of the Sunflower River. We will begin carving this month. I had a vision of a Buck Deer Canoe, based on a personal animal encounter. But that is just one idea. We want to see yours!

We need your help finding the Spirit in the Log! Here are dimensions, and shape: 20' long, 4' diameter at butt, 3' at crown.

Butt end (4 feet in diameter)

Crown end (3 feet in diameter)

The dugout canoe is an 8,000 year old tradition, and full of creative possibility. Approach the log as a sculptor would a lump of clay, or a raw block of marble. What is the spirit contained within? What form is yearning to be articulated through our carving? What design best reflects the spirit of our community? Our biota? The spirit of mother earth?

In the traditio, animal spirits are often articulated, but do not limit yourself in any way! I know a dugout canoe carver (Churchill Clark) who very successfully carves human faces, and sometimes abstract shapes.

Here is a sample of canoes I have carved over they decades. The first one, "King Beaver," is the only one I carved entirely alone, and it took me 20 years to finish! All others involved a community of carvers. Grandfather Cypress will be a community project for Clarksdale, MS and Helena, AR, and anyone else who wants to come participate.