Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Tipi Sculpture

On my way to the quarry last month I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of an amazing sculpture - right here in the village.  It was huge and intriguing - made of wood.  It just appeared.  I had no idea what it was and assumed it was a sculpture, or the makings of one.

I learned it was a Tipi - made in the traditional way of the Native American Sioux.  Timber had been cut, in lengths of 10 metres, cleaned of small branches and the bark removed to leave great straight lengths. 

These were then set up, in a specific order, so that each one supported the next until all the poles were raised in a circle with the top ends interlocking.  The site was strewn with evidence of recent labour, the processes of working the wood, and the smell of the de-barked, fresh hewn timber was intoxicating.

Red shavings of bark lay about, curling and twisting as they dried, releasing the sappy aroma.  The poles had been raised specifically for drying out, and the top tied simply with rope.

I stood in the middle of the structure and looked up, and marvelled at the construction and the lovely timber poles, their woody friendliness and imagined how homely it would be with the canvas wrapped around.  There would be a hole in the canvas near the top, to let out smoke from a central fire.

Once the poles have dried out they will be taken down, and the Tipi rebuilt with its covering at another site in the village ready for use.  A camp is planned - I can already hear the crackling fire and the wisdom of the elders through their stories of animals and nature.

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