Friday, January 20, 2017

Buffalo horn and other bits

As part of the beginning of the year clean and cull I came across some odd bits and pieces I had collected or been given for making stuff out of. Some I have already used but others not.

©2017 Barry Smith - Detail of the starting material
Today I decided use:  bone I had cleaned and bleached; some pearl shell I was given about 25 years ago and used in part many years ago; some buffalo horn I was given about 7 years ago by a guy who had collected it in the NT about 40 years ago; and a bone handled knife I was asked to cut up and create some plain memory filled jewellery from.

©2017 Barry Smith - Material described about
I knew roughly that I was going to use the bits to create simple objects: pendants and earrings. The first task is cutting - and let me say that cutting bone, pearl shell and buffalo horn needs to be done in a well ventilated area and wearing a good dust mask as the fine particles are do good for the lungs at all. Cutting these materials with a fine saw takes time but enables one to get quite a few pieces from the product and still have material left over.

©2017 Barry Smith - Pieces cut
©2017 Barry Smith - Leftovers for another day
Same with the drilling of holes for pegs, embellishments and earwires; and the sanding of the cut pieces - double masks required - fine fine dust.

©2017 Barry Smith - Drilled and sanded
But the end results were good to see. I haven't used buffalo horn before - but I really like its dark texture. The horn needed a lot of grinding to get the old layers of dirt and cracked horn off.

©2017 Barry Smith - Potentially 3 pair of earrings and one pendant from the knife handle
©2017 Barry Smith - Potentially 4 pendants and a pair of earrings
©2017 Barry Smith - Potentially 5 pendants and a pair of earrings
I now need to do the final grinding and polishing of the edges before assembling the pies - but that will happen over the weekend.


  1. Always fun to see your works in progress and fascinating to see what direction you go with unique raw materials. Inspiring!

  2. Hi AA - thanks for dropping into the blog and leaving your comment. Works in progress indeed - though they did turn out well. Wishing you much health and creativity in 2017. B

  3. So interesting to see your progress photos, Barry. I always love the process. I can imagine how dangerous all that fine dust could be. I can't remember seeing my grandfather using a mask when he cut or ground pearl shell but maybe he did... I'm so glad you do!


Comments are welcomed - it is good to connect with fellow travellers.