Cathy and Scott got married in 1971, and to keep you from having to figure it out…they’ve been married going on 37 years. From listening to their individual comments about one another and observing the continued success that they consistently enjoy within their partnership it is obvious that this was a union made in Heaven, and so… in response to my questions about her interest and self-perception of her work, she writes:
I have always been interested in animals and birds and intrigued by carvings of any kind. As a child I created small clay figures of animals from the clay found along the lakeshore where I was raised. I met Scott when we were both seniors in high school. He was so deeply interested in history that some of it rubbed off on me. After being discharged from the service, Scott went to college to become a teacher. We both worked hard to make ends meet. Scott went to college during the day and built powder horns and polished bone and ivory for me to engrave, working most evenings and every chance he got. It was somewhat out of necessity that I taught myself to engrave horns.
After Scott graduated from college he got a teaching position in the armpit of Alaska, in an Eskimo village named Bethel. It was 500 miles west of Anchorage and the only way to get there was to fly in. Scott got a position teaching 5th grade. I got a job as a school janitor and soon worked my way up to clerk typist and eventually the head secretary. We were very productive while living there. Scott made the powder horns and my job was to engrave them and I also carved Eskimo faces, birds and seals out of walrus teeth along with beaded earrings that I would take to school and sell in the teachers lounge. It was a tough existence. We subsistence fished, mainly for silver salmon. We canned and froze the fish, quite often late into the night as we usually netted at least 100 of them at a time and we had to work at school the next day. Scott also made fur ruffs and sold furs to the Eskimos. The wind was bitter and the winters were harsh in Bethel, so everyone needed a ruff. Many of the Eskimos made their own, however a lot of people just didn’t know how, providing steady customers for the ruffs that Scott made.
Scott has been my biggest influence and has always encouraged me to try to get better and be faster and he always tries (and usually succeeds) to have several projects ready ahead of time for met to work on. I taught myself to do quillwork when we lived in Fairbanks at Scott’s insistence – he wouldn’t let me give up. We have worked well as a team and have made many quilled pieces and engraved powder horns together over the years. I truly hope these items, that from conception to their creation have brought us so much joy and helped us survive thru the years, will also continue to bring much pleasure to those who have them.
Following are several photographs of only a very few of the hundreds of powder horns and porcupine quill decorated items that Scott and Cathy have created. I had not intended to say any more, as I felt that the words written by Scott and Cathy along with these photographs were more than adequate to relay their personal philosophies and demonstrate the impact of their work upon the Contemporary Longrifle movement, however…I sent this post for them to read, checking for any mistakes, miss-spellings or changes that needed to be made and I just have to share this with you. In closing Scott wrote:
…Thank You for the nice write up, it is more than I am deserving of, now Cathy is another story, she is a Saint and has always been my salvation in time of need. To quote a country song "…and she thinks she's the lucky one…"
Thanks a bundle,
Scott, you’re more than welcome and speaking for many, I say “ Thank You” to you and Cathy, so very much for your lifelong artistic contributions to this quickly growing world of the Contemporary Longrifle and associated art forms.
You have been a major part of it!