Featured Philip Thorn, Thorn Arts, British Columbia

Discussion in 'Tribal Art' started by iPacific, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. iPacific

    iPacific New Member

    Does anyone know about Philip Thorn, first nation artist who also made reproductions of his art under Thorn Arts? I remember seeing items from Thorn Arts Ltd, Nanaimo, BC. in the 1970s for sale. He signed some of the reproductions and they seem pretty good, even if for the tourist trade. Seems some were labeled Haida, Kwakiutl, Inuit ... 1971-philip-thorn-native-arts.jpg 1972 Philip Thorn Mask.jpg 1974 thorn mask.jpg philip-thorn-arts-spirit-doctors.jpg
     
  2. i need help

    i need help Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the Forum, iPacific! :)
    I have alerted @komokwa to this question in an older post. I will delete that and you can start fresh here. When he’s online, I’m sure he can help you.
     
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  3. silverthwait

    silverthwait Well-Known Member

    Is that last fellow an Inuit Foo Dog? :)
     
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  4. iPacific

    iPacific New Member

    The Thorn Arts gold foil label says, "Spirit doctor's charm sea monster "Wasco" carrying two whales." I think it might also be called a sea wolf in Haida art. Just looking at it, reminds me of an orca whale eating porpoises.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
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  5. silverthwait

    silverthwait Well-Known Member

    iPacific...may I suggest that it is lunchtime?
     
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  6. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    Philip Thorn was the name used on a line of cast products, made by "Thorn Arts," a company founded by Philip Thornburg. Many of the cast items were signed with a black marker, "Philip Thorn" lending to the belief that they were wood. However, he was not native, and there are no wood carvings available under that name, though an internet search will reveal a great many listings for "wood carvings" by Philip Thorn.

    The labels can be a bit deceptive, but if read literally, do not say that the items are carved or made by a native, but simply that they represent a Kwakiutl or other style item.

    Stylistically, in native terms, as replicas they are not terrible, but are not great either. But if you like them, I'm sure you'd enjoy the many galleries, and museums; and coffee-table books featuring art of the Northwest Coast Native American and First Nations peoples.
    (And welcome to the forum, iPacific!)
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  7. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    And yes, Wasco = Sea Wolf. Some representations might look a bit like an orca or killer-whale, but with legs. Quite similar to a sea-bear, but the sea-wolf would have a long curly tail, as seen here; lacking in a sea-bear.
     
  8. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    Thanks Hunting !!!
    but Steve got here 1st and I can only concur with what he's said...& just add on a personal note that I've always found Thorn works to be more detailed and thoughtful than others of that ilk , respecting the designs of authentic Northwest Coast 1st Nations carvings.
    Unfortunately .... that's the reason many are confused with genuine works of art !

    A true double edged sword !!!
     
  9. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    I'd agree with "detailed and thoughtful;" and they do make an attractive display, more accurately reflecting the NW Coast style than do many other cast items. They can be both an easy introduction to that art form, and educational in terms of distinguishing castings from carvings - that can be harder than one might think.
     
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  10. iPacific

    iPacific New Member

    thornburg label.jpg PhilipThornArgilite.jpg Great information about Philip Thornburg. I also see for sale designs made of Argillite like this "Haida Totem." Argillite is a black stone and can be carved, but these, again, probably cast stone.
    Currently listed on eBay for $295 which seems high for a replica.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  11. Jivvy

    Jivvy the research is my favorite

    Seems high for something with such a nasty crack (wing).
     
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  12. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    Yes, the price mentioned is silly, based on the erroneous opinion that it is argillite....
    A good illustration of the futility in researching items based on ebay listings; sellers are often wrong.
    The label shown also illustrates several important ideas: "a design from authentic motifs" does not mean "designed by a native."
    "Handcrafted" does not mean "hand-carved."
    Most native-style items which have the description "handcrafted" are actually just poured into the molds by hand; or have details applied by hand after the casting process.
    One interesting thing about the Thornburg items is that they use a variety of materials; cast resin; and a plastic compound similar to that used in blow-molds; and also plaster-like materials.
    Most casting firms (Boma - resin, Wolf Enterprises - plaster come to mind) have each used a single medium through the years.
     
  13. MahlonBlaine

    MahlonBlaine New Member

    I have a “wall of faces” I’m trying to fill with masks, etc. I picked up the middle grinning mask for $100 off eBay. Thank you for the information presented here. I would have liked to get something real, but the prices for the really good pieces are just out of my range.
     
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  14. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    Welcome to Antiquers, @MahlonBlaine -- There is a lot of information here, and you'll enjoy it!
     
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  15. i need help

    i need help Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the Forum, Mahlon! :)
     
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  16. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes Well-Known Member

    Welcome. I understand why you got these, they are visually pleasant. Many, like myself, had to start off with simulations, which eventually you might be able to purchase real as you acquire more knowledge. Bring your stuff here for an evaluation before you buy. That's what I started to do. The kind people on this site are very helpful.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019 at 11:04 AM
  17. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    Well, if you'd have saved that C note.... & saved up a couple more , you could be on your way to getting, at least an authentic NWC mask....that doesn't have to be " a really good one ", for starters.

    but , yes...the really good ones are expensive.....because they are " the really good ones ! "

    P1010001.JPG
     
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  18. MahlonBlaine

    MahlonBlaine New Member

    Well since I’m trying to fill a wall with faces, a couple more c-notes will go a long way towards helping cover the wall. I’ll post a picture after I get a few more up.
     
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  19. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    well, maybe , yes...but what u bought was never $100 to begin with.....:sorry::sorry::(
     
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  20. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    i need help likes this.
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