LOREN P. PINSKI
Wild Goose Island Carving Studio
John L. Clarke: Repairing Clarke and Racine Carvings & a Grizzly Bear Pattern



I have been given the opportunity to repair a couple of Clarke carvings and an Albert Racine carving. I know there is debate in the art world concerning the impact on a piece's value if it is repaired but clearly if a piece is seen as a family heirloom, repairing it is well worth the effort. Here are a couple of before and after pictures.


This bear is very interesting. It is carved from two glued up pieces of Cottonwood Bark - this is the only Clarke carving I have seen made from Cottonwood Bark. It is a very fragile medium which is why part of the head and an ear had been broken off. I had some bark and was able to replace the lost ear and lower part of the head and neck. To protect the wood I wiped it down with some mineral oil. On the bottom of the carving is John's carved name and written in pencil is, "12-20-35 6:35AM"




After being repaired


This Goat was sent to be to be repaired. It was purchased in the 40's or 50's and is considered a family heirloom. Part of the head was lost and the remaining horn was broken. I took some Cottonwood and repaired the horn and side of the goat's head.



After being repaired



This is a Buffalo carved by Albert Racine (Running Weasel) in 1969. Both horns and the tail were broken. Here are before and after shots of the repair. Click here to see more Racine carvings



Several years ago while visiting Glacier Park, I dropped into The John L. Clarke Museum and Western Ary Gallery. Being a wood carver, I was amazed at his work. As a bird carver, there are scores of books on the decoy carvers from the early 20th century - I have seen no information on wildlife carvers from that era. - too bad - I considered purchasing an original carving but after seeing the price, I ended up purchasing a bronze reproduction.

John L. Clarke John L. Clarke



John L. Clarke John L. Clarke



As a woodcarver, I naturally wanted to carve one of these bears. From my bronze bear, I made this pattern and carved several bears. Feel free to down load the picture, and have fun.



John L. Clarke



The original carving is 6" long. 3 3/4 inches high. 1 3/4 inches wide.



As a carver, I use woods such as Basswood, Jelutong, and Tupelo. While working in Milwaukie, John was able to use such wood as Basswood, Walnut, Maple, Poplar, Oak, Mahagony and other wood that would be used to create beautiful church alters. When he moved to Midvale (East Glacier Park) he began carving with Cottonwood. Along the banks of Cut Bank Creek, The Milk River, and the Two Medicine River were large stands of Cottonwood trees. John would make arrangements for a specific tree to be cut and milled; once it dried, he would create one of his carvings. Of course, some carvings demanded the beautiful grain pattern of walnut, mahogany and/or maple - at that point he would place special orders.



Here are pictures of a few more of John's small carvings. One of these days I will develop patterns and put them on this page. John's mountain goat carvings would become the model for the emblem of the Great Northern Railroad and his bear carvings were said to be so realistic that you could smell them.

John L. Clarke John L. Clarke

John L. Clarke John L. Clarke



Go back to the Home Page John and his carvings page 1 John and his carvings page 2 More of John’s art. page 3

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