This year we have been playing in the shop! We really feel that way about most of the work we do but this year we’ve been branching out to do a little more on the sculpting side. I’ve been sculpting for years and have finally put my skills to the test with our latest piece, The Show Down. It is a cowboy and Indian themed chess set made from cotton wood (for the cowboys) and black walnut (for the Indians). Just as the chess set was modified from the its origin in the Middle East to reflect the culture of Europe during the Middle Ages we have re-renovated it, telling the story of the Wild West during the and 17th, 18th and 19th century.
On the cowboys’ side we have a mayor with a tall black hat representing the king and for the queen we designed a piece we like to call “Belle Starr.” Starr was notorious in the Old West for being a woman outlaw; she would definitely be a powerful queen.
Since the Roman Catholic Church had a lot of influence in the old west, especially up and down the Rio Grande, the Bishops, decorated with lapis tones, kept their position next to the two most powerful pieces on the board.
In the place of the knights we have old west gunslingers (appointed by Star of course). For the rooks we have a couple of outpost towers and finally for the pawns we have pawns. Nobody knows what a pawn is anyway, why change it? In the Middle Ages, the pawn represented the common folk and so our pawns represent all the town’s people. Their heads are made from coral.
On the Indian’s side for the King and Queen we have the Sioux Indian Chief, Red Cloud and his wife. Red Cloud was famous for being the only Indian Chief to defeat the U.S. in a war! For bishops, we put the Indian Medicine Men in charge, dressed with lapis lazuli stone. They were often considered wise and powerful men in the Indian tribes.
Next to the Medicine Men are a couple of warriors from the Mohawk tribe. Their mohawks are made from solid copper! For the rooks we put some classic Indian tepees with solid copper smoke coming out of the top.
On the Indian side, the pawns are decorated with turquoise heads with no hats, showing that the Indians had shaved their heads to be ready for battle. They might be a little bit more intimidating than the town folks on the cowboys side.
This set took us about three times longer to do than most of the tables or other pieces that we do around the shop but it turned out to be something that blew us away once we had finished it. It is so gratifying to see something we’ve worked on finally finished and set up to only exceed what we thought it would look like.
Please leave a comment and let us know what you think! Leave us a link to any cool chess sets you have discovered. We would love to see!