wagons). I didn't see them as something of joy until later in life.
At that point, it was from the perspective of pure nostalgia. Sheepcamps
were a fixture throughout my childhood and early adult years...an
integral part of my family's sheep ranching operation. Until my
parents retired in the late 80s, I repaired, refurbished, and lived
in them periodically. With my mom, or brother... or alone, the
nights I spent in sheepcamps in the remote deserts and mountains
of Idaho now seem countless. It was an era of simpler times, void
of technology. By night, under the dim firelight of the sheepcamp's
kerosene lamp, I fondly remember my dear late mother teaching me
the value of reading, and how to play cards and Chinese checkers.
By day, I was completely immersed in nature, far from people, untethered
from attention robbing screens. The narrow lens of technological
fiction didn't exist in my world. It was just the elements from
the whims of Mother Nature, and the sheepcamp as my evening refuge.
as a whole left an indelible impression on my young mind, particularly
so in the preteen years. I discovered a deep sense of self as well
as awe in such mundanity as clouds drifting, water trickling. I
felt the satisfaction of silence and the indescribable feeling of
being the observer to my own awareness.
in sheepcamps today is a mental reliving of those early days...a
period that has been instrumental throughout my adult life. From
work to recreation, most of my doings reflect the skills of resourcefulness
I developed on the range. Blending this with an esthetic interest,
I affectionately refer to my work as "sheep herder engineering".
Practical yet artistic, it is creatively making do with what is
at hand, just as we did on the range...just as sheep herders have
been doing since the beginning. It was a way born from necessity
then, something of a philosophy now. Applying this to sheepcamps,
my aim is to conscientiously utilize materials in context of time
and circumstance with the end goal being a culmination of details
that give a sense of authenticity...a feel achieved having lived
the fingerprints of the lonely profession of sheep herding.
sheepcamps I grew up in and around. Photos circa late 60s
to early 70s, Copper Basin and near Craters of the Moon National
at age 10, herding on the range near Craters of the Moon
National Monument. I lived in a sheepcamp that entire summer,
with my 17 year old brother... with no adult supervision.
We were 100 miles from home, 20 minutes from the highway,
and 1.5 hours from a hospital. If one's essence could be
shaped by childhood experiences....
era. Before and after.....
a video of this camp here.
on one side, shovel on the other. Fairly standard practice
in the day. The ax is held on with loops of repurposed horse
tack leather and the shovel with a bent horseshoe found on
the range. The paint is flat, no VOC, and applied in layers
and other ways to make things look old.
coffee can, circa 1918-1933, was found nailed print side
down on the cupboard. As a memento, and to honor the herder
who installed it all those yrs ago, it is now displayed
on the inside of the door.
can tops were commonly reused for various purposes. Here,
one covers a hole. Sheep herder engineering!
lantern: The standard of the times.
A small tribute
to those who brought me into this world. Made from the byproducts
of the rebuild.
bare wood, I only use 100% natural oil, the same type used
since sheep camps have been in existance. Rather than yellowing
and peeling with time, it penetrates the wood which draws
out the natural patina and highlights the character that only
age can give. Old oil recipes on old reclaimed wood = an old