Sunday, April 5, 2009
EMORY COONS, THE GIANT BIFACE REDUCTION SEQUENCE: BY RAY HARWOOD
"As of late many knappers are creating ever larger
pieces of lithic art in the form of huge bifaces.
Emery Coons reportedly percussion bifaced a 50 inch
preform and managed a 40 inch finished neofact. I
wrote the Coon's family and requested information and
a photo by received no response.
At the California knap in this year, large the key
Many from other states, such as Coons in Oregon, are
also thinking large and obsidian suppliers are selling
more mega slabs than ever.
Named the Orcutt syndrome after an old time knapper
named Ted Orcutt, whom was known for his massive
biface work. More later..." Ray Harwood Aug. 30. 2000
Above photo: Emory Coons has excavated a huge boulder of obsidian at Glass Buttes Oregon. The piece volcanic glass is so massive.. is needed to maneuver it. Emory says that he can test the size and other attributes of the stone, while still unearthed, by the various sound emanating from the stone when hit with a steel probe. (Photo log # 1, By James Winn of California)
Emory examines the fruit of his labors. The steel pri-bar that also acts as a probe and digging stick in earlier phases of the excavation stands in the right side of the pit. Emory trims the boulder and gives the lithic material an assay flake test with a massive copper billet. Photo log # 2, By James Winn of California)
Using natural striking platforms, Emory begins the lithic reduction sequence. With the exception of the tool types used by modern knappers, this sequence has been utilized for many thousands of years, and Ted Orcutt, the Karock knapper may have employed the same methods and tools as Emory Coons. (Photo log # 3, By James Winn of California)
Emory continues the systematic reduction sequence with direct percussion, using the billet like a maul. To make these giant blades Emory Coons digs a ditch and makes sure there are no rocks left in there that can cause vibration. The 30 lbs billet to the rock then as it gets smaller the 18 lbs billet then the 9 lbs, then, use a 1 inch solid or copper cap to build a lot of platforms to take massive flakes. The first stages involves alternate flaking, driving massive spalls off with a 9 pound copper Billet. (Photo log # 4, By James Winn of California)
Emory has the massive preform out of the excavation pit and onto leevel ground, here he continues the systematic reduction sequence with direct percussion. The massive spalls that are being removed with act as preforms for other large bifaces. The mass is now both a core and a preform. (Photo log #5, By James Winn of California)
Here Emory has swithed billets and and is now bifacing the preform. Note that he uses his intire leg as support. (Photo log #6, By James Winn of California)
Emory removes a massive thinning flake. The biface is beginning to take shape. Note the massive alternate flake configuration on the margin. (Photo log #7, By James Winn of California)
Giant Biface sequence complete.(Photo log #8, By James Winn of California)
Emory Coons was born in Burns Oregon in 1971 and started flintknapping at the age of five, 33 years ago. He has resided in Burns most of his life and attended Burns Union High School winning awards in the crafts department for jewlery two different years. He has been perfecting his skills as a artist ever since, flintknapping, silversmith, lapidary and teaching his craft to others. He has been on OPB on The Caveman at Glass Buttes and Channel 2 News Boise Idaho about the Nyssa rock and gem show multiple times. Several news paper articles have been written on his art from gem and mineral shows he has attended in Nyssa Oregon, Burns Oregon, Madras Oregon, The Dalles Oregon, Pendleton Oregon, Mission Oregon, Salem Oregon and the Oregonian in Portland Oregon and Golden Dale Washington. The Pendleton Mission papers had a mention for round-up as well as the blades he chipped were built into the Umatilla Veterans’ Memorial. He has taught classes in flintknapping at Indian Lake for the Umatilla tribe four years also the wild horse atl-atl demonstration as well as Pipestone Creek Alberta Canada and in Medicine Hat British Colombia Canada for the Jr. Forest Wardens, at Northern Lights out of Slocan Canada twice, also demonstrated flintknapping along the Oregon Wagon Train in 1993, Baker interruptive center, and Windows to the Past for the BLM and Forest Service. Then there's knapp-ins (arrowhead makers conventions) at Glass Buttes Oregon, Ed Thomas Golden Dale Washington knap-in, Richardson’s rock ranch knap-in and the Brad Boughman- Jim Hopper Knapp-in on the upper North Umqua some of the worlds best knappers come to these events to show there skills and teach. Emory attends gem and mineral shows like the Confederated show in Onterio, Nyssa Thunder Egg Days, Prineville Oregon, Hines Oregon Obsidian Days show his father started and the Madras, Oregon gem and mineral show. At these shows he can find most of the exotic materials from other countries, like fire opal from Australia, Brazilian agate, Condor agate from Central America, or crystals, Idaho star garnets and other gems to make arrowheads or jewlery out of. The Fire Obsidian is one of his favorites to find and work. His work can be seen at Boise University (display), Omsi (display), Great Basin Art in Prairie City, Oards 'War Hawk'(tomahawk heads assembled by Great Basin Art), The Edge Company magazine (War Hawks), or some of the local Burns stores. Most of his work has been sought after by private collectors and as gifts. His friend in The Dalles, Jason Hinkle, has oregonthundreggs.com and has put a web page up for Coons Lapidary with pictures and contact information for the selling of his art.