Walking Stick Art

by Peter Smitham

Fly Fishers' Republic has only once previously looked at art as a subject for its pages here. That was in a flypost mentioning Robert Bateman. Well, I'd like to take this opportunity to look at some art in these review pages.

Originally the owner of this magazine, Raif Killips, trained as a sculptor before branching into other areas of the arts. In more recent years he has returned to his roots. More particularly he has started to carve again. Looking at wildlife for his subject matter and using his carving and craft skills Raif produces hand made walking sticks and staffs for hiking and wading.

The subject of his folk art is primarily British wildlife though I hope he will come to embrace other regions. My very favourite pieces are his bird themed thumbsticks - illustrated above. The stick tops are skillfully carved and beautifully colour stained subtly capturing the life and character of his bird subjects. The stick shafts are mostly silver or brown hazel in a range of weights to suit different walkers. I know he sometimes works with other woods like holy, ash and hawthorn, so stick collectors may hold out for one of those.

His sticks are available to purchase or commision through his website.

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