The Citizen Potawatomi Gift Shop sells a variety of crafts and art from Native American artists. One of those craftsmen is Bergeron family descendant Sam Upton, who is a talented wood turner.
“I started woodturning when I retired about 10 years ago,” Upton said. “I started doing ink pens, then bows, platters and hollow forms, which are much more of a challenge. I like to create a bowl or hollow form that mimic the shape of Native pottery.”
His pieces are made from a variety of wood, poisonous toad skin, python skin, bullets, white tailed deer antler, water buffalo horn, natural stone, alligator jaw bone, corn cobs and burl wood.
The most challenging project he has done was with Manzanita root burl, a shrub from the Mojave Desert, which took three months to complete because it was as hard as concrete.
“I have an idea of what I want to do when I get started, but the wood tells me what it wants to do,” he explained. “The wood dictates the kind of shape it is going to be.”
Upton entered an art contest for wood turners in Houston five years ago and won both the first and second place awards. Upton moved to Shawnee two years ago to be closer to family and to utilize CPN’s health services. “Everything about CPN is wonderful,” Upton said.
Several of this Citizen Potawatomi’s refillable razors and pens are available at the CPN Gift Shop. To shop, please visit the gift shop in the CPN Cultural Heritage Center or giftshop.potawatomi.org.