posted on November 08, 2012 14:42
BTR Master Scorer puts modern spin on ancient tribal art
By Tim H. Martin
The ancient Native Americans designed very few motifs featuring the white-tailed deer, certainly not of monster-racked bucks, because their primary focus was meat, not antlers.
Bill Leon is a Native American historian, archeological expert and flint knapping guru. He also happens to be a Buckmasters Trophy Records master scorer.
He and his wife Sharon are incredibly talented gourd designers, as well. When they decided to create a design honoring both tribal art and a big-antlered white-tailed buck, they had a hard time finding references, so Bill designed his own interpretation.
He came up with a symmetrical set of 7x7 typical antlers with drop tines and incorporated tribal elements into his design, creating what an antler-loving Indian might have painted.
The moment I saw Bill's design, I fell in love with it, and thought it was one of the coolest deer motifs I'd ever seen. That was three years ago when Bill and Sharon brought their first gourd to our annual Buckmasters Expo.
They could tell I really liked it, probably since I was practically drooling on it, and in 2011, I received a very special gift. When Bill and Sharon arrived at the 2010 Expo, they'd made one just for me!
Sharon, having the steadier hand, used a wood-burning tool to etch the outlines, and Bill used paints, stains and Sharpie markers to color the gourd.
Bill even flint knapped the tiny arrowhead for the homemade arrow, using sinew to attach it and the turkey feather fletching to the bamboo shaft.
The Leons have since put a copyright on their design, and in 2011, when I was designing Rack Magazine, I requested Bill's giant whitetail motif to use on our BTR Poster Bucks page.
Bill might not be a Native American, but his artwork, craftsmanship and love of flint knapping certainly is a wonderful tribute to their ancient culture.
To me, his modernized whitetail tribal design is big medicine.