Native Symbols and the Flat Chumash Stone© written by KC Moore copyright 2010
The Chumash Stone© is a construct of Larry Carnes, master potter in Ojai, CA. It resembles the product of nature and is adorned with a sacred symbol of the Chumash Indian tribe. Larry alone has been given permission to copy their symbols on his work. In return, he shares profits back to the tribe.
The stone is formed on the potter’s wheel and within it is one, two, or three marble sized, hand-made beads. Each stone has a song within caused by the bead(s) when moved. The original version of the Chumash Stone© was a natural, rounded form but Larry has now introduced a flat version. The song of the flat stone differs because the hollow center reverberates at a different frequency. Approximately 1 in every 400 Chumash Stones© does not contain the stone within….they are very rare and their song is one of silence.
The symbols themselves are of particular interest as they convey concepts, some of which are universal. The Chumash Indians have a colorful but elusive history. Their traditions tell of a journey over water so many of their symbols are of animals such as whales, dolphins and turtles.
Some of the understanding is obvious but I asked about a few specific symbols and got the following response. “The frog is a symbol of fertility and good life in the Chumash realm of thinking.” Larry states, “Usually the star burst is a sun symbol, the swirl means everlasting life or the circle of life, a very good sign. In some societies it means forever love….it is funny that this is a symbol that was used all over the world by early man.”
The large center image at left is the Thunderbird, a symbol of power, a design that was not used lightly. The pictured piece was shown recently at the Fe Gallery in Sacramento where Larry’s work can be found in addition to his studio in the artist community of Ojai, CA.