Engraved Boab Nuts

 

I’m so excited to launch these beautifully engraved Boab nuts. They have arrived directly from the town of Kununurra in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and have been beautifully and skilfully engraved with intricate designs by the indigenous artists of the area. They make unique and stunning decorative pieces for your home’s interior or exterior.

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Due to the seasonal nature of the Boab Nuts and the remote geographical location of the trees these pieces of art are limited in number.

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to visit the Kimberley for a 6 day horse ride. My first port of call was the township of Kununurra, and it was there that I first laid eyes on this striking and unusual looking tree and its fruit, the Boab nut.

While wandering the streets of Kununurra on my first afternoon, I was lucky enough to have met artist Yvonne Newry who showed me two of her beautifully engraved Boab nuts that she happened to have with her at the time, and I was instantly taken with their beauty. Its this meeting with Yvonne that became the impetus for selling these beautiful works of art here in my shop.

The Kimberley region of Western Australia is a vast and remote land, so vast it is three times larger than England, and is one of only two areas of Australia where the majestic and enormous bottle shaped Boab tree exists. They are also to be found in the Victoria river area of the Northern Territory.

Boab trees have been used for tens of thousands of years by the Aboriginal people as a form of shelter and the nuts themselves as a food source, a medicine and as a percussion instrument in their corroborees.

The Boab tree is now as synonymous with the Kimberley region as the art of carving or engraving is to the Aboriginal people, and the Boab nuts give the people of this land another vessel for their artistic talent in both carving and painting, with many artists specialising in this art form.

Vital to the finished product is the picking of the nuts. They are either picked from the tree or gathered off the ground, in both cases they must first dry on the trees. Collection is during the months of  June – August when they have a low water content and the inside of the nut has decreased in size. Collecting the nuts can in itself be an important social occasion and may be part of  ‘womens business’ and ‘mens business’.

Before they are able to engrave the nuts the outside fur coating that surrounds it must be taken off with either sand paper or a scrubbing brush and it is then that the dark brown colour of the nut is revealed.  The depth of the colour depends on the mineral content of the soil where the nut was collected, some nuts may be red or even almost black in colour.

The tools used by the indigenous artists to engrave the nuts include razor blades, packet knives, sharpened table knives, bits of tin can as well as the more formal engraving tools. And the time spent engraving depends very much on the size of the nut and complexity and intricacy of the design.

The indigenous artists of Australia are renowned for their enormous artistic talent and when engraving the Boab nuts they will often depict all manner of flora and fauna as well as their totems such as kangaroos, crocodiles, goannas, turtles, birds, echidnas and other native animals.