July 2013
Homeplace & Community

Antler Art Fills the Void

 
  DuRhonda Lamb holds one of her “HART” Antler Creations.

God gave DuRhonda Lamb antlers.

That might seem a strange thing, but antlers were just what Lamb needed to help fill a void in her life.

For 15 years, DuRhonda Lamb had very successfully managed the music ministry of her children. The Lamb Family Violin Ensemble of Tuscaloosa, composed of "three lambs and a ram," received regional and national acclaim. The Lamb Family was in great demand. They played for many different events including inaugural festivities for Alabama Governors Bob Riley and Robert Bentley.

But, because of the demands of college, school and other obligations and interests, the four siblings decided to perform on a very limited schedule.

DuRhonda had no Lambs to shepherd.

"I had dabbled in arts and crafts for about two years previously with a friend who is an Angel Artist and enjoyed traveling and meeting people," Lamb said. "I thought arts and crafts could be something I could do to fill the void. But I didn’t really know what I could do."

 
Wes Bundy demonstrates how handy the antler backscratcher is.  

Lamb has a deep and abiding faith. She knew God would show her the way if she would just wait patiently.

The answer came when a friend showed her a pen made from a deer antler.

"It all started with a writing pen," Lamb said of her "HART" Antler Creations that "opened on the road" in January.

Lamb’s arts and crafts endeavor is biblically based: "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs for You, O God."

"That scripture is from Psalm 42:1," Lamb said. "In Old English, ‘hart’ means deer. I was inspired by the uniqueness of deer antlers and the creative ways they could be used. No two deer antlers are alike. It is exciting to find so many ways that deer antlers can be crafted."

Lamb’s "HART" Antler Creations include authentic, handcrafted roasting forks, key chains, plaques, jewelry, bottle corks, toothbrushes, letter openers, crosses and a variety of knives including those with Damascus steel blades.

"The Damascus steel blades have unique patterns and, like deer antlers, no two are alike," Lamb said. "A man recently bought one of the knives with the Damascus steel blades as a gift for his son. It will be his first knife and his dad said he wanted it to be special. A knife with a unique deer antler handle and a carbon steel blade should be very special because no two are alike so, there will never be another one like it."

Most recently, Lamb has added walking sticks and canes to "HART" Antler Creations.

"The antlers are used for the handles or knobs," she said. "We go to the woods to find the ‘sticks’ and I like the ones vines have grown around. That makes them unique."

 
  Some of the creations DuRhonda Lamb makes from antlers include jewelry, key chains, knife stands, knives, letter openers, pens and toothbrushes

Lamb’s creations range in price from $6 to $100 and are sold at arts and crafts shows across the state.

To create her art, Lamb has to have a stockpile of antlers.

Although her husband Bill and a son and daughter are deer hunters, Lamb is not.

"I can’t stand to see a deer go down," she said. "Most of the antlers for my creations come from friends and people who know about my art. I’ll even find antlers left on my doorsteps."

Lamb’s husband, laughingly, refers to her as the "lady antler hoarder" and she really doesn’t mind because she has to have antlers for her creations.

"I don’t use any kind of preservative on the antlers," she said. "I wash them, but they are as natural as can be."

Lamb continues to travel to arts and crafts shows all across the state with her friend. She has plans to build on her itinerary to include parts of Georgia and Florida.

"The shows in the small, quaint towns are as interesting as those attracting 30,000 people," she said. "No matter where we go or the size of the show, the people we meet are so interesting and have so many stories to share."

Lamb also has stories she is willing to share. The stories of an incredible musical journey, the transition from managing her children’s music ministry to a new and exciting venture into the arts, her passion now for antler art, and the blessings and joys she has received along the way.

"God did give me antlers," Lamb said. "I’m using His gift and it brings me such great joy. ‘As the hart pants for the streams of water,’ it blesses my heart."

Jaine Treadwell is a freelance writer from Brundidge.