Take a Look at a Musk Ox Farm

January 8, 2021

Nestled in the Matanuska Valley just north of Palmer, Alaska, you’ll find a sprawling, 75-acre Musk Ox Farm – a project steeped in uniqueness and intrigue. A nonprofit organization, it was founded in the 1950s by John Teal Jr., an anthropologist and arctic explorer. Teal’s vision to domesticate musk oxen within the regions they were indigenous was not only an attempt to demonstrate that farming a geographically appropriate animal was a more sustainable agricultural practice, but could also boost local economies by providing Alaskan artisans the materials necessary to make knitted goods through harvesting the animals’ [qiviut] underwool.

 

 

The qiviut we offer here is handknitted into scarves and caps by the Eskimo women of the Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers’ Co-operative in Alaska.

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Qiviut Headwear

 

 

Lord of the Whip

June 26, 2020

Giovanni Celeste, a whip enthusiast from Italy, has created this remarkable video on David Morgan and the Indy Whip.  We hope you enjoy it.

 

Covid-19 Update

April 14, 2020

With the current COVID-19 disruptions, we are operating with minimal staffing but still able to process and ship most online, phone and mail orders within one to two business days.  We follow CDC and Washington state suggested best practices, and are fortunate to have a work environment that is easily cleaned with good social distancing. Our retail store in Bothell, Washington is closed until Washington state allows us to re-open.

The worldwide pandemic has affected our ability to keep some products in stock.  This past week we finally received a large shipment of Akubra hats, some of which were originally expected back in January.  Delayed by global shipping disruptions, we were very pleased to have these hats!  We still have a few outages, awaiting our next shipments, but most styles are well stocked, including the Kiandra.

Spring is here, and with it Panama hat season.  Unfortunately our spring order has been delayed by the COVID-19 closures and we are out of stock of some sizes, in particular of our Darwin Panama, a customer favorite.  We hope to receive these hats mid-May.  Orders can be placed now – we will keep you updated if further delays occur and won’t charge your credit card until we ship.  If you have immediate need of a Panama or straw hat, please consider our Gambler Panama, the Vented Panama and Featherweight Panama by Mayser, and Akubra’s Hemp Balmoral.

We thank our vendors, many like us small, family-owned businesses, for adapting to these unprecedented times. And we thank you, our customers, for your patience and understanding. We hope life gets back to normal soon.

 

 

News from Akubra

September 13, 2019

For those who would like to know more about Akubra, we’ve uploaded their latest newsletter for you to read. Topics include: solar panels and LED lighting added to the facility; Pope Francis receives an Akubra, and Mick Fanning, three time world champion surfer drops in.

Read the newsletter here. A pdf will open in your browser.

 

 

Visit Our Pinterest Page

July 11, 2019

We are proud of our Akubra hats. Their quality is top notch and with good care, an Akubra will last for years.

Our customers seem to agree. When you purchase an item from David Morgan, you are given the chance to make a review. You can also post a photograph of yourself. Hands down, the largest number of photographs we get are of customers wearing their Akubra. And, over the years, we’ve collected many images.

We’ve posted these images on our Pinterest page. Feel free to take a look.

Do you have a picture you’d like to share? Let us know and we’ll post it for you.

 

 

Mayser Hats

May 20, 2019

Mayser Hats was established over 200 years ago in Ulm, Germany. Leonhard Mayser’s success came early with his desire to produce quality men’s hats. Over the next two centuries, Mayser has expanded into other industrial areas, but their motto remains as “Innovation by Tradition.” Mayser uses traditional methods with modern techniques. This allows them to produce high quality hats yet remain on the front edge of fashion.

 

Featherweight Panama

 

Vented Panama Fedora

 

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Mayser Hats

 

 

The Iconic Crocodile Dundee Hat

January 18, 2019

Crocodile Dundee, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

 

Although three decades have gone by, Crocodile Dundee is still a well-loved movie. When mentioning the name, most people will immediately say, “That’s a knife!” Crocodile Dundee was a tremendous hit and spawned two sequels.

It may be years later, but we still get customers who call and ask if they can get “The Crocodile Dundee hat.” Paul Hogan, who portrayed Crocodile Dundee wore the black Down Under, made by Akubra. It was a popular hat for many years, but Akubra discontinued it a few years ago.

The band he wore was a crocodile hat band, and we offer a farm-raised crocodile hat band with or without teeth. It can be added to almost any hat.

If you want to have a Crocodile Dundee hat, you can make your own using a black Snowy River. Although the Snowy River has a pinched telescope crown, and the Down Under had a round telescope crown, the look is similar. In fact, one of our customers developed his own system for transforming a Snowy River into a Down Under.

 

Snowy River with Croc Band

Snowy River in Black with Croc Band — front

 

Akubra does offer their own version of the Snowy River with a Crocodile band called, The Croc. But US Fish & Wildlife regulations covering crocodile are stringent and we cannot effectively import it.

 

 

Artist Profiles: Alma Nungarrayi Granites

June 8, 2018

Our Star Dreaming jewelry is based on the artwork by Alma Nungarrayi Granites, whose skin name is Nungarrayi. There are many paintings on star dreaming because this is important for the Nungarrayi skin group.

Alma learned the dreaming from her father, Paddy Japaljarri Sims, who taught her all of the songs and ceremony for “Seven Sisters Dreaming” and “Milky Way Dreaming.” She started painting in 1987 and an active member of  the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation. Her work was featured in many national and international exhibitions.

Star Dreaming Pendant

 

The painting that is the basis for the Star Dreaming jewelry tells of the journey of Japaljarri and Jungarrayi men who traveled from Kurlurngalinypa to Lake Mackay on the West Australian border. The seven stars represent the seven ancestral Napaljarri sisters. We call them the Pleides star cluster.

Along the way they performed ‘kurdiji’ (initiation ceremonies) for young men. Napaljarri and Nungarrayi women also danced for the ‘kurdiji’. In contemporary Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, particular sites and other elements.
During the performance of this ceremony the men wear ‘jinjirla’ (white feather headdresses) on either side of their heads. They also wear wooden carvings of stars which are also laid out on the ground as part of the sand paintings produced for business. ‘Ngalyipi’ (snake vine), is often depicted as long curved lines and is used to tie ‘witi’ (ceremonial spears) vertically to the shins of the dancing initiates. These ‘witi’ are typically shown as long, straight lines and the ‘yanjirlpirri’ (stars) are usually depicted as white circles or roundels.

Alma passed away in 2017, the mother of four with many grandchildren.

 

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Star Dreaming Pendant

Occulture

 

 

 

What is the Dreamtime?

May 18, 2018

We can generally say that The Dreamtime is a creation story of the Australian Aborigines. There are over 400 Aboriginal groups in Australia, each with their own beliefs, languages and practices, so one comprehensive description of the Dreamtime is impossible. The Aborigines believe that in the beginning, the land they occupied did not exist. The Aboriginals’ ancestors created the world during The Dreamtime, which is outside of our concept of time. And since it is outside of time, it is always happening and will always happen. The Ancestors vary depending on the Aboriginal tribe. Some believe the Ancestors were animal spirits while others think of them as snakes.

The Dreamtime describes how humans were created and lays down the laws, called Jukurrpa, for people to follow. These laws included how people were to behave to one another, the customs of food supply and distribution, the rituals of initiation, the ceremonies of death which are required to be performed so that the spirit of the dead travels peacefully to his or her spirit-place, and the laws of marriage.

Part of the tradition says that Ancestral Beings created powerful locations that become part of the landscape and that these reflect the power and knowledge of those Ancestors in the locations. Those locations are linked to ceremonies and performances which are tied to family groups. All of that information and knowledge becomes part of an artist’s painting when they’re making reference to their traditional country.

Like many ancient cultures, there is little distinction in Aboriginal culture between the material and the spiritual world. We in the West look at land as utilitarian, while Aboriginal cultures, like many archaic cultures, looks at land as wedded to the spiritual world. There are special places where spirits reside. Every action a human makes has repercussions both in the spiritual and material world, so it is in each person’s best interest to follow the laws and cultural knowledge expressed in The Dreamtime. Expressions of The Dreamtime can take on many forms, either through dance, orally spoken stories, music and visual arts. The traditions and ideas of The Dreamtime extend back over 10,000 years and more.

A newer chapter in The Dreamtime expression is the desert painting art movement that began in 1971 in Papunya, a town in the Western Desert about 150 miles from Alice Springs. A school art teacher, Geoffrey Bardon, undertook the painting of a school wall by his students. The older men soon took an interest and were encouraged to take over. The resulting mural became known as Honey Ant Dreaming, a traditional design. This sparked a great interest in painting and in 1972, the artists established their own company, Papunya, entirely owned and directed by Aboriginal people — mainly the Luritja/Pintupi language groups. Global recognition of these extraordinary painters soon followed.

Within a few years many aboriginal artists were painting large abstract canvases with traditional and modern designs, often conveying stories and beliefs from The Dreamtime. The designs often incorporated dots, which hearken back to the sand paintings constructed on the earth around which dancers and singers would perform ceremonies. The traditional sand paintings would be composed of circles, each constructed by hand, of a papier-mache like mixture of pulverized plant and animal material with natural pigments. Today there are several art centers scattered around the Western Desert hosting hundreds of artists. Modern acrylics are often used and give the paintings a more colorful, free-flowing nature. Yet the essence of The Dreamtime is still a focus, and painting has become an important technique for teaching children the knowledge and beliefs of their ancestors.

We invite you to explore a few Dreamtime stories through the Occulture jewelry we offer. Created by designer Lisa Engeman, Occulture is a collaboration with Australian indigenous artisans transferring ancient stories and knowledge into contemporary statement jewelry that celebrates and strengthens the songline of culture, knowledge, artists and community. The photoanodized aluminum jewelry with sterling silver fittings is handcrafted in Australia using cutting edge technology. All artwork featured in the Occulture jewelry is licensed and royalties are paid directly to the individual artist.

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Occulture