Shiloh Prairie - A feature article on a Shiloh Buffalo Rifle in Hand Carved Display


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Artisans of the Valley
Feature Article on a hand carved buffalo scene featuring a custom Shiloh Sharps Rifle.

Artisans of the Valley, based in Pennington, NJ, is an exclusive custom furniture, cabinetry, carving, and restoration shop. These craftsmen are the last of the traditional apprenticeship method of passing on the skills of furniture design, joynery, carving, and finishing. We offer our custom furniture by commission, and we hand sign and date each piece upon completion.

For over 35 years Master Craftsman Stanley D. Saperstein has perfected his skills and in the process passed these skills to his son Eric. Eric has now taken the reins of the business, studio, and the title of Master Craftsman.

Artisans offers heirloom quality hand rubbed shellac and tung oil finishes as well as hand painted options on any of our pieces. In addition, modern finishes are available through our affiliates including the full spectrum of lacquers, acrylics, and urethanes.

Artisans of the Valley is the last of the true conservation studios in New Jersey, providing museum quality restorations, refinishing, repair, and preservation services. Artisans will evaluate your antiques and collectables to determine the best options for your cherished possessions. Artisans is one of the few remaining restoration studios that can handle restoring a true shellac finish and provide the skills necessary to replace or restore damaged ball and claw feet, detailed carvings, and veneer.

Bent on educating our clients, Artisans offers a tactical theory on restoration entitled “The Philosophy of Restoration.” This article outlines the concepts associated with restoration, and helps dispense the myth surrounding antiques and their care. Artisans restoration services are not limited to furniture; we handles military artifacts such as firearms, swords, and leather goods. We are the only conservation studio restoring antique and collectable chess sets; bragging rights include several the famous Jaques of London first 300 Staunton series sets.

Artisans provides services for commissions, restoration, carving, and design to residential & commercial clients, design firms, and architects. Please contact us to discuss the specifics of your project.

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Shiloh Prairie - A feature article on a Shiloh Buffalo Rifle in Hand Carved Display

  1. 1. Shiloh Prairie This project has been a LONG time in progress. Conception occurred in 1995 when Eric commissioned a custom made 1874 Sharps, by Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing of Big Timber, Montana. With a wait of over four years, he almost forgot about the piece. When it finally arrived, right around the turn of the millennium, Eric decided that this work of art really should be on display, but having a home remodel in progress the rifle was stashed away in the safe. The challenge was to design a display panel worthy of the hand crafted buffalo rifle. After quite a bit of contemplation, give or take about two years, he decided to lay out a buffalo prairie scene, insetting the rifle into the horizon. Now the decision was made, so Eric in character jumped right into the pattern development and carving somewhere around mid-2002. Just to point out the small gap in the timeline, in case you haven’t noticed it’s 2008, the end of 2008! Artisans of the Valley re-established in 2001 under Eric’s management, began to gain momentum. The ever expanding website, extended business to business relationships, feature articles and publicity, all played a roll with a consistent referral system. Artisans engulfed most of Eric’s time so the panel sat, receiving moments of attention as the business leash allowed, none really. Eric’s profile “Master of the Shop” in Princeton Magazine, by Erin Murphy, October of 2007, featured the panel as a work in progress, in doing so it gave a bit of an incentive to get things in gear. Intertwined with a series of gothic commissions, ongoing restorations, and other projects, Eric finally hit a point where the determination to complete this work of art exceeded time limitations. (A “round-to-it” was issued!) The fine detail is burned for clean lines, delicate grass, fur and texture, and for shadows. The scene is tinted with acrylic water colors, providing a natural spectrum of tones and shades. The frame is solid walnut, featuring a rope carving and natural tung oil finish. The rifle is mounted on two wood pegs, and will be secured with metal straps. The panoramic scene for this project was derived from several designs created by renowned wildlife and pattern artist Lora S. Irish. We should note that many of Artisans carving projects are based on Lora’s ability to draw! So as it stands, the fourth quarter of 2008 is upon us. The Shiloh rifle is now proudly displayed in this deep relief basswood scene, “Shiloh Prairie.” This piece is only the second formally titled panel, the first “Whitetail Sunrize” remains in the private collection of outdoorsman and musician Ted Nugent. The title of this work originates from the Shiloh rifle, spanning the prairie scene. So what will the future of Eric’s wildlife carvings bring? We intend to title more pieces, and we plan to make sure they gain notoriety in the worldwide art market! Keep checking back on our website and our newsletters for updates on our progress. This feature portfolio provides a variety of images profiling the process of creating a piece of this nature. Artisans can provide custom design and carving services to create original carvings as stand alone artwork, ornamentation for furniture & architecture, or for use as plaques, displays, or awards. Article By Eric M. Saperstein Artisans of the Valley 103 Corrine Drive Pennington, NJ 08534 609-637-0450 website: Visit for carving patterns by Lora S. Irish
  2. 2. Shiloh Prairie Pattern Layout, Outline, & Initial Background Removal
  3. 3. Shiloh Prairie Initial Background Removal
  4. 4. Shiloh Prairie Detail Carving & Burning and Initial Frame Setup Working Photos of Eric by Greg Pallente ©2007 North Jersey Media Group
  5. 5. Shiloh Prairie Painting & Final Detail
  6. 6. Shiloh Prairie Painting & Final Detail Hand Crafted Custom Woodworking Original Design & Period Reproduction Furniture Woodcarving & Sculpture Antique Restoration & Conservation Architectural Elements Onsite Touch-up & Repair Furniture Maintenance Products Our studio hours are by appointment. Please call ahead! Office Address: 60 Bakun Way Ewing, NJ 08638 Shop Address: 103 Corrine Drive Pennington, NJ 08534 Office: 609-637-0450 Shop: 609-737-7170 Fax: 609-637-0452 Cell: 609-658-2955 Email: