Antler artist creates chandeliers
Q: What do we have that Jackson Hole, Wyo. no longer has?
A: Antler artist, Paul Allen, who came to Nevada nearly a year ago to find a friendlier, slower pace.
He says he’s glad to be here.
“No kidding, the people here are so friendly,” he said. “I just fell in love with it when I first saw the area.”
Allen, 37, who is originally from Pennsylvania, lived in Jackson Hole off and on for 15 years before coming here. There, his business got its start.
“Five years ago, I got an order for 15 elkhorn barstools,” he said, adding that one barstool runs $1,750. From then on, he has been inundated with orders.
“I do it full time now,” he said. “I can’t keep up. At this point I have a backlog of projects.”
How does anyone get started creating with antlers?
“I used to make knife handles out of them when I was a kid,” he said. “I guess it was just a natural progression to make bigger things.”
For the most part, Allen uses antlers that have been naturally shed to make his custom deer, elk and moose antler furniture and light fixtures.
“I buy from people all over – from Wyoming, Idaho – anywhere that shed antlers can be found.”
Each spring, male ungulates (hooved animals) shed the antlers they have carried around since the previous spring. Almost immediately, their new antlers begin to grow and the resulting antlers are bigger than the year before.
“Sometimes I do use antlers from animals that have been hunted, but the majority of what I use is from naturally shed antlers. I have lots of people who go into the hills to gather them for me. Sometimes they pack in on horseback for days.”
His custom light fixtures range in price from a deer horn candelabra for $65 to a two-tier elk chandelier for $7,200.
“The two-tier has 17 horns and 17 lights,” he said. “It weighs around 160 pounds, and is strong like steel. I use screws, lags, epoxy and steel screen to hold it all together. You could drop it and it wouldn’t break.”
The moose horn chandeliers run $2,400 for a small one and $2,800 for large.
“The main expense I have is in buying the antlers from my suppliers,” he said. “It’s not like there’s an endless supply of shed antlers out there at any one time. You’ll find my prices are half of what my competition charges, though.” He added that he will, under some situations, take payments for more expensive items.
Allen has sold to customers like Harrison Ford, Hugh Hefner and Bill Murray. The Incredible Hulk (body builder Lou Ferrigno) sat in one of his chairs.
“Didn’t break,” he said.
Allen will also be glad to create a custom design for anyone who brings in their own antlers.
“If you can bring in the horns, I can make something for you,” he said.
He is happy to come to your home to measure for a chandelier, wall sconce or whatever you are interested in.
Allen is formerly a rodeo clown (they call themselves bullfighters), and says that is what initially brought him out west from Pennsylvania.
“It’s a rough life,” he said. “I loved it, but you can’t do that forever.”
Last year he donated two barstools and a chandelier to a benefit for the National Rodeo Finals bullfighters’ crisis fund.
“These guys get injured a lot and you can imagine how hard it is to get insurance,” Allen said.
He displayed his antler creations at the Candy Dance last year and may participate in one of the Minden street fairs this summer.
Allen works out of his home in Ruhenstroth and can be reached at 265-4925 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.