Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Treasure Found: Winston's Balloon Airlift Eagle Hunt


When the news finally came in that "The Eagle Has Landed" that's code for Winston's balloon airlift eagle treasure has been found. It was a dreamlike feeling to say the least because Winston's experiment actually worked. When asked why he did it Winston replied "The movement I was thinking about when I launched the Eagle was called Random Acts of Kindness. That was my reasoning behind a different type of delivery of the act. A balloon launch for whomever found it. Then I was not singled out for giving to anyone charity or person. My act was open to the world or at least someone in the United States, Mexico or Canada."

Original Takeoff Of Eagle in
Valley of Fire State Park, NV on 9-24-2015

Pictures of Original Eagle Airlift from Nevada
watch the video on youtube of
Winston's Airlift Eagle Head Treasure Hunt

It was found high in the White Mountains of NM at the
end of the Argentina Canyon Trail.
It was found 703 miles away from it's takeoff spot in Nevada. Chuck Oliver (the finder) notified Winston via Email he had found the carving in a capsule while riding his horse along the Billy the Kid Trail.  Chuck sent Winston a photo of the carving and the COA as you will see further down this post.  Read Chuck’s personal account of the treasure recovery below.
"To: John Winston
We just got back home here in North Idaho, so that's why haven't gotten right back to ya.  We had googled the launch and watched it.  Pretty neat.
We took a trip this spring to escape the snow and mud. Wanted to check out the Capitan, Fort Stanton, Fort Sumner and ride in "the footsteps" of Billy the Kid. We heard about some nice trails in the White Mountain wilderness so we rode there a couple days. When we were on the Argintina Canyon trail, near the top, we spotted your treasure. I saw the mylar balloon and ribbons, not much left of the other balloons. It was fairly open with grass, trees and brush (will see if one of us has pics of near there and send some to ya and of horses ect). The treasure was probably 80 yards off the trail in some brush. I have to admit my first thought was, damn people and there mylar balloons. See them, or what's left of them, quite often way out in the woods, go out of our way to go over and get off and pick them up. So went over to pick it up and when I got a hold of it saw the tube and said hell there's something attached to it. Opened it up and Wow, what a surprise. We decided it was Karma paying off for all the balloons and trash we pick up when we are riding (beer cans are the other big one we find way out there, they must get heavier once they're empty, because they pack em in full but once empty people can't pack them back out)
So thank you for the nice surprise and treasure."

Chuck and Teri Oliver

Picture taken by Chuck and Teri Oliver
was emailed to Winston.
Their picture shows the Eagle and certificate
were perfectly preserved when they found it.
Shortly after the initial balloon airlift Winston had speculated that the eagle carving was missing and swept away by jet stream and landed in a remote area of Mexico or top a high mountain because the capsule would loose altitude somewhere over 500 miles southeast of the launch. He had even contemplated the carving would never be found in his lifetime and gave up thinking about it's whereabouts after a year had gone by with  no word.  In hindsight he wished he would've added a GPS Track-R device  to the precious hand carved eagle. Time passed and Winston chalked it up as a lost project.

The balloon airlift carried the eagle treasure 763 miles
into the White Mountains of New Mexico
where it landed and was MIA for 17 months
until it was found by Chuck and Terri Oliver.
Finally 17 months later it was found. Winston said "After I heard the eagle was found by horseback in the White Mountains I started crying" It was an emotional experience for the Artist, his family, customers and many Facebook followers because everyone who knew about the balloon launch wondered if the eagle would ever be found. Well folks it was found. Like a Alien mylar ballon beacon calling out to a horseback riding stranger...Look over here..Over here. It was like the universe was connecting cosmic karma dots with a horseman who takes personal pride in the cleanliness of our National Parks. Chuck mentioned Karma in his email. Winston couldn't agree more. If he were to walk up to someone and give his art-work to them as a Random Act of Kindness, knowing how Chuck treats our mother earth he would be candidate number one. Winston feels in his heart that we are all connected as humans to mother earth and everybody deserves to own a precious piece of art from her that they can hand down to their children and generations to come.  

This December Winston is planning on releasing another hand made piece of art via balloon airlift. 
Look for future Treasure Hunt in 2017

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Winston Retires From Carving 2016

Winston has officially retired from carving gemstone. He announced "I've decided that at 68 years I need to preserve my hands for carving the remaining 98 pound turquoise gemstone along with one remaining 86 pound Bluebird Mine Azurite Malachite gemstone."  Both stones have been in his collection since 1987.

He also said "In fairness to my collectors and personal friends I will continue to take custom orders through the end of this year, 2016."

All of his works on his website are sold.  Only the 106,000.00 carat turquoise eagle sculpure is available at Gilbert Ortega's in Arizona on 5th Ave. & Scottsdale Rd for a current figure of $2,000,000.00

Currently Winston has a few promised carvings he's working on and a dozen different carvings that need to be mounted in silver and gold that he's had in his collection for a couple years. He will be posting these works for sale one at a time on Facebook and the front page of his website.  Should you want something special for yourself or a family member custom made, PM Winston in the next couple months.

Thanks so very much for your life long patronage to Winston and his Art.

Winstonbuckles.com

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saber Tooth Dinosaur Bone Carving


Since 2007 Winston gets a special order by Staci Gruber for her married partner Patricia Cornwell usually for a birthday or anniversary gift. This latest carving commissioned by Staci is special in many ways because it's  made of actual dinosaur bones. The couple discovered them on Dan Aykroyd's Canadian Ranch a few years ago. After discovering and digging  the bones up they brought them via helicopter to Winston. 




The first piece he made for Patricia was a Dinosaur Bone Necklace shown in the photos above.




The second carving was a T-Rex Dinosaur Bone Belt Buckle. Here is a picture and a link to the article if you would like to see more.

The third carving from the ancient dinosaur bones was recently hand carved into a Saber Tooth Tiger emerging from the Brea Tar Pits and if that's not cool enough the carving is mounted in Sterling silver, with mother of pearl teeth and 18K hand fabricated tar bubbles.



Last but not least on the back of the buckle is a 22K Gold anatomically correct heart to go along with Patricia's forensic profile. The buckle is all sterling silver hand-made except for the 18K Gold.


On the back of buckle Winston hand engraves it with a title and date, officially making it one of a kind.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Picasso Buckle by Winston

"Everything you can imagine is real. Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." ~ Pablo Picasso 


As a 50th year birthday gift to his wonderful better half Kelly, Winston hand carved and made this one of a kind belt buckle. In honor of the great Artist Picasso.


The buckle is hand carved and made of thirteen different pieces of precious stones including mother of pearl, picasso marble, turquiose and multiple colored jem stones. This original by Winston is one of a kind and here is a step by step process on how the artist put the beautiful buckle together.


Finally the finished piece is mounted into
a handmade silver picture frame.



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Balloon Airlift Eagle Treasure Hunt


On October 24th 2015 Winston Packaged this Hand Carved Eagle into a sealed canister and sent it flying high into the Las Vegas, NV jet stream.


The Eagle is Hand Carved by Winston and is one of a kind.


The Gold Lip Mother Of Pearl Eagle is mounted into a sterling silver frame and can be worn as a necklace.


Deep in the Nevada desert Winston walks to the highest peak to release the eagle carving via orange and black balloons and one sparkly alien head balloon. 



The balloons are attached to a protected capsule with Winston's hand carved eagle and certificate of authenticity safely inside.



Winston does a preflight check before lift off.


Below is a video posted on youtube of the event on 10-24-1015



Winston Treasure Launch 2015 Video



Tracking the jet stream on his Phone the carving flew 150 degrees South East. Headed for Flagstaff or possibly as far as Southern Arizona


Above on map one Winston marked the exact coordinates of the lift off. They launched it from The Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.


From the compass in the image above you can see which way the eagle flew in a South East direction at 150 degrees towards Flagstaff, Arizona. However after recalculating the jet streams Winston believes the capsule went South East at 50 mph only to hit a 80 to 100 mph jet stream headed north east meaning the capsule could be anywhere in  the mid west from Texas to as far north as Michigan or Maine.


Here is the certificte of authenticenty and a picture of the eagle that were placed in the protected capsule and sent into the sky. Be looking out for a cluster of orange and black balloons with one sparkly alien female face balloon. Stay posted for more info on where the eagle landed and who found it.


Winston and Kelly wish you best of luck and may the one who finds this eagle carving be blessed.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Snow Leopard of Fire by Winston




"Snow Leopard of Fire" This carving just left Winston's Studio for JW COOPER in the Famous Bal Harbour Shops of Miami. Made of Hand Carved Mother of Pearl, Sterling Silver and a Branch Coral Tongue, This Snow Leopard Jumps with Life. Call 305-861-4180 J.W.Cooper for more information on this hand made buckle.

#buckles #beltbuckles #leopard #snowleopard #sterlingsilver #shopmiami 

#leopardeltbuckle

Sunday, February 1, 2015

NFL Super Bowl XLIX Belt Buckles by Winston


For this years NFL Super Bowl XLIX Winston made two separate belt buckles of the opposing teams. The two teams playing in the Super Bowl are The New England Patriots and The Seattle Seahawks. The hand carved belt buckles are made of  Mother of Pearl, Sterling Silver and 14K Gold. Each one is signed by Winston on the back #1 because they are one of a kind.  This years 2015 Super Bowl will be held at The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

Posted are pictures of Winston's New Super Bowl Belt Buckles. Winston will be available today February 1st 2015 at The Gilbert Ortega Gallery.

Seattle Seahawks,  New England Patriots

You can view these two handmade Super Bowl Belt Buckles in Scottsdale, Arizona at The Gilbert Ortega Gallery located at 7155 East Fifth Ave, Scottsdale AZ 85251 (on the corner of 5th Street and Scottsdale Rd)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

47 Pound Turquoise Stone Carving - 106,455 carats

Hand Carved by Winston 
Kingman Turquoise Sculpture - 3 Feet Tall 
47 Pound Turquoise Stone Carving - 106,455 carats

Priced at $2,000,000.00


Turquoise sculpture by Winston valued at $10.00 per carat. 
In today's rare turquoise market that adds up equaling 
$1,064,550.00 (for the cost of the turquoise un-carved)


Winston sculpted this work over a six year period in his life. 
The life size eagle has in addition 8 famous Native Americans 
hiding in and about representing Winston's title for this sculpture.

Titled: OUR TRUE FOREFATHERS


CURRENTLY: This original sculpture is being prepared for a Super Bowl weekend show in downtown Scottsdale at the world famous Gilbert Ortega's 5th Avenue Trading Co. 
(on the corner of 5th Ave. and Scottsdale Road)

Showing dates are Jan. 30th and 31st from 10am to 5pm  
Come celebrate with us the best Mother Nature has to offer in large gemstones.

Winston will be in attendance both dates.


Patricia Cornwell's New Belt Buckle, Titled: Lucy

Winston has finished a custom handmade buckle for the famous author Patricia Cornwell. The carving is based on one of the characters "Lucy Farinelli" in her new novel Flesh and Blood. The carving simply titled Lucy was finished and sent to Patricia in November of 2014. Below are images of Patricia wearing the buckle surrounded by friends as well as a close up of the beautiful handmade buckle made by Winston.


Why Lucy? In the her new novel Flesh and Blood Scarpetta investigates a shipwreck, looking for answers that only she can discover and analyze. And it is there that she comes face to face with shocking evidence that implicates her techno genius niece, Lucy, Scarpetta’s own flesh and blood.

Winston Visits Cooperstown

Winston visited Arizona in December of 2014 and wanted to show his new buckle to Alice Cooper the owner of Cooperstown. Unfortunately Alice wasn't at the restaurant at the time of Winston's arrival. However the staff and our waitress Alisha was very kind and intrigued at the newly made belt buckle. Here are some images of Winston showing off his handmade buckle at Cooperstown in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.

The food, drinks and service was great. Winston recommends a visit to Alice Cooperstown if you're in the neighborhood. Located next to Talking Stick Resort Arena in Downtown Phoenix.

Most recently Winston had one of his handmade Belt Buckles gone missing


This is not the first time this has happened to the artist Winston. It’s actually happened to him twice over the past 6 years. He most recently had one of his Original Pirate Head Buckles gone missing from the courier (a local UPS drop off / P.O. Box facility in Las Vegas) Unfortunately Winston only had $500 of insurance from UPS and to top that off he will have to re-carve the buckle again so he can get it to his customer who special ordered it.

Title: Jack The Pirate 


Why does this matter? Well, first of all Winston recently celebrated his 67th birthday in October of 2014. Nevertheless he's popular, his carvings are in demand and he's backed up with custom orders to fill. The lost buckle slows down his production time and makes it hard for him to fill his seasonal orders to retailers such as J.W. Cooper in Bal Harbour, FL

The missing buckle is numbered and signed by Winston with an inscription etched into the backside of the silver and gold buckle. Winston said " If this carving is ever found it would be a miracle. I wonder how many years after my death it will take for that buckle to resurface" Then he chuckled his usual lighthearted laughter and said "Love you son, I got to go.. Times a wastin!"

Friday, May 30, 2014

2014 World Champion Custom Belt Buckle Contest

Last year Winston entered The World Champion Custom Belt Buckle Contest and took second place in the competition. Winston (for health reasons) did not enter this years contest so he made this custom eagle buckle carving for the winner of the 2014 contest. 


It was hand carved by Winston start to finish over a three day period of time using diamond bit hand tools. The Custom Eagle Buckle Carving is cut from a large 10 inch Gold Lip Mother of Pearl half shell from the Philippines.


This Mother of Pearl above has been hand ground by Winston and ruffly polished using a large diamond bit grinding wheel. Then edged and prepped to reveal it's natural white and yellow mixed colors. Each Piece is different because it's pearl-yellow flows one way and it's pearl-white mixes in beautifully a different way in every piece. 

Winston Draws The Custom Buckle Onto The Mother Of Pearl
Before He Extracts it From the Pearl
Now it's time to take the edges off and rough the carving out
Back Side of The Eagle Head Carving
The Beak and Feathers of the Eagle are starting to come to life
This custom belt buckle's style is modeled after the artists custom buckle collector's series (Harley Feathers) but is not one of the 10 numbered buckles signed by Winston because of it's donation to the World Championship Belt Buckle Contest (The winner this year was a custom buckle named Space Cowboy by the Artist Daniel Icaza of San Jose, Costa Rica)

Using a Low Grit Diamond Wheel Winston Roughs
The Eagle Head With More Detail
Winston Applies a Rough Sketch Of The Eagle Head's Cheek
Feathers Before Finely Carving More Detail
The Start of Something Amazing Using Hand Tools
with Precise Diamond Bits. We now see the Buckle start to
Transform into a Majestic Eagle
Eagle Buckle Before A Good Hand Polish by
The Artist Using a Fine Grit Diamond Blade.
Winston Custom Belt Buckle is Hand Made, signed by Winston usually with a quote and numbered.

Hand Polished with a buffing wheel and Before The Eye is Set
in this Custom Eagle Buckle
The tongue below is hand carved from the gold lip of the large shell mother of pearl.

Mother of Pearl Hand Carved Eagle Tongue
Sterling Silver and Gold Buckle Mountings for the back of the buckle are currently being made.

Handmade Custom Eagle Belt Buckle Finished with a
Fine Hand Polish and The Eagle Eye
The eye is a eagle glass taxidermy eye from Van Dykes Taxidermy

Finally after 3 days The Eagle Buckle is Finished
Before Gold and Silver Mounts are added.
Winston announced: "It's with a humble pride that I gratefully offer this eagle carving to the winner of this years World Championship Belt Buckle contest. We americans carry a certain pride of this soaring bird where some of us have even been very fortunate to carve or paint his image. May you and your family wear him for many generations to come."

The artist gives much thanks to JW Copper of the famed Bal Harbour Shops in Miami for their contribution of materials. As well as The 3rd Annual World Championship Custom Belt Buckle Contest 2014