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Scrimshaw

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...:: Etchings on ivory ::...

   Introduction:

Scrimshaw is a very unique artform. David Adams has maintained a career in scrimshaw for over two decades and has scrimmed on every type of ivory known to mankind. His scrimshaw is in public and private collections worldwide.

"I have great compassion for the creatures of Mother Earth. Occasionally I get requests to scrimshaw illegal ivory...elephant, whale, etc. I am totally opposed to decorating illegal ivory! All of the ivory that I scrimshaw is legal. 99% of the scrimshaw is done on fossilized ivories (mammoth and fossil walrus)." -D.A.
I wear optivisors when I'm doing scrimshaw - it magnifies the work

For more information, go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.


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   Brief History:

Scrimshaw is the art of etching images onto polished ivory using a sharp needle clamped into a pin vise. After the images are scratched into the ivory, black ink is applied over it. The ink is then wiped off revealing the intended picture. The etching is then touched up with repeated cuts and more inkings.

Scrimshaw was born in the golden age of whaling during the 18th and 19th centuries. Whaling was in it's hay-day. The whalers spent much of their idle time on board ship scratching images into whales teeth. Some of scrimshaw those sailors produced were very elaborate and can be viewed in museums. The whalers utilized knives or a sharp nail to create their images. Lampblack was used as ink. They scratched out primitive renditions of their ship, the hunt, or images of their wives or girl friends. Scrimshaw is truly an original American art form.

Since those early days of scrimshaw, the art form has evolved and has been perfected. The quality of the artwork is photographic in some cases. The image shown here is a good example of photo-realistic scrimshaw.

All scrimshaw on ivory has one thing in common... it is a highly collectable artform that continually appreciates in value.

Mary Greg Burn is one of the Master Scrimshanders who perfected this artform
I have scrimmed on ivory prepared by many different lapidary artists - by far, the best among them is the *Master Craftsman - Ken Fredericks*! The display pieces he creates are superb "canvases" for the scrimshander. He is the foremost designer of mounts for scrimshaw. The display pieces he has created have been scrimmed by the most well known Scrimshanders. Each piece is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and is a joy to scrimshaw. Mr. Fredericks uses the finest exotic hardwoods, ivories, shells, and semi-precious stones.

Many of the scrimshaw shown here were done on a *Ken Fredericks* piece. I am proud to display them.

Ken Fredericks e-mail: tfgmm@msn.com

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<< Enter my Scrimshaw Gallery >>

Various Scrimshaw :: Whales :: Birds :: Mermaids
Ancient Ivory Products :: Scimshaw Gallery
Scrimshaw Demonstration

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