Welcome to Scrimshaw.com – on the net since 1998!
Would you like to know more about the artform called scrimshaw? From How-To’s to Mystery Artists, to today’s practicing scrimshanders, you can find just about everything about scrimshaw here.
For those who want to try their hand at scrimshaw, we have an excellent picture of a lighthouse, one of the perennial requests when it comes to the art. We’ve created a pdf so you can print it out then choose your size, plus at the bottom there is a large size image for reference. See http://www.scrimshaw.com/lighthouse-point-scrimshaw-patterns-template/ for more information and a link to the pdf. I want to thank Chris Amelung again for putting this up as a creative commons photo, and his gracious email when I asked him if I could use it in my beginner’s scrimshaw book
Mystery Artist Found!
(actually the Mystery Artist found us!) See Mystery Artist #3 for more! We get requests rather frequently for identifying scrimshaw artists. Once in awhile the actual artist writes back, other times those who know or knew them will help us out. It’s a great community.
How can we help you?
We have a newsletter that is published bi-weekly through the spring, monthly during the summer and often weekly during the fall and winter. It’s free, fact filled and has a lot of information that doesn’t appear on the site, as well as a lot of scrimshaw patterns, questions answered and more. Sign up to get the articles first and stay up to date on what’s happening in the world of scrimshaw.
Scrimshaw.com shows scrimshaw on eco-friendly and other materials. We hope you find your visit enjoyable and educational. The origin of the word Scrimshaw is uncertain, but we know that this art has been practiced since revolutionary times. It did not, however, receive wide spread recognition until President John F. Kennedy, an enthusiastic collector, brought scrimshaw to the public eye. The American Whaling Fleet has ceased to exist. However, this art is being carried on by a few American artisans.
Scrimshaw is the indigenous art form of the American Whaleman. In his idle hours of cruising for whale, he devoted himself to fashioning articles and jewelry of whale ivory. Today, the ivory trade is in turmoil with some states even banning mammoth ivory, confiscating musical instruments and mummies and antiques.
Here at scrimshaw.com, we are constantly searching for alternatives. One of which is a nut palm (also called “vegetable ivory”) which polishes to an incredible likeness of ivory, and whose hardness and durability rivals that of ivory as well. There are also other resources, such as fossilized ivory, antler (which drop off every year – if you can get them before the raccoons do!), and more. Calling scrimshaw done on powder horns scrimshaw is sometimes debated, since it was not done on whale bone by sailors. The technique is the same, and a lot of the artwork created ranges from stunningly photo-realistic to old world “folk art”. Some artists like to scrimshaw maps or quarry on their powderhorns, while others like to create personalized lettering or portraits. To us, it is still scrimshaw: painstakingly scribing images on any material and filling in the lines with some type of pigment is an artform that is not for the impatient. If you are a Scrimshander and would like to show your work here, I’d be more than happy to provide links to your site for free. Simply contact me at email@example.com