Faux Scrimshaw Desk Art

A young sailor in the 1700’s is homeward bound at the end of his first whaling experience. Haunted by the grotesque sights of mighty whales slaughtered and cut to pieces, he knows he will never return. He would rather grow potatoes on the family farm than sail through blood red waters again… At night, on the rocking ship, the young man works by lamp-light and carves into a piece of whale-bone using needles and his knife. The image burned into his memory is of the first whale spotted at sunrise by his crew and subsequently killed. It is this scene that he attempts to preserve on the small piece of bone. Once complete he will encase the edges in copper scraps that he found on the ship and, finally, will present it to his mother when he tells her he will never again return to the sea…

Faux Scrimshaw
Faux Scrimshaw
Faux Scrimshaw back
Faux Scrimshaw back

Before Greenpeace comes a’knockin’ – no, this is not whale-bone, or tooth, or part of any animal. It is, in fact, tagua nut, an extremely hard nut used by woodcarvers for miniature pieces. I made this myself to try and recreate something a little different. I wanted to make something that looked like it was an antique and something with a story behind it. I cut and shaped the nut (no mean feat in itself) and then set to work using micro chisels to carve some of the design. It isn’t 100% carved, I want to make that plain, and I then took my Micron Pigma pens and inked into the carved lines and the rest of the image around them. With help from blades used in scratchboarding I then scratched into the design to create cross-hatching and, thus, more depth.

Once that was done I took some copper, heat and beat the hell out of it and formed it around the back of the piece, finally joining the pieces with copper wire (and a bit of glue). Finally, I polished it and then coated the surface in resin for that extra shine…

Signed and dated (2012) on the back, the piece is for sale directly from me. It measures 48mm in width and height and is 20mm deep (approx 1.75×1.75x.75 inches).

Cdn/US $125 includes shipping and Certificate of Authenticity. One of a kind and I won’t be making another…



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