Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!

There has been so much I’ve left unsaid these last few years.  Good stuff.  Awesome stuff.  Sad stuff.  Bad stuff.  Angsty stuff that I have been too [many words could fit in this space] to talk about.  2014 has been a year of ups and downs.  Big ups and big downs.  There are a few bright and sunny spots that stand out to me.  People who lit up my world from the moment they entered it, huge accomplishments in business, new things that have sparked my interest, and some plain old darn good times.  But the flip side has been some crushing disappointments and setbacks, and I have to say to 2014, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

A few months ago, I sat around with some of my artist friends, a bunch of “horse people” and we talked about how we all thought 2014 was going to be amazing for us because it was the Year of the Horse.  Should be our year, right?  And yet, it pretty much sucked, across the board, for everyone.  Illness, loss, moving, family troubles, this wasn’t what we’d hoped for.  I surmised that The Year of the Horse was only going to get awesome right at the end, that it was just going to be the kickoff for all the good stuff yet to come.  And you know what, I think that just might be the case.  :-)  May the bright and sunny things that have sparked in the last few months turn into awesome things in the coming year.

I know, I’m vague.  When I’ve neglected to say so many things, I don’t even know where to start.  I’ll try to do better.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Where do I even begin?

Hello neglected blog, it's been a while.  One of my New Years resolutions needs to be to pay attention to you again...

Where do I even begin?

I am leaving Oak Run, and moving back to Wilton. Probably in early January though I guess it depends a little on the weather! I'm grateful for the two and a half years I have spent here, there are things I will miss very much, but the time has come to leave.

I need a fresh start, even if it is in an old place! But I need, NEED some real studio space to do my work, so some fund-raising is definitely in order to make that a reality, if you catch my drift.  The timing on this caught me more than a little unprepared.

I have quite a lot of art available, and much of the older stuff is now marked down 25-50% off the original price.  I even thought about doing one of those crowd-funding sites, but I want to earn it fair and square!

Interested in custom work?  Let's talk!  I can do just about anything you might want.  :-)

I think you should be able to access this link even if you are not a Facebook member, I think I have this set up to be viewable to the public.  If not let me know I can post everything here!  I'm just up to my eyeballs trying to get Christmas-deadline projects completed, and looking to save a bit of time.  ;-)

"Katherine Needs a New Studio" sale!

I also have cards and prints and other fabulously cool things available on my shiny new

Fine Art America site!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

it ain't over: fighting the ivory ban

You can kick me and call me bad names later for being so utterly sucky about updating my blog, but I'm going to ask for your urgent help again.

On February 11, 2014, the White House and the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking & Commercial Ban on Trade in Elephant Ivory.  This will criminalize the domestic ivory trade and made it all but impossible to do anything involving ivory.

In other words, it'll put me out of a job (or make me a criminal).  And, for reasons I'll explain or better yet post links to, it won't help elephants at all.

The Advisory Council is meeting on March 20, 2014 in Washington, D.C.  People may submit written comments about the ban by Monday March 17th.  PLEASE email your comments to the council so as to create a record of the devastating impact the ban will have.  The record is now filled with information and misinformation from people who want to see the domestic ivory trade killed.  We really need to get our comments in there by the deadline.  If large numbers of people write in, they will take note.

There is an EXCELLENT form letter HERE.  Insert your name and the date and fill in the bit the says what your interest is in ivory ("I collect knives." "I don't want to see my engraver friend lose her job." etc).  Email that to the address shown on the page by Monday the 17th.  Add whatever other info you want, cut and paste at will.  Or write your own letter!  Just make sure to get your comments in to by Monday the 17th.

There is an EXCELLENT article HERE.  Please share this with your friends, pass it along, send links, read it.  This is all written by Robert Mitchell.  His wife Tira is an engraver.  They are good people and I am grateful to him for the research that he's done, and for posting all this information.

Email your congressperson and senators.  You can use that same letter.  Need help finding them?  CONGRESS.  SENATORS.  You may find that some senator websites only allow a 5000 character submission.  The form letter is significantly longer than that.  I did some editing, reducing the verbiage, abbreviating, and taking out some of the information.  If you need a less-than-5000-character letter, use the one below.  Just keep the "about you" section to a few sentences and it should work.

PLEASE do this.  I don't think many of you would come visit me in jail and I'd really like to keep doing what I love.  Thank you...


ps- I had to disable anonymous commenting on this blog, I was getting spammed up the wazoo.


Dear [Insert Congressperson or Senator's name],

I support the goal of stopping the poaching of elephants in Africa, Asia, or anywhere else in the world. Because of the important artistic, historical and economic value of ivory, I am also in favor of preserving the trade of domestic ivory in the US. I want to provide the Advisory Council with information and ideas to accomplish both goals. 

[Say something about yourself and your interest in ivory]

The US is not contributing to elephant poaching in any meaningful way because the current laws are working. When the 1989 ban on exporting/importing African ivory went into place, it allowed the domestic trade of ivory that was already in the US (“pre-ban ivory”) to continue. There are a variety of sources for raw ivory including a few dealers who carry documented pre-ban ivory, museums with excess stock, estate sales of collectors, and a small amount from people who legally hunt elephants on safari with government permission from stable populations and who fund conservation efforts in African countries. The US has successfully isolated its domestic market from illegal poaching.

In the USFWS September 2012 Fact Sheet, U.S. Efforts to Control Illegal Elephant Ivory Trade and Internal Markets, the Service summarized US laws already in effect and efforts to stop poaching of Asian and African elephants. The report described the Service’s seizures of illegally imported ivory between 1989 through 2007 and concluded that “we do not believe that there is a significant illegal ivory trade into this country.”

In the December 2013 report “Status of African elephant populations and levels of illegal killing and the illegal trade in ivory: A report to the African Elephant Summit” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, African Elephant Specialist Group, they found that while elephant poaching in Africa is increasing, the trend is closely associated with increases in consumer spending in China, the world’s largest consumer of illegal ivory. On the other hand, the relationship does not hold for ivory markets in Europe, the USA or Japan, nor for countries known to be transit points in the ivory trade chain (Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand or Viet Nam).  The report does not show any illegal trade involving the US after 2008.

There are over 3000 small businesses in the US that use, embellish, repair, or provide services involving ivory. These will all be penalized by denying them materials for their trade or products that they rely upon and have nothing to do with elephant poaching in Africa. Artisans and craftspeople who have dedicated their lives to ivory carving and engraving will become obsolete or criminals, losing their livelihoods. And that is just on the business side.

On the consumer side, millions of people who own items that contain ivory will be severely limited with what they can do with it. All of these items made from ivory taken from elephants that died decades if not generations ago will drop out of the legal stream of commerce without preventing a single elephant from dying in Africa.

Instead of antagonizing law abiding citizens engaged in trade in the US, the government should focus on border enforcement and affecting demand in China. To the extent the government believes poaching is an international crisis as stated in Executive Order 13648, then the now well-known NSA data monitoring efforts should be shared with foreign governments to intercept trade routes, capture poachers, and condemn Asian traders who unscrupulously deal in poached ivory. Those are far more direct and effective ways of affecting illicit Chinese trade and saving elephants’ lives.

One last thought: Dr. Daniel Stiles, a world renowned expert on African elephants and a prominent member of conservation organization, has recently concluded that the initiatives under consideration in the US will dramatically increase elephant poaching instead of decreasing it.  Crushing the domestic market in the US will make the legal supply of ivory disappear.  As ivory becomes rarer, prices will increase, giving poachers an even greater incentive to kill elephants for their valuable tusks. It would be catastrophic to destroy the lives of innocent artisans, ruin the finances of legitimate businesses, deprive people of lifelong collections, and in the process reward poachers for slaughtering elephants.

Very truly yours,

[your name]


Friday, December 20, 2013

I need your help

As some of you know, and more of you need to know, the Presidential Advisory Committee is planning to recommend a total ban on the sale of ALL ivory in the United States. Not a ban on new import, but a ban on ALL IVORY (this includes mammoth, boar, warthog, etc) in ALL FORMS (jewelry, knives, pistol grips, musical instruments, etc).


I know some of you are thinking "yay for banning ivory" thinking that it will help save elephants. That's really not the case. Banning ivory that was harvested generations ago, ivory that comes from extinct animals, and ivory from non-threatened sources like warthogs, does NOTHING to help elephant. Enforcing this will take funds away from stopping the killing of elephants AT THE SOURCE IN AFRICA.

On top of that, it'll put people like me out of business. Do you like what I do? So do I, I'd hate to lose the ability to do what I do.

PLEASE join me in emailing ACWT@FWS.GOV before December 28th when they file their report. I'll copy a letter below here that has been posted on the engraving forum. If nothing else, copy and paste it, sign your name on it, and sent it off. Or modify it to suit you. Or write your own. But please I am asking for your help. I love elephants, but banning the sale of pre-existing ivory is NOT helping them.


Dear Advisory Committee,

I stand against a total ban of all ivory sales in the US.

As called for in the Presidential Executive Order I ask that the recommendations continue to allow for "legal and legitimate commerce”.

The ivory market in the US is stable and /or declining, and the seizure records indicate that a high proportion of the seizures made were personal effects lacking the correct paperwork, not the “blood tusks “ spoken about in the media. The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) analysis indicated that the amount of ivory (by weight) seized annually has not increased in recent years. WE are not the consumers of the poached ivory. Therefore banning ivory sales within the US will do nothing to save the remaining world population of elephants.

CITES MIKE report (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) September 2013 report, page 64 analysis states "Africa's elephant populations are managed sustainably" and that in 2013 the quota for permits for legal elephants was 1350 animals. There is legal trade that can be monitored with DNA testing and permitting. Enforcing and policing a ban would use funds that should be used to support the ban on imports already in effect.

I fully support the CITES rules, closing international borders to elephant ivory trade, a law already in effect that should be fully supported and enforced. I stand against a total ban of all ivory commerce within our United States borders, a decision that would be an enforcement nightmare. Like prohibition it will cause a new wave of illicit commerce where a legitimate one now exists. Museums, antique dealers, collectors, artisans and individual citizens have invested in a legal and valuable material. Sanctioned trade in ivory that is legal (culled and pre-ban) and comes from unthreatened sources (mammoth, boar, warthog, antique and recycled products) can pose no possible threat to elephant herds in the wild.

I believe our mutual goals are the same and a solution can be reached. Please keep the focus where it belongs. To increase the elephant population the killing must be stopped in Africa and at its borders.

Respectfully Submitted,

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Baby, it's cold outside!

Snow is still such a novelty in my life that I think it's incredibly fun and exciting.  There are a couple snow days here during the winter.  It'll be mud before you know it... so I enjoyed it today, and walked allll the way down the hill to the creek and back up.  And holy moly that's a lot harder in snow than it is in normal conditions!  ;-)  I earned that slice of cake tonight!

Yesterday afternoon:

This morning:

And then I went hiking with the big camera...

This evening:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

cottage scrimshaw

Oops, I never posted the finished piece!  Here it is!  This is an illustration of the Hansel Cottage in Carmel, California.  It is 2 inches in diameter.  This was a custom piece.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

2013 Christmas cards!!!

I know, I know, who wants to think about Christmas when it's not even Thanksgiving yet!  Well... it is the time to order Christmas cards!  I will offer the same images as last year (for those of you who didn't get them!) AND a brand new one too!

Price: $24.95 per set of 10 cards (CA residents, with sales tax that's gonna be $26.82).  Flat rate $6.50 shipping even if you order a few sets!

Payment: PayPal, check, money order, whatever, it's all good.  To pay with PayPal, use the shopping cart or tally it up and send payment to  Checks and money orders should be made payable to Katherine Plumer and sent to Katherine Plumer, PO Box 166, Oak Run, CA 96069

Orders must be received by Monday December 2nd so I can get them printed and shipped to you.  Thanks!!


Dog Christmas Cards
Set of 10 for $19.95 plus tax and shipping
inside greeting says "Merry Christmas"
white envelopes included


Rosecomb Christmas Cards
Set of 10 for $19.95 plus tax and shipping
inside greeting says "Merry Christmas"
white envelopes included


Four Chickens Christmas Cards
Set of 10 for $19.95 plus tax and shipping
inside greeting says "Merry Christmas"
white envelopes included

Sunday, November 03, 2013

a few scrimshaw pieces on Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl "MOP" is a great deal more difficult to engrave than ivory.  It's a hard and brittle surface, and is dis-inclined to want to have a lot of engraved marks very close to each other without the surface just sort of chipping off.  But it IS rather beautiful!  :-)

"Cloud Runner"
(Gypsy Horse)
scrimshaw on Mother of Pearl
7/8 by 2.5 inches
This piece won third place at the Art at the Classic Show (Draft Horse Classic, September 2013)

Koi pendant
scrimshaw on Mother of Pearl with sterling silver setting
15/16 by 7/8 inch

Swan pendant
multicolor scrimshaw on Mother of Pearl with sterling silver setting
1.25 inches diameter