Monday, October 29, 2007

custom scrimshaw

Treat yourself or a loved one to a one of a kind gift: scrimshaw!

What is it?

Scrimshaw is the art of incising lines into the surface of the chosen material (usually ivory or bone or some sort of plastic) and filling those lines with a colored pigment in order to create an image. I would be happy to work on your custom scrimshaw job if you have something in particular you would like scrimmed.

I do not have the tools to slab ivory or do extensive sanding and finishing. I can purchase blanks for numerous types of jewelry, and can order some slabs and tusks. Knives and pistol grips must be provided. Thus far I have worked on plastic (it's okay but I don't love it), and elephant ivory (my preference). I have not worked on walrus ivory, hippo ivory, ancient ivory, bone, or paper micarta. I'm willing to try but would want to try a sample piece first.

What's the cost?

Right now I am only taking commissions for black and white scrim, as I am still learning the color process. Most projects will be $125-$175 per square inch, but everything is a little different so please feel free to ask me for a quote. Simpler or lighter images will be less than darker or more complex images. This does not include the cost of ivory or other materials, sales tax (CA residents), or shipping, travel expenses, or any miscellaneous stuff that I'm overlooking right now. Please note that ivory cannot be exported!!!!

Here are some prices for various scrimshaw pieces that I can create for you using pre-ban elephant ivory. These prices do not include sales tax, packaging, or shipping. Prices are good through December 31, 2007. Contact me for a quote on your individual project. Please note that holiday gift orders must be received by November 15, 2007. I can only accept a limted number of orders due to time constraints.


Necklace pendants
18x25mm oval cabochon
prices include sterling silver or gold filled mount, and your choice of sterling silver chain, gold filled chain, or black leather cord

sterling silver cuff with 13x18mm oval cabochon inlay (photo available)

13x18mm oval cabochons, your choice of gold filled or sterling silver hardware: $150-$200 per pair
18x25mm oval cabochons, your choice of gold filled or sterling silver hardware: $200-$250 per pair

Bolo Tie
38mm round, black leather cord, your choice of gold or silver tips, $280-$380
38x52mm oval, black leather cord, your choice of gold or silver tips, $390-$500

Belt Buckle (domed ivory oval inset into brass buckle, belt not included)
43x29mm oval, $250-$330
65x45mm oval, $520-$700
75x51mm oval, $710-$950

Money Clip, sterling silver with hinged back clip, approx 1x2 inches

If you are looking for items that would just be "fine art" and could be framed, consider a piano key (approx 1x2 inches) for $250-$350, or the ovals listed in the belt buckle section, or a tusk slab.

Pre-ban elephant ivory tusk slabs are available in sizes ranging from 1x3 inches to 2.75x4.5 inches. Contact me if you are interested. I can also get hippo tusks and wild boar tusks. Prices on request.

What subjects do I work with?

I prefer to work with subjects that could be broadly categorized as "anything alive." Wildlife, western art, animals, birds, some human portraiture, including nudes. While I respect that nautical scenes are a tradition in scrimshaw, if you are interested in images containing boats (or cars, buildings, etc) I would be happy to refer you to another scrimshander, but would prefer not to tackle those subjects myself. It's just not my thing. :-)

I can work with your designs or make my own, but please be prepared to furnish quality reference photos if your subject is not something I can easily research (your dog, for example).

How long does it take?

Well, when you sit there looking through the microscope, it seems to take forever. ;-) Ha ha. Honestly, it varies. Smaller pieces may take a few days, large pieces may take a few weeks, and it depends on waiting lists (I do commissioned fine art too) and my own schedule with art shows and other obligations. I strive for a quick turnaround, but your scrim piece needs time for the paint to dry before I can safely ship it off to you.

How do I care for it?

Carefully!!! It is easy to accidently scratch or damage it.

Do not clean your scrimshaw with any type of solvent, as this could remove the paint. Do not get your scrimshaw wet (no swimming or showering with it!). If you are cleaning the jewelry setting around your scrimshaw, please be exceeding careful not to let any chemicals come into contact with the scrim itself. Use a polishing cloth instead.

With care, your scrim will last a lifetime and be a cherished piece of artwork.

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