Friday, January 18, 2008

scrimshaw experiments

I spent a good chunk of the day at the scope today and learned some interesting new things. The pic I'll post later on in here is a "work in progress" thing, so obviously none of it is done, I was mostly working on outlining images today, and even just that takes ages! My thoughts on various surfaces:

(pre-ban) elephant ivory: Great surface to work on and looks classy. Available sizes: anything from tiny pendants to whole tusks. Costly in large pieces. Limited supply. Some people have moral issues with it. Would I use it again? Absolutely yes.

tagua nut: Well, it comes in some interesting colors. Environmentally friendly. Very strange surface quality. Tiny pores even when polished glassy smooth, so it does pick up some excess ink. Slices are often cracked in the middle and I don't care much for how it looks. Available sizes: slices for pendants, or whole nuts for art object. Would I use it again: No, unless a customer absolutely insists it's what they want. I will attempt to finish the whale image I started.

antler: Fibrous surface cannot be polished glassy smooth, so it picks up a lot of extra ink. Would be okay for "pictogram" type images or symbols, as it has a very primitive look to it, but totally unsuited for detailed work. Available sizes: I have a few 1.5" antler tips. Would I use again? Maybe for certain things but generally no (sorry B, it would have been cool). I will attempt to finish the lizard image I started.

Corian: I feared this would look plasticy and cheap, but was pleased to handle it and find it feels rather like polished stone. Scrims beautifully, though harder surface than ivory (on the bright side, harder to accidentally scratch with a fingernail). Available sizes: 2x2" tiles, maybe also 4x4" tiles. Not good for jewelry (too big, too heavy) but would be nice in shadowbox frame or on small easel. Would I use again? Most definitely.

Paper micarta: am expecting to receive some soon, can't wait to try it!

Other ivories (mammoth, hippo, wild boar): have not yet tried but want to.

So here's what I worked on today. The big square piece is Corian, the pointy thing is antler, and the blue thing is dyed tagua nut. All WIPs, none done. (Hope to finish the dog by next weekend) ;-)

In other news I went out for dinner at Chinese restaurant tonight and my fortune was: "Do not kiss an elephant on the lips today." Okaaaay, yeah. Good thing, I was just about to do that. (rolls eyes). Maybe it's a metaphor?


Anonymous said...

Hi! Good luck on Monday! I will be working...I don't have the day off like many folks.
It's interesting that you can try scrimshaw on so many surfaces/materials! I liked the report on what you have experienced so far with each of the "tests".

Katherine Plumer said...

Thanks! I wish you could go, that sucks that you have to work. :-( I'm not really that nervous about it, just concerned that I don't really know what I'm doing. Eh, guess I'll find out then!

You have darn well better go to Rakkasah! ;-)