Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gray Whale scrimshaw pendant

Ha ha, you didn't even know I was working on this one!

A few weeks ago my brother and sis-in-law's neighbor Julie approached me at my niece's birthday party and inquired if I'd be able to put some scrimshaw on a pendant that she had. It was a fairly large piece, set in silver, with a beaded necklace. She said that as much as she liked the piece she really never wore it because it seemed to be missing something, and indeed it was a bit like an empty picture frame. That much ivory just yearns for some scrimshaw! The pendant itself is 2-1/2 by 2-1/8 inches.


The gallery that sold her the ivory piece had it labeled as ancient walrus ivory. So I had a piece all planned out with a walrus in it, but when I got the ivory in hand at home and examined it, it was pretty obvious to me that it was not walrus ivory. It was elephant ivory. Well okay, that maybe changed things a little. The walrus idea didn't seem quite so perfect of a fit anymore, but the northern CA coast and its water-dwelling animals were dear to her, so with a few emails back and forth we settled on Gray Whales. I sketched out a mother and baby, but Julie asked if I could put a second baby in there as well, a symbol of her two children. So I did!

If you're thinking this piece is a real departure from my usual style, you are absolutely right. This was to be done "loose and sketchy" and in the old-school style of the scrimshanders of long ago... and omg do you know how hard it is for me to not make something as realistic as possible? ;-) It was fun though to do something different and I really love how it turned out. It was a very appropriate style for this necklace.