Scrimshaw, the mariners art.
I loved learning about this traditional folk art! Many of you know that I tend to personally lean towards the traditional rural/peasant crafts– what would have been common practice by people living their daily lives. I love to learn about making things in general, but that is what really calls to me.
Scrimshaw seems to find that void between art and craft in my mind, it is hard to say it was anything but art — used to decorate other items– but it was done by the average seaman with very limited tools using what they had on hand. It just seems more of a commoners’ art form than something like painting.
This week I talk with Rich Williams about scrimshaw– everything from choosing material, prepping it, tools and techniques used to engrave it, filling it in, maintenance of pieces, and legal issues you need to be aware of in regards to sourcing material. We also talk about the origins of scrimshaw and its history as a craft up through the present day.
Overall, this was a fascinating conversation and I really enjoyed connecting with Rich. He has a love of history and working with his hands that I could relate to and learn from, hope you all do as well!
scrimshawandmore.com — Rich’s website, check out the gallery pages to see some of his and his students’ work!
Advanced Scrimshaw Techniques by Jim Stevens
The Scrimshaw Connection by Bob Engnath
Tripoli jewelry polish
Optivisor head magnifier
Ink — Doc Martins or FW india ink