I specialize in hand-etched scrimshaw on natural materials such as mammoth ivory, walrus teeth, piano-key ivory and shed antler. Nautical, wildflower and wildlife themes are favorites, but I have done everything from old fire engines and tractors to corporate logos (with permission). I make everything from jewelry to cribbage boards and Nantucket baskets. I also make many of the accessory items and objects on which the scrimshaw is mounted: hand mirrors, jewelry and music boxes, desk accessories and more. I have over 40 years in scrimshaw and ivory work.I do not use a machine engraver for my scrimshaw; instead, it is etched with a steel tool and the color is hand-rubbed into the fine lines and dots. Nineteenth-century scrimshanders used the point of a knife or a sharpened sail needle, with a combination of lampblack and whale oil, sepia (squid ink), tobacco “juice”, and various fruit juices for color. I try to emulate the spirit of the old scrimshanders while adding my own unique styles and more stable modern pigments.
I am one of the featured artists in the book pictured at the right, “Scrimshaw: A complete illustrated manual” (2nd ed.) by Steve Paskiewicz and Roger Schroeder, Fox Chapel Publishing.
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- E-mail Mark: Mark Thogerson