|Thanks for visiting the Scrimshaw Studio of fine art, sculpture and jewelry.
The Scrimshaw Studio is a
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•The Knifemaker's Guild
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Mr. Stevens does not do appraisals.
For appraisals he recommends American Society of Appraisers
Find an Appraiser
Archeologists have discovered art work comparable to American scrimshaw that dates back to at least 100200 AD in North America; long before the sailors of the 1700's and 1800's actually created and gave name to the art form. Scrimshaw is the oldest of the very few art forms that are native to North America. While other cultures around the world certainly worked in ivory and bone, the style of North American cultures and that of the Yankee sailors were uniquely their own, making scrimshaw a traditionally American art form.
Today, Scrimshaw is still practiced by master scrimshanders and their work is highly sought after and collected. Perhaps the most noted collector was President John F. Kennedy, who even displayed many of his most cherished pieces of ivory scrimshaw in the Oval Office of the White House.
No animals are harmed as the result of work by responsible scrimshanders. The work seen here is all done on shed antler, bone, horn, legal elephant and most often, fossil ivories that can be as much as 10,000 to 50,000 years old or older. The fossil ivory used here is from the ice age giant, the wooly mammoth, or ancient fossil mastodon or walrus tusk, making it ethically and ecologically ideal for the traditional 14th wedding anniversary gift of ivory. Horn scrimshaw is most often seen on black powder hunting horns. The rare and beautiful woods used by the artist are primarily black Makassar and Gabon Ebony and equally magnificent Ironwoods from the African continent.
The art seen here is accomplished by stippling the solid surface area to create an image. Stippling is the creation of thousands of tiny holes that are then carefully filled with pigment to reveal a beautiful work of art.
Scrimshaw art is a slow and careful process where one mistake can ruin an entire piece. Creating ivory sculpture or carving or the intricate stone and shell inlay accomplished by Mr. Stevens in black buffalo horn are also equally unforgiving art forms. Scrimshaw, carving, and inlay work are not for the impatient. Each piece can take from 30 to over 900 hours to complete.
The greatest masters of the craft to have ever picked up a scribe are working today. Their techniques and the modern-day masterpieces they create have contributed greatly to the increasing collector’s value of this significant and historical American art form. This is the era of the finest masterpieces ever produced in scrimshaw.
While Jim does not do appraisals, he does invite those with scrimshaw, carving, ivory retoration, powder horn, inlay, jewelry, ivory grips, commissions, and related questions to email him. He is an artisan always willing to share his experience and knowledge to help or inform others as best he can. For appraisals he recommends the American Society of Appraisers "Find an Appraiser" referral system.