Thought for a lifetime

Einstein made the very important observation that " Imagination is more important than knowledge ".

Monday, November 21, 2011

Scrimshaw Encounter

I've had this little scrimshaw ring forever and I'm not sure how I came to possess it.

Scrimshaw was what the New England whalers did back in the day. The sailors could get lots of sperm whales ivory teeth because the teeth were of no value. The sailors would spend hours and hours scratching out an image on the ivory tooth with a pocket knife and then rub soot into the image.

The word scrimshaw is actually derived from Dutch or English nautical slang meaning " to waste time ", because anything that wasn't work on the ship was considered a waste of time by the captains.

Scrimshaw became really popular in the 1960s because President John F Kennedy was a big collector. However in the 1970s whale became endangered and then in 1989 elephant ivory was banned for import or export so the scrimshaw declined drastically.
So back to my scrimshaw encounter last weekend...

I've driven by this little scrimshaw studio/shack dozens of times off Hwy 78 on my way to Julian for pie (: but, this time I finally stopped and knocked.

I always pictured an old hippie with a long white beard doing his scrimshaw thing and I was exactly right!

The artist name is David Hul and he had some amazing artifacts and work but, all was already embedded in little wood boxes or knife handles or something that wasn't jewelry. I was totally bummed because I really, really hoped to purchase another ring or earrings.

But David was a very nice man who does not use a computer and operates through snail mail. So I'm going to start our correspondence and hope to own another piece of scrimshaw before David and his skills are gone for good.

I love old hippies that are still hippies, they make my art heart glad!

1 comment:

  1. When did you go to Julian? I was just there myself. - Lynn