The Ivory grips

The Ivory grips

I have been intrigued with ivory for many years. My uncle when I was a little girl became a scrimshaw artist. Later when my husband and I were married and we took a trip to visit my uncle deep in the heart of Indiana. Ed was so intrigued with the beauty and skill of his scrimshaw that he set his sights on getting something we could savor. It took a lot of wrangling to get a small bit of this great masters work because he  would not to sell to his work to relatives and no he didn’t and would not give it away either.

Ed was excited and thrilled more than I was that we had in our possession an original piece of his art.  He also had the idea that I should… yes… I should be an artist and told me to try my hand at scrimshandering. I did and at the time I was not. I tried to scrimshaw of little humming bird on a small of ivory piece. This is Ed’s little treasure and has become my mortification. I won’t tell you how many years ago this was but it was along time ago. Being an artist was not for me or at least not at that time.

Recently, I was asked if I would make some Commemorative Ivory grips I had feelings, of honor and excitement. Like a carving on a gemstone, Ivory is a one shot event. It requires confidence and skill. Ed could list hundreds of things that could happen. If the ivory is cut incorrectly, a hole was not correctly centered or missed the slab is ruined. If Ivory gets to hot when cutting it cracks. If it is to have wording the spelling could be missed or a very detailed design chip. Lots of things can go wrong but that is not how we think. We have worked with lots of material all of which just require a little different type of handling. Ivory is no different. It is preparation and then careful execution.

We were also told that it will shrink and crack and the grips will be bowed. Having worked with wood for many years including exotic woods that need to season ivory is not any different. We currently have a waxed block of Madagascar ebony that is about 3 inches thick. It needs to season for perhaps three years. All Ivory needs to season and because we will use only legal pre banned ivory before we even touch a file to the slab. It has to be seasoned for over 30 years.

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3 Responses to The Ivory grips

  1. Fascinating, Tamera! So is the ivory you have purchased already seasoned…? (or do you have to wait 30 years….) fyi, I have a tendency to refer to your site anyone who has an interest in unique fine art (did it again today….) Prayers you and your husband are doing well.

    • Thank you for your kind words and prayer. Yes, the ivory is already seasoned. We have a source that works closely with the Fish and Wildlife and museums to obtain good, pre-ban and ancient legal ivory.

  2. Another very interesting, educational and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing yet another part of you soul with us.

    Roderick Earl Hoffman

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