A brief history...
Modern Scrimshaw only dates back around 200 years, when the sailors on whaling ships would carve intricate
artwork into the teeth and bones of the whales they harpooned.
Original scrimshaw work was commonly applied to the bones and teeth of the baleen whale.
(The whales hard plates of keratin were employed in the construction of so-called whalebone corsets and stays.)
Sailors would often etch a small bone and then give to his wife or lover to wear as part of her corset and to serve as a reminder of her man.
As the men were unable to work at night, due to the obvious danger involved, this left them with considerably
more free time, than other sailors of the same era.
Now that the trade in certain types of Ivory has been banned, Scrimshaw artists have found new material to work with.
The techniques are essentially the same. However the working environment has changed considerably!