Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Faux Scrimshaw Plaster of Paris

Scrimshaw is an art form which is an etching and engraving on whale bones, teeth.  Historically it was a crafted created by whalers in the 19th century and earlier.  The whalers would etch and carve on leftover bones and teeth during their spare time on long sea voyages.  Many pieces are can be viewed as journals and documentation of their journeys.  The images are based on legends of the sea, ships, mermaids, gods, visions, and hallucinations.  

The work can be purely sculptural as well as functional jewelry, jewelry boxes, canes, and knives. New England whalers are noted for scrimshaw art works.

Alaskan antlers

Plaster of Paris Faux Scrimshaw

This project is inspired by scrimshaw designs as well as images from other art historical time periods.  Aztec and Mayan designs can be applied and created to evoke artifacts from ancient time periods.  Also images from Day of the Dead or fossils and petroglyphs can be used as references for the art project. 

Artists can image that they have discovered ancient fossils and artifacts.  This kind of art form intentionally creating work that appears to be from another time period by distressing the material such as plaster of paris.  

Materials: plaster of paris molds (made by using plastic containers of various shapes and sizes)\
                 India Ink, needle tools, or sharp implements like small awls, ice picks, large nails, pencils (sometimes work too) steel wool, small brushes, clear spray varnish, gel medium or gorilla glue (for adhering strips of canvas or strong cotton fabric to the back of the pieces) thin wire (picture wire) for hanging.steel wool

plaster molds created by adding 1 to 1 of water and plaster of paris in a bowl.  Make at least 4 cups at a time.  Stir to warm up and pour into containers.  Let stand for an hour, drain excess water, let dry.  The molds can be removed after the draining of the water and placed on a shelf to dry.

-draw images onto dry plaster molds
-cover the whole surface with india ink
-steel wool surface a leave residual lines
-spray with damar varnish, clear varnish spray, liquid varnish (non water soluable)

The tiles can be reworked by adding more india ink until the tile appears satisfactory to the individual.

-optional : hanger on the back of the tile-with webbing and picture hanging wire adhered with gorilla glue or gel med. 

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