Some time ago I discovered the scrimshaw technique due to the knifemaking business of my husband Sascha. We decided to start a collaboration in 2017 with my own scrimshaw designs on his knives. Since my childhood I`m driven by creativity. I practised drawing and later on I took classes in watercolor painting and drawing in different techniques. I´m inspired by classical mythology, dark movies and contemporary tattoo art. You can take a look behind the scenes on my Instagram account @_fineline__

What ist Scrimshaw?

Scrimshaw is the name given to scrollwork, engravings, and carvings done in bone or ivory. Typically it refers to the handiwork created by whalers made from the byproducts from harvesting them from marine mammals. It is most commonly made out of the bones and teeth of sperm whales, the baleen of other whales, and the tusks of walruses. It takes the form of elaborate engravings in the form of pictures and lettering on the surface of the bone or tooth, with the engraving highlighted using a pigment, or, less often, small sculptures made from the same material. However the latter really fall into the categories of ivory carving, for all carved teeth and tusks, or bone carving. The making of scrimshaw began on whaling ships between 1745 and 1759 on the Pacific Ocean, and survived until the ban on commercial whaling. (WIKIPEDIA)

My workflow

All I need to create a scrimshaw is a polished knifehandle, a sharp scriber and a high-quality oil color. Finding the right motif is the hardest part and takes a lot of time to research. The motif has to be transferred on the knifehandle carefully and with a good eye for proportions. First I stipple the outlines, then work from the lighter to the darker parts by using the stipple and line engraving technique. With every coloring process the srimshaw appears a little darker.

Copyright © 2017 Sascha Dunkhorst

Photos © by S.Dunkhorst and Jim Clemenson