Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders

2013

ink, human bones

Scrimshaw is the traditional sailors' artform of carving images and texts into whale bones and filling the grooves with soot or ink. The bones were not considered of value; captains gave them to sailors to keep busy during long and uneventful voyages. Sailors often carved things or people that they loved or missed from home. Gordon's mother sent a series of emails asking Gordon to not used human bones in her work. These texts were then transcribed onto bones.