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Scrimshaw on fossil walrus ivory
on cocabola and fossil walrus ivory mount. 
 8"L x 3.5"H x 2.25"D

Private Collection

Walrus fascinate me. On land they are ungainly creatures, but seen underwater they appear streamlined, agile, and graceful. A fully grown walrus is the only creature a polar bear is wary of. Walrus are 8 to 12 feet in length and weigh 1,500 to 3,000 pounds. Their range is the Arctic Ocean south to Hudson Bay and the Bering Sea. When hungry they can dive as deep as 300 feet to the ocean floor and dig up clams and other mollusks with their long tusks. Walrus drift south with ice into the Bering Sea in autumn and swim back to the Arctic Ocean in spring. Though strong and rapid swimmers, they cannot swim indefinitely. When tired they must find land or ice, or drown. Cows, calves, and bulls travel together, bellowing like a herd of elephants.

Fossil walrus ivory has been buried for upwards of 3,000 years in the permafrost. Over this time the minerals the ivory has lain with have leached into the ivory and stained it. By sanding and polishing, the 'scrimmable' ivory that's left is exposed, but many times the staining has penetrated too deeply to be removed. In this piece I took advantage of this deep staining, and used it to create the clouds and the iceberg in the background.



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