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One of America's True Original Art Forms Comes Alive in a Unique New Book

East Petersburg, PA: Imagine you are a sailor in the mid-19th century, sailing out of New Bedford, Massachusetts or Sag Harbor, New York. You could be at sea for as long as five years, facing unimaginable hardships and danger. During the long hours at sea, you pull out your jack-knife or a set of dental-looking tools, and create a piece of art to present to your family waiting for you at home. This art is called "scrimshaw."

Scrimshaw is considered by many to be one of the original American art forms, having gained popularity in the 1800s among sailors, especially those on whaling ships. Finding that the original materials - whale teeth and bone and elephant ivory were scarce or would further endanger wildlife, modern scrimshanders have turned to alternative materials for scrimshaw.

In this second edition of Scrimshaw: A Complete Illustrated Manual , professional scrimshander Steve Paszkiewicz and veteran writer/carver Roger Schroeder provide the tips and updated techniques needed to successfully create your own authentic Scrimshaw art with tools and supplies from your local art supply store.

In its simplest form, the art of scrimshaw is engraving done on pieces of ivory and ivory substitutes, often with colors and tints added to accentuate the design. Its origin dates back to the time of the American whaling industry when sailors at sea, mired in vacuums of inactivity, would practice the craft while also passing it along to their fellow sailors. Recognized as an indigenous American art form, modern artisans and craftspeople are now reviving this classic technique using today's materials.

Everything you need to know is inside:

  A ready-to-use scrimshaw pattern of a classic sailing vessel

  Selecting and finding tools

  Step-by-step instructions and process photos on how to prepare the medium, transfer a pattern, and engrave the design

  Resources for modern ivory substitutes

  A gallery of 50 masterful examples of antique and contemporary scrimshaw

About the authors:

Although Steve Paszkiewicz considers himself a landlubber, he has spent nearly half his life involved with nautical art. Since 1971, he has been a model ship builder, constructing award-winning replicas with the finest details. As a young man, he spent a decade as a diamond prospector in South America . After returning to the United States, he worked as a silk screen photographer. With a degree from art school, Steve tried out a variety of art mediums, from painting to woodcarving. He hit upon scrimshaw when he met a man etching pictures on beef bone. Steve took a liking to scrimshaw and quickly graduated from bone to ivory. He has spent nearly two decades as a scrimshander, the term used to describe an engraver of bone, ivory and other organic materials. Steve lives with his wife in Whitestone, New York.

Roger Schroeder's success as a writer began when he gave up trying to write the great American novel. Instead, he turned to writing about his hobby: woodworking. Sharpening his skills and his photography and expanding his interests, he went on to author 16 books and nearly 200 magazine articles. Ranging in scope from woodcarving to house building, the books include such titles as How to Carve Wildfowl, Carving Signs, Making Toys, and Timber Frame Construction, which has over 77,000 copies in print. Founding editor of Wood Carving Illustrated , Roger is past president of the Long Island Woodcarvers Association and active in the Long Island Wood Workers club. He is a retired English teacher who specialized in teaching writing and research, Roger currently lectures on topics such as how to make wood into furniture, houses and sculpture. In the remaining time, he is an amateur cabinetmaker who enjoys constructing Victorian reproductions, and is an amateur carver who has won a number of blue ribbons for his natural wood sculptures.

Fox Chapel Publishing Co., Inc. is one of the nation's leading resources for woodworking books and magazines, and employs nearly 30 people from its restored 19th century headquarters in East Petersburg, PA. Fox Chapel publishes two magazines: Wood Carving Illustrated and Scroll Saw Workshop ; more than 200 book titles; and distributes more than 1,000 woodworking books from other publishers around the world. Their web site is www.FoxChapelPublishing.com.

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