Scrimshaw is the art of engraving on Ivory. Peter continues to practice this art in the traditional manner of the whalers of 200 years ago – working completely by hand, using a sailmaker’s sewing needle to engrave the Recycled Antique Ivory Piano Keys. Ivory keys were discontinued for use on pianos in 1955. Ivory was banned from import into the USA in 1985. Recent legislation, however, has been enacted allowing for intrastate trade. This provides assurance that your purchase of Ivory in South Carolina is legal.
Pete works to preserve the nearly lost art of Scrimshaw, an Original American Art Form, first authenticated in 1817 by a Whaler out of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Working by hand as the sailor did, Pete sands the ivory to remove scratches, and he then creates a drawing…sometimes freehand and at others with an outlined tracing. Using a sailmaker’s needle (triangle shape) in a pin vise, Pete scratches, pushes or stipples the needle into the ivory … the harder the pressure, the darker the line. Then Simi ink is applied with a QTip and allowed to dry. The surface ink is removed with oooo steel wool and the ivory is sanded to 2200 grit. If more detail is needed, wax is applied, additional engraving completed and a dab of artist’s oil paint is applied and wiped clear with tissue paper. The final image is IN the Ivory, not on top of it.
Peter “Pete” Driscoll has lived a life filled with art. He served an apprenticeship in the Graphic Arts industry in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, eventually president and CEO of two printing companies, Ink, Inc. and Driscoll Graphics Co. In 1988 he relocated to New Bern, NC where he developed an interest in scrimshaw. He, his wife Jo, and their two dogs have lived in Columbia, SC since 2010.