Like the art of tattooing, Hannah Blount Jewelry’s Scrimshaw collection modernizes the traditional beauty of hand-etched adornments.
Utilizing one-of-a-kind gemstones and hand-carved seashells with fine, mixed metals and India ink – my newest collection revisits and reimagines the bygone art of scrimshaw.
Featuring hand-scribed gestures, anatomical studies and oceanic creatures, each Scrimshaw piece serves as a talisman of protection, resistance and nostalgia.
On the island, I grew up among many antique scrimshaw pieces from the long history of Nantucket whalers. Originally, scrimshanders created their hand-scribed pieces to pass the time at night aboard their ships-- often working with the current and movement of the vessel to create their designs.
This artistic outlet evolved into more intentional work, depicting all manner of artistic expression on mediums like whale bone, walrus tusks and even ivory. Portraits of loved ones, those around them and the oceanic scenes that filed their days were created with soot from candles and tobacco juice. Hannah Blount Jewelry’s contemporary take on scrimshaw pieces moves away from these mediums to embrace conscious materials. Found quahog shells and Kingman turquoise capture contrasting elements of the sea-- the lush turquoise representing some of the more tropical waters of the Pacific, and shells serving as an homage to the beauty of the Atlantic ocean.
The longing that inspired sailors as they let each night of their voyage pass, evolved into beautiful art that captured the romance of their yearning. Whether they channeled their heart’s desire or took respite from their unknown futures, scrimshaw work has always been deeply personal to me yet incredibly accessible to all familiar with nostalgia’s spell.