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Arts and Crafts

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bone Carving Art

Don't confuse this craft with scrimshaw, because it is not only totally different as far as the used materials go, but also where the execution of the art is concerned.

Scrimshaw is scratching an image in and is mainly applied to the teeth of deceased marine mammals, while bone carving is literally carving images or figurines out of any kind of animal bones.

Before we go on, let me first assure you that no animals were hurt or killed for the sake of this art. Even though early on elephants were hunted down for their ivory, this has been outlawed and other natural animal bones have been used instead.

The bones come from animals that either died of natural causes or are specifically bred for consumption and where the bones are considered to be left-over material. Many bone carvers use cow, fish, buffalo, and camel bones or even deer antlers, which were shed by their previous owners, for their art.

You can make your project as large and as intricate as you desire, but keep in mind that it may take you several months to produce a piece like this.

Looking at the size of this artwork, you would think a dinosaur bone would have been used, but that is not the case. The trick is to cut and piece several different bones together in such a way that you can not even tell where they were joined.

I suspect something like these pendants are a better project for starting out; it doesn't require much and gives you the opportunity to gain some experience on how best to go about it, which equipment to use, and to learn all about the characteristics of the material you work with.

Making something artistic out of a bone is quite a challenge. It sure does give an entire new meaning to the well-known expression, when you tell someone you are working with a bag of bones!

See also:
The History of Bone Carving
Bone Carving Art Materials

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