Monday, October 15, 2012
Walrus Fossil Ivory ~ A Rich Collection
Walrus fossil ivory from Little Diomede Island which is the nearest Alaskan island to Russia
Artifacts that have been hand worked and polished sometime in recent or not so recent history.
These are carved from fossil walrus ivory that washes up on the beach over the years. They were then carved and used for spears, fishing and sewing implements
These almost look like fish head carvings but are parts from spools and tools
In my search for fossil ivory for a fellow artist I was fortunate to have access to a stash of a long standing collector of fossil ivory. He passed away a few years ago and his wife was ready to part with some of his impressive collection.
Sam had visited the Inuit of Little Diomede Island over the years during his professional life and was privy to local midden heaps during his many visits.
He was always respectful of the locals and their culture.
The fine polished finish and markings and variety of color variations are amazing.
When you live in a place with no trees and some nice hard fossil ivory washes up on the beach it makes a fine material for tools
Looks like a natural example of mokume gane doesn't it?
Here's a little bit about Sam's amazing life.
I was a pleasure to have gotten to know him a bit before he passed away. My husband and Sam could talk for hours about his extensive research and collecting.
I feel honored to be able to use some of his pieces in my artwork.
He made some amazingly complex and beautiful mobiles of his own with his collection.
Many thanks to his wife Patty that graciously let me pile through tubs of his collections and let them live on through other's art as he would have wished.