The Let’s Get Ship-Wrecked series is one that I had a lot of time to think about. At the beginning of quarantine, I had very little to do. I had no classes, no job, nothing to keep me occupied. On top of that, I was stuck back at my parents’ place which is fairly rural. With an overabundance of time, I turned to TV and YouTube to keep myself entertained. It was this extra time spent on YouTube that brought me to the inspiration for this series. Mentioned briefly in a “Family Guy” episode, scrimshaw is the main influence for the decoration of these bongs.
Traditionally, scrimshaw is ivory or bone that has had a design lightly etched or engraved into it. The etched lines are then filled with an ink in order to show the design more clearly. Typically associated with naval imagery, the designs tend to heavily utilize hatching and cross hatching. Given that I have always had an interest in the imagery of the Kraken and had been trying to think up a way to use it, scrimshaw seemed a good fit. The subject matter for the series, sea monsters, ended up being an extension of my original interest in the Kraken.
My designs on the Let’s Get Ship-Wrecked series utilize scrimshaw-like imagery, but that is where the similarities stop. After messing around (and failing) with trying to do actual scrimshaw on the surface of the clay, I returned to sgraffito to make my designs. Despite moving away from scrimshaw techniques, I still wanted to relate back to the style further than just using similar imagery. To do this, I left the surface that held the etchings unglazed. I did this because I wanted the surface to remain reminiscent of the bone or ivory that real scrimshaw would be on. The contrast between the glazed ceramic body and the bare was also of interest to me, and I believe it adds to the composition nicely. This contrast is also something that I used in my subsequent Not All That Shines is gold series, and something that I plan to use in the future. The contrast is not only stimulating visually, but also physically when holding the piece.