The Ancient Art of the Whalers
"Light shifting winds, crossed by dense walls of fog during the past eleven days, each of us on board is busy with scrimshaw."
Entries like this are encountered often when you leaf through the yellowed pages of old American whaling logbooks from the 18th and 19th century. The word Scrimshaw appears here for the first time in history, as a term for art made from, and engraving of, raw materials from whales. The artists were sailors who passed time onboard by scrimming on their long and arduous journeys.