Custom Scrimshaw by Mark Thogerson
An ancient craft on natural materials

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Scrimshaw on natural materials

As of July 6, 2016, all interstate commerce of elephant ivory will be prohibited.

This will not affect any other type of ivory that I use (mammoth, walrus, or wart hog), and will not affect my sale of elephant ivory at art fairs within states that haven't specifically prohibited it (NY, NJ, CA and HI). Since I don't do art fairs in these states, the point is moot.

From my point of view, these actions are merely cosmetic, intended to make people feel good about themselves. In actuality, since under 1% of the ivory being poached ever reaches our shores, a US ban on its sale is a drop in the bucket, and merely symbolic.

Poaching can only be stopped at its source. A recent USFWS news release stated that over 100,000 elephants died over a recent 3-year period. While factually true, it is disingenuous in that over half those deaths were natural, NOT at the hands of poachers. If natural-death tusks and those that have been seized were sold at below-black-market rates instead of being destroyed, we would:   (A) hit poachers in the pocketbook (where it counts), making the illegal trade less lucrative,
(B) generate funds for anti-poaching programs and help struggling economies, and
(C) over time, develop a sustainable market using natural-death tusks. Seems like a win-win-win to me.

Welcome to the Web home of Scrimshaw by Mark Thogerson. I am a scrimshander with over 40 years of experience working with ivory and antler.  I only use natural materials - fossil mammoth and walrus ivories, old ivory piano keys, and shed antlers - and work them using hand tools and materials similar to those the whalers may have had in the 19th Century.  The result is an authentic look, and pieces you will be proud to display or use.

Please browse my Online Catalog to view scrimshaw for sale, and take a peek at my Art Fair schedule to see if I will be exhibiting near you. If you have questions about scrimshaw, ivory and its care, or the laws regarding its sale, please review my FAQs page. Those interested in commissioning a piece will want to review items in the Scrimshaw Gallery, and some of my Recent Commissions
I do not do appraisals.


In addition to scrimshaw, I accept commissions
for custom-made wooden liturgical items such as
processional and altar crosses, candlesticks,
pectoral crosses and other items.
Please email me for details.

Interested in custom-fitted replacement grips
for your Marine Officer (Mameluke) sword?
 I make them! Click here for more information

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