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|With ivory, I use mostly electric drills, sanders and rasps to do the rough work ... then sand paper, steel wool and tools similar to what a dentist uses. No one uses the "traditional" methods of drilling any more, although I have some samples. There's an odor that smells like a dentist's office because basically you're carving big teeth. By law, only natives can carve "new" ivory or marine mammals. While I think of myself as "Native Alaskan" I am not Alaska Native. So, since I'm not native, I carve "old" ivory ... fossilized. Often "old" ivory has evidence of having been "worked" before (hack marks, scratches, chips, etc.) when someone from hundreds of years ago made something from it ... sometimes it is a piece that was discarded after the preferred part of the tusk was taken. When that happens, I try to leave the marks made by the earlier carver there .... On the piece above, you can see the "pointed" top where the bottom of the tusk was "v cut" to take the solid part of the tusk ... the piece I carved was discarded because it was partially hollow from where it grew out of the walrus several hundred years ago. Sometimes people will bring me a piece of ivory and ask me to carve something in it for them ... so I do the carving in their ivory, usually as a trade for something (maybe another piece of ivory, or a fur, or whatever.) Like Ava, I like doing trades ...
Alaska images at the Magpie cubit - go to Alaska Photos and Commentary: http://cubits.org/Magpie/thread/view/42616/
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