I have always loved art, especially drawing and painting with watercolors. Although I didn't go to college to pursue a degree in art, my brother has. I have always show him my paintings and drawings (and now my scrimshaw), and he would critique them. I have learned, and will continue to learn, a lot from him.
Why scrimshaw? It was suggested by my Father-in-law, Les Ristinen, that I should try scrimshaw. He deals in handmade Finnish knives. He had heard that the best thing to practice on were plastic spoons. I thought I would give it a try. The picture to the right shows a few of my practice pieces. I actually even sold a few! I no longer scrim on the spoons. I have gone on to much better materials for scrimshaw.
I started scrimshaw part-time in 1993 and I have been a full time professional scrimshander since 1995, and loving every minute of it! It has been a constant learning process. I work out of my home in rural Minnesota, but I do not have a shop for people to come and look/buy scrimshaw. I sell my scrimshaw through my web site as well as through gun and/or knife shows in the United States.
The more I scrim, the more I improve. I find easier ways of doing things, whether it be about materials I scrim on, or the tools I use to scrim with, or the inks and paints I use. I sign my scrimshaw with my initials (LJR) and then the month and year. When I first started scrimming, the quality was changing drastically month to month. It is not changing as much today but it is still improving.