Katherine Plumer Fine Art

Do you do custom art?
Yes! I gladly accept commissions for drawings and scrimshaw engravings. A commissioned art piece is one-of-a-kind treasure created just for you that will last for generations. I strive not only to portray an accurate likeness of my subjects, but also to capture the personality and spirit of the animals I draw and engrave. I love my job and take a great deal of pride in the work that I do, and will work closely with you to ensure that your art piece is exactly what you want it to be.

Drawings: I use only the highest quality artist-grade pencils when I work, and draw on archival paper. Drawings should be framed under glass or plexiglas, and hung away from direct sunlight or excessive moisture. I am accepting commissions for color (colored pencil) or black and white (graphite and charcoal) drawings.

Scrimshaw: I do not have the tools to slab ivory or do extensive sanding and finishing, though I can prep and polish small pieces. I can purchase blanks for numerous types of jewelry, and can order some slabs and tusks. Knives and pistol grips must be provided by the customer. I have worked on, and will accept commissions using the following materials: pre-ban elephant ivory, ancient mammoth ivory, hippo tusk, elk tooth ivory, Corian, paper micarta, and Mother of Pearl (MOP is only suitable for certain types of images). If you would like me to work on some other surface (sealed bone, faux ivory) please be willing to provide a scrap so that I can test it. I will not work on tagua nuts, horn, or unsealed bone. Note that most types of ivory (the exception is ancient mammoth or mastodon ivory) CANNOT be exported. I am accepting commissions for custom scrimshaw work in color and black and white. Scrimshaw can be framed and displayed as fine art, or worn as jewelry, provided you consider it "special occasion" and take care not to expose it unnecessary wear and tear.

How long does it take?
A tiny piece may take a few days. A large piece may take a few months. The wait is usually more dependent on the waiting list! Most commissioned art can be completed within several months. If you need something by a certain date, please do contact me well ahead of time! I strive for the most efficient turnaround time I can manage, but will not sacrfice quality, and these things take time.

What subjects do you work with?
Well, my preference could be broadly categorized as "anything alive." Wildlife, western art, animals, birds, human portraiture including nudes. However, I am willing to work with most subject matter, provided that appropriate reference material is available. Please be prepared to furnish high-quality reference photos if your subject is not something I can easily research (your dog, for example).

How much does it cost?
Pricing varies depending not only on the size of the art piece, but on the number of subjects, how dark or light the finished piece will be, the level of detail, etc, so it's pretty hard to put any sort of price estimates on line. Please contact me to discuss your ideas, I'd be happy to talk about what you have in mind and provide a free estimate for you.

A non-refundable down payment is required before I start work on a client's project. Clients are responsible for expenses such as framing, shipping, and any travel costs associated with my completion of the project. California residents must pay 8.75% sales tax.

How do I care for my scrimshaw engraving?
Carefully!!! It is easy to accidentally scratch or damage it. Remember, the images are created by scratching the surface of the ivory, and you will "un-create" my hard work in the same way if you aren't careful!

Do not clean your scrimshaw with any type of solvent, as this will remove the ink. Do not get your scrimshaw wet (no swimming or showering with it!). If you are cleaning the jewelry setting around your scrimshaw, use a polishing cloth, but don't polish the surface of the scrim itself!

With care, your scrim will last a lifetime and be a cherished piece of artwork. If you purchase a framed piece, you won't have any cleaning to worry about! :-)

copyright © 1998-2010 Katherine Plumer, all rights reserved
images may not be used with written permission of the artist