Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Scrimshaw Necklace

1975 Mary Ann Scherr Born: Akron, Ohio 1921 Died: Raleigh, North Carolina 2016 sterling silver, ivory, and 14k gold 8 1/2 x 7 1/8 x 4 in. (21.7 x 18.2 x 10.3 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the artist and museum purchase made possible by the friends of docent Alice Nelson in her memory 1984.42 Not currently on view


Luce Center Quote

“My work is highly influenced by historical roots . . . My work reflects everything. It isn’t just this moment, and it isn’t only historically related.” Artist quoted in Handmade in America: Conversations with Fourteen Craftmasters, 1983

Luce Center Label

Originally a painter and an illustrator, Mary Ann Scherr draws inspiration from many cultures, past and present. In this necklace, she investigated methods of patterning ivory, recalling scrimshaw carvings of an earlier America. Scrimshaw was the art of etching on ivory or bone practiced by the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest and adopted by American whalers in the nineteenth century. President John F. Kennedy’s collection revived public interest in scrimshaw in the 1960s. In this piece, the ivory and silver are contoured to fit comfortably on the wearer’s shoulders.

Keywords

decorative arts - jewelry

Crafts - Metal

ivory

metal - gold

metal - silver

About Mary Ann Scherr

Born: Akron, Ohio 1921 Died: Raleigh, North Carolina 2016

More works in the collection by
Mary Ann Scherr