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View all Howard “Howie” Rosenfeld scrimshaw pieces

Howard Rosenfeld was born in New Haven CT, and graduated as a zoology major from the University of Connecticut. He served in the Peace Corps eradicating malaria in Thailand, then worked in public health in San Francisco & elsewhere around the U.S. Eventually, Sausalito CA became homeport for almost 10 years of living aboard ship, and sailing the waters of the U.S. west coast, Mexico and Hawaii. Becoming an artist was not even remotely on his career choice list, but while sailing on many old wooden ships, he learned marlinspike seamanship, the details of hull, rig & sail, and the art of scrimshaw. When he first started scribing ivory in 1969, Sperm whale teeth had little value and were even being given away. Howie has been doing custom scrimshaw for over 36 years, specializing in ship & sailboat portraits, but has done everything from people to horses to helicopters, as well as large presentation pieces, belt buckles, pendants and plaques.

Years later, when ivory became controversial, Howie discovered that he could ‘scrimshaw’ a copper plate, and make prints. This technique is called “drypoint engraving”, which is a non-acid etching procedure dating from the 1400s. Howie’s prints are sold in limited editions and the plates are ‘struck’ with his initials, then framed with the last print in that edition. Sometimes Howie frames a print with a scrimshaw ‘remarque’ on a piano key (recycled ivory), or on larger mammoth ivory plaques. Prints are sometimes hand-colored with watercolor. Museum quality framing is also available, as he is also a professional picture framer, specializing in traditional decorative French matting. Howie’s studio and gallery, Friday Harbor Art Studio and Custom Picture Framing, is now in its 15th year. Howie has earned many awards, exhibitions, and private commissions. His work is prized by collectors worldwide.