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Original Scrimshaw On Stone Of Split Rock, MN Lighthouse
On offer is an extraordinary one-of-a-kind art piece. This scrimshaw is done on datolite, a type of calcium borosilicate found in nodule form only on and near Isle Royale in Lake Superior (Isle Royale National Park) which is part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The stone is about a 6 on the Mohs scale (close to agate in hardness) and polishes when cut to a glasslike finish. The scrimshaw was done entirely by hand with a diamond point stylus by artist Kurt R. Wolter who lived for twenty years on the Keweenaw Peninsula on Lake Superior. (He is now in his 60`s and living in Virginia) This particular framed scrimshaw on datolite depicts the Split Rock lighthouse in Minnesota north of Duluth about an hour's or two drive. It stands atop a cliff overlooking Lake Superior and for many years welcomed and warned ships captains plying the great lake. I should mention that because of the rarity of datolite in the world of mineral specimens and the fact that this is a particularly large slab, the material on which the artwork was done is valuable in it's own right. It was slab cut from a large nodule to produce this piece which measures as follows: 7 ¾" by 5 ½" with a thickness of approximately ½". It is framed in a custom frame sized 15.25 X 17 3/8" outer dimension and an inner opening of 11 .5" by 9.5". Ready to hang with picture wire.
Mr. Wolter did a great deal of artwork of this kind as well as engraving work on native copper from the Keweenaw Peninsula, Great Lakes shipping prints and hand painted and fired tilework while he lived in the Keweenaw. His commercial artwork and ship models hang in corporate and private collections in Europe as well as South America and Australia. In fact one of his datolite scrimshaw pieces was purchased by the then U.S. Ambassador to Norway for display in the embassy there as an example of American art from her home state. One of Mr. Wolter's artistic choices regarding his work on datolite is to include the natural fissures and inclusions in the stone as part of the artwork. In this particular piece he has used them to suggest lightning and a stormy sky surrounding the lighthouse. The light green areas near the stone's edges are caused naturally by the copper in it and the reddish hue by iron content. These minerals were volcanically mixed with the calcium borosilicate while still liquid. As the volcanic eruption cooled, the liquids settled in bubbles inside the cooling lave thereby creating the nodule form of the datolite which eventually became stone.
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