BLADE Magazine

The Kids Are All Right: High Schooler Takes Up Scrimshaw

Click an image for a closer look. (All images submitted by Kate Opre)

Scrimshaw Appeal Crosses Generations

Kate Opre, of Montana, is still in high school, but she’s taking up scrimshaw in a way that’s catching the attention of many in the knife world. Who says the kids aren’t all right?

Opre wrote to BLADE about why she’s interested in this rich tradition, and she sent in some of her work. Who are we to keep such feats to ourselves? With her parents’ permission, we’re running her submission here. 

How a High Schooler Came Into Scrimshaw

For Opre, the permanence of scrimshaw is part of the appeal.

“I love all forms of art, but scrimshaw is really special,” she wrote in an e-mail. “It’s a challenge because you can’t really erase; if you mess up you have to sand off the whole thing and restart.”

That requires focus, something it seems is in short supply in today’s technology-drenched world.

“It takes a lot of patience to scrimshaw. Some pieces take days, but others could take months to complete,” Opre wrote. “Not very many people know about scrimshaw anymore. Hopefully, I can have the opportunity to show people what scrimshaw is.”

She trained under Thomas and Debi Rucker (Knives By Thomas), and she makes knives in addition to handling the scrimshaw. Horses are a favorite design, and she displays her work at horse shows.

By the looks of things, BLADE expects a rewarding career to come. Keep going!

Opre’s website is

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