Baby Bunny Earrings
Baby Bunny Earrings handmade by Santa Fe artist Michelle Tapia. These adorable earrings feature two bunny carvings set in sterling silver. The earrings measure 1/2″ inch long by 1/4″ wide.
People who are familiar with scrimshaw are often times confused that a Spanish girl from New Mexico is working on fossilized walrus tusk. My designs are all from my heart and my culture. My love of animals and anything of beauty influence me most.” — Michelle Tapia
Scrimshaw is a technique employed by sailors in the 1800s using whale teeth and squid ink to create beautiful pieces of art. Not only was this a way to kill time on their long voyages, but gave the sailors something to barter at port for items they needed. Scrimshaw literally means “to waste time”.
Michelle Tapia uses fossilized walrus tusk and tagua nut, which is the palm seed from Ecuador in her jewelry designs. The walrus tusk is dug up off the coast of St. Lawrence Island, Alaska and can be up to 20,000 years old. All the walrus died of natural causes. The color desponds on what minerals were present where the tusks were found. The Inuit also use this technique in their art. Tapia never uses elephant ivory or fresh walrus tusk.
Care must be taken so that the ink does not fade on her pieces. She recommends that you wipe them with a dry cloth and avoid getting them wet. Over time, especially her rings may slightly fade. In these cases, she will re-ink the pieces at no charge.
Santa Fe artist: Michelle Tapia
Michelle Tapia learned the art of Scrimshaw and jewelry making from renowned Alaska native jewelry-makers, Denise and Samuel Wallace. She quickly picked up the art wand began her own line when the Wallace’s relocated from Santa Fe to Hawaii.
Tapia works from home in Santa Fe, carving each of her pieces by hand from fossilized walrus tusk. The designs are hand-inked and set in fine metals. Her pieces are inspired by animals and nature, her Spanish upbringing, and her Tibetan Buddhist philosophies.
The winner of numerous awards including five Best In Show at Santa Fe’s Contemporary Spanish Market, Tapia’s creations have developed a following from around the world.