SA Jagter Hunter - - NEWS -

Zim­bab­we-born N­ko­si Ju­ba­ne is re­cog­ni­sed as one of SA’s fo­re­most scrims­han­ders. The 41-y­e­ar-old, now a SA na­ti­o­nal, li­ves in Sil­ver­ton and is a fa­mi­li­ar fa­ce w­her­e­ver kni­fe­ma­kers gat­her.

I­ni­ti­al­ly he didn’t know a­bout scrimshaw w­hen he en­rol­led in fi­ne arts at an art cen­t­re in Zim­bab­we af­ter com­ple­ting s­chool. Af­ter two y­e­ars of doing wa­ter co­lours, oils, fi­gu­re dra­wing and ske­t­ching, a neig­hbour who

sculp­ted in black ser­pen­ti­ne sto­ne en­coura­ged him to ex­pe­ri­ment with en­gra­ving images on the sto­ne.

Coi­n­ci­den­tal­ly, a cu­rio tra­der with a shop in Bu­la­wa­yo went to the art cen­t­re to look for ar­tis­ts to train in scrim­ming. The tra­der, a kni­fe­ma­ker him­self, had ta­ken a cour­se in scrimshaw in the USA and saw the po­ten­ti­al for it in his bu­si­ness. He was re­fer­red to Ju­ba­ne who soon star­ted scrim­ming kni­fe hand­les, os­trich eggs and gi­raf­fe bo­ne to be sold in the shop. The young ar­tist had found his ni­che. And lo­ved it!

A y­e­ar la­ter, in 1996, Ju­ba­ne mo­ved to SA and star­ted as­king a­round. He met a num­ber of kni­fe­ma­kers and star­ted doing work for them. He al­so le­ar­ned how to ma­ke knives him­self and soon star­ted sa­ving for his own ma­chi­nes. Now a kni­fe­ma­ker in his own rig­ht and a mem­ber of the Kni­fe­ma­kers’ Guild of Sout­hern A­fri­ca, he pro­du­ces fi­ne bla­des but scrimshaw is still his first lo­ve.

He is a ver­sa­ti­le ar­tist, wor­king in co­lour as well as black and whi­te and u­ses both the li­ne and s­tip­pling met­hods. A­mongst his fa­vou­ri­te sub­jects are por­traits, the hu­man form and wild­li­fe, in­clu­ding fish and bi­rds.

As his can­vas he nor­mal­ly u­ses hip­po and e­lep­hant i­vo­ry (if and w­hen it can be le­gal­ly obtai­ned) and bo­ne, es­pe­ci­al­ly gi­raf­fe. N­ko­si al­so scrims on man-ma­de i­vo­ry sub­sti­tu­tes and is qui­te at ho­me car­ving wood and i­vo­ry, alt­hough scrimshaw re­mains his pri­ma­ry pas­si­on.

So­me of this gif­ted ar­tist’s works are free-stan­ding pie­ces of art but ma­ny of his com­mis­si­ons are for em­bel­lis­hing kni­fe hand­les. * Con­tact N­ko­si Ju­ba­ne at n­ko­si­ju­ban@ gmail. com or 076-502-7262.

N­ko­si Ju­ba­ne (Pho­to: Her­man Jon­ker) N­ko­si Ju­ba­ne can scrimshaw w­ha­te­ver sce­nes a cu­s­to­mer re­que­sts (a­bo­ve and be­low) on the hand­les of knives or ot­her per­so­nal i­tems.

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