Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Unplug Your Kids: Slippery

This week's Unplug Your Kids challenge was "SLIPPERY." I had trouble thinking of anything except for slippery soap. I remembered I had bought some Ivory soap quite a while ago as we were studying whales for our Swimming Creatures co-op. We were hoping to use it to make some scrimshaw like the whalers used to do.
When we went to Maui a year and a half ago, Alex and I spent quite a bit of time at a whaling museum. At the museum, we bought some scrimshaw Christmas ornaments (which I couldn't find this Christmas!) Whalers would carve into bone and teeth of whales (and sometimes other body parts) to make beautiful etchings. Well, I read that you can try to do your own "scrimshaw" using Ivory soap.

Ivory has its own site, with patterns, showing you how to carve the soap. We really enjoyed it and it was challenging, but I thought it turned out well. I used one of the patterns while Alex created her own design.

BOOK REVIEW: I've also been meaning to mention a book I read about whaling while in Maui. The book is In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. (He also has a juvenile version titled Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex, which is also available on CD.)

The book tells the amazing story of the whaleship Essex which was attacked by an angry whale. It sunk and the crew did everything they could to survive, even taking the most drastic meaures. In the end, only a few of the crew survive the 90 days at sea. The book is indeed intense and mezmerizing and this true story inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.


This Girl loves to Talk said...

good soap carving... it is popular for people from new zealand to do beautiful carvings in bone.. I had one from when I was a teenager from a boyfriend he had carved from bone (not whale, just cow I think)

Robin said...

I love this project! GB loves to carve stuff like this. Did you happen to remember him carving the Ivory for the shabti in our Egyptian studies? It's great fun and the soap is so easy to work with.

Mama Teaching 2 said...

I love the soap carvings. Cute. :)

Michie said...

That looks like fun. I had no idea that Ivory had patterns and everything!

Have you ever read, "Becoming Naomi Leon?" It's a great story about a girl who is searching for her dad in Oaxaca, Mexico. There's a lot about carving in the story, as Oaxaca is known for it's wooden animal carvings. The girl in the story does a lot of soap carving. Might be an interesting read to go along with your project.

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