Pico Island Handicraft
The hands of the women of Pico create fine crochet lace using traditional or more modern designs, straw hats, and rush mats. The hard tooth of the sperm whale serves as the raw material for the scrimshaw techniques brought over a century ago by the American whalers who came to the waters of the Azores to hunt and recruit harpooners who were famous on the seven seas. The themes carved on these small but valuable works of art are sailing ships, scenes of combat with the great sea mammals, and the feminine figures of mariners’ dreams. But the cachalot also gives rise to other curious pieces. From its teeth, bones, and jaws skilled hands make small sculptures recalling its asymmetrical profile, tails that seem to sweep the ocean and rings, ear-rings, and pendants.
Connected with whale hunting are also the delicate and complete miniatures of the elegant whaling-boats, worthy of appearance in museums, produced by some of their former crew members.