TAKE A LOOK INSIDE AN INUIT ARTIST'S STUDIO AND SEE SOAPSTONE BECOME INUIT ART
Soapstone to Inuit Art:
A Look Inside The Artist’s Studio
Traditional Inuit carving materials are hunted or scavenged by Inuit Artists. The artist will locate, quarry and transport carving stone and scavenge the land for whalebone, antler, Musk-ox horn and ivory tusks. Locating and moving raw materials is arduous and time consuming work.
Many Inuit artists work outdoors during the summer months and in tents or workshops in the cold winter months. The work is messy with high quantities of fine dust produced.
Today’s Inuit artists continue to create pieces by hand using saws, files, axes, hammers and chisels. Small power tools can be used to initially rough out and shape the carving. The use of hand tools gives the artist more control to release the spirit and image that lives in the stone.
The hardness or softness of the raw material determines the types of tools used to create a carving.
Fine detail work is often done with small knives or nails.
The carving is then brought to life by polishing the stone for many hours with differing grades of waterproof sandpaper, emery cloth, steel wool or liquid polish. The natural colour of the stone comes to life during the polishing stage.
Sculptures have distinct regional styles, with new artists learning from experienced master carvers. Each Inuit Artist has their own distinct style of carving based on regional style, artistic impression and stylistic similarities of their mentors. Available materials also influence artistic style.