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20 Carvers to Know in 2020: Derrick Pottle

Jan 10, 2020
by Emily Henderson

A self-taught artist hailing from Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, Derrick Pottle specializes in working with stone, hide and bone. He has been creating carvings since he was a child, working with wood initially to create toys for himself. Remaining closely tied to his land and culture, Pottle enjoys an active traditional lifestyle as a hunter and continues to hunt and prepare seal, caribou, moose, polar bear and fox. 

Pottle’s work was featured in the touring exhibition SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut and is also the subject of a film from director Jason Van Bruggen titled Keeper of the Flame (2018), which chronicles his life as a hunter, carver and guide in Nunatsiavut. 

Many of his pieces are directly inspired by his own encounters with animals on the vast landscape of Nunatsiavut. As he never takes a camera out on his excursions—many of which are long-distance trips by ski-doo—all his carved works depicting animals and hunting scenes are drawn directly from his own memory and experience. This is apparent in carvings such as Kayak Hunter (2015), a standoff between two hunters over a lone black seal, balanced precariously on a slim ribbon of antler.

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