• Feature

The Art of Stone: Carving

From Quarry to Co-op

Jan 23, 2020
by John Geoghegan

“I carve outside, beside my house, because there is a lot of dust. I carve all by myself, but sometimes I get help sanding or polishing. I listen to the local radio or music when I carve.”

— Pitseolak Qimirpik


Oviloo Tunnillie
Woman Carving Stone (2008) Serpentinite 44.4 x 26.7 x 11.4 cm
Courtesy Winnipeg Art Gallery Photo Ernest Mayer


Nicotye Samayualie
THIS IS A PLACE WHERE THEY GO TO CARVE SOAPSTONE (2015) Coloured pencil and ink 76.2 x 58.4 cm
Courtesy Feheley Fine Arts

“I start early in the morning at 7 or 8 am. I carve and do grinding outside, but use my Dremel on the porch, which I heat up with a Coleman stove.”

– Noah Natakok


Ning Ashoona
Agiaguti (Tool for filing carvings) (2011) Serpentinite and rubber wire 5.1 x 33 x 5.1 cm
Courtesy Canadian Guild of Crafts


Pitseolak Qimirpik
Carver (2011) Serpentinite 24.1 x 8.9 x 12.7 cm
Courtesy Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery


Koochy Kolola
Man Carving (2006) Serpentinite 24.1 x 26.7 x 17.8 cm
Courtesy Canadian Arctic Producers Photo Erin Yunes, Abbott Imaging

“I carve outside my house, in a small shack. I usually do the grinding and axing outside to get the rough shape of the carving. Once it is roughed out, I go inside to file and polish. I listen to the radio and music when I’m inside.”

 — Ning Ashoona


Pitseolak Qimirpik
Carver (2004) Serpentinite 12.7 x 17.8 x 15.2 cm
Courtesy Canadian Arctic Producers Photo Erin Yunes, Abbott Imaging

Quarry Co-op 

This piece first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of the
Inuit Art Quarterly.

Interviews with Ashoona and Qimirpik took place by telephone on January 10, 2017, with Joe Takpaungi acting as a translator for Ashoona. Natakok was interviewed over Facebook Messenger on January 9 and February 3, 2017. Kolola responded via email on February 16, 2017. These interviews have been edited for clarity and condensed.

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