• Feature

The Art of Stone: Co-op

From Quarry to Co-op

Jan 24, 2020
by John Geoghegan


Kudluajuk Ashoona
Untitled (2015) Ink and coloured pencil 58.5 x 76.2 cm
© Dorset Fine Arts

“If my carvings are small, I can sometimes bring a few to the co-op to sell, but if they are large, I bring [them in] one at a time. I feel good after I’ve sold a carving. Sometimes I feel that I am not paid enough for my work, but most of the time I am happy. I like to carve seals and loons the best.”

— Ning Ashoona


Tim Pitsiulak
Carver’s Income (2009) Ink and coloured pencil 76 x 56 cm
Courtesy National Gallery of Canada


Noah Natakok
Woman with Carving (2009) Stone and ivory 31.75 x 14 x 12.7 cm
Courtesy Canadian Arctic Producers Photo Erin Yunes, Abbott Imaging

“I used to sell carvings to the co-op every week, but now I make one or two a year as I’m hunting more and doing projects for the people of Kimmirut. I’ve bought files and sand paper with the money I’ve made from carving, because it’s better to have new tools that work better. When you sell a carving, you feel alive, like you made art out of a rock that God put there for someone to make something with.”

— Koochy Kolola


Kananginak Pootoogook
Tools (2006) Ink and coloured pencil 66.4 x 50.8 cm
Courtesy Feheley Fine Arts


Shuvinai Ashoona
Selling Sculpture (2012) Ink and coloured pencil 88.9 x 127 cm
© Dorset Fine Arts

Quarry Carving 

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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