Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
June 3, 2000 - Issue 11

Inuit Sculpture

The first thing you want to do is look at a variety of Inuit Sculpture. Do a lot of research on Inuit artists and the type of work they do. Some sites to check out are:



Arctic Inuit Art

What You Need:Clay, Water, Stylus, Examples of Inuit Sculpture

What You Do:

Begin with a block of clay, maybe 5" x 6" by 4".

Talk about what constitutes a sculpture. The fact that it is 3-dimensional. It has width, height, length.

Next, talk about using the subtractive method of sculpting. This is taking away the negative space to leave a form.

Create drawings from every angle on the clay ... subjects could be seals, dolphins, polar bear, rabbits, turtles, etc.

Pull clay away and never add pieces to the block.

Next, model with your hands, pushing and pulling until an animal appears. Remember that Inuit sculpture is a smooth simple form without a lot of detail.

The last step is to smooth with water and add small detail with a stylus, sharp stick or pencil point the basic lines for eyes, claws, etc.

Exhibit the work when complete.

Grade: 4-8Age: 8-12

Some of the materials used by the Inuits for their sculptures are:

Lower Baffin Island - Serpentine Stone:
Serpentine is a very hard metamorphic rock indigenous to Baffin Island. Baffin Island is in Nunavut, an Inuit self-governed region of northern Canada.

This stone has a composition similar to Jade and takes a brilliant natural polish. The colour of serpentine varies from light green to dark brown, or black, due to inclusion of different minerals.

Sanikiluaq - Sedimentary stone:
Sanikiluaq is a long thin island group found in Hudson Bay. Sanikiluaq is part of the new territory of Nunavut, a self-governing Inuit region in northern Canada .

The stone there is sedimentary, formed from layers of sediment compressing. All stone found in Sanikiluaq are layered, some more subtly than others. A dark patch in the stone indicates it is metamorphosing. Most of the rock is limestone, which is generally lime green in colour, but Charcoal grey and black pieces can also be found as a result of carbon in the stone.

Keewatin Region - Basalt Stone:
This region is on the western edge of Hudson Bay north of Churchill. Baker Lake, Rankin Inlet and Arviat are the major communities in this area. The entire region is part of the new territory of Nunavut, a self-governing Inuit region in northern Canada .

Of particular note is the distinctive stone. This area was very mountainous before the glacial age. The stone found here is igneous volcanic rock known as Basalt often hundreds of thousands of years old.

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