Native Art Traders
5225 Old Orchard Road, Suite 45 Skokie, IL 60077
The craft of Inuit carvings became commercialized nearly half a century ago when the Canadian government recognized that the carving skills of the Inuit could be used to help them earn a much more dependable income for themselves as the old traditional ways of surviving by hunting, fishing, and trapping game disappeared. The government also saw and recognized the economic benefit to the country and actively promoted Inuit carvings and art work as well.
It wasn't long thereafter that Inuit carvings and paintings became the Inuit's main source of income. In fact, many Inuit children have now grown up in an environment where making a living through there art is all that they know.
Inuit carvings are always unique because each piece is painstakingly hand made and each artist has his or her own style. Inuit carvings are imparted with the life experiences of the artist. The Inuit's respect for nature and the natural world is on full display in their finished art pieces.
In recent years, stone has replaced ivory as the primary Inuit carving material. This is because the restriction against harming endangered species has made the ivory trade illegal. In a way this has resulted in more diverse type of Inuit carvings because stone, unlike ivory, can be handled and worked to just about any size and shape.
Another reason why Inuit carvings tend to be so individualistic is that Inuit villages are usually located hundreds of miles from each other reducing the chances of artistic influence and causing more distinct styles to emerge.
The Inuit carver uses a few main tools in the process of carving his piece. Saws, adzes, and axes are used for roughing out the initial form of the art piece. Hammers and chisels are used to further refine the shape. Finally files and waterproof sandpaper are used to refine and polish the material down to its final shape.