Artists obtain their stone by traveling by canoe or
sled to quarries known to contain good quality stone.
This one is very shallow and extracting carving stone
by hand is relatively easy. Some quarries become deep
pits after several years of use and extracting stone
is then more difficult and dangerous. Carvers mining
stone will often work in teams for security.
Sculptors will bring back several pieces of stone
from a mining trip. The shape of a block of stone
often tells the artist what his subject might be.
Useless parts are sawed or chopped off as a first
step in the making of a sculpture.
A shape emerges
With a practiced hand, the artist will begin to chip
away at the stone until a rough shape begins to
appear. As work progresses, smaller carving tools
made or modified by the artist to work the stone in
constrained areas are used.
Cutting and shaping
Often, a lot of the work that will go into
the making of a sculpture is in the detailing. This can
start fairly early in the carving process. The stone
being used here is
which is well suited
to complex work. The artist is using a chisel to cut
through and shape the stone.
Smoothing the stone
The sculptor has begun to smooth the stone with
sandpaper. There are many steps to polishing as finer
and finer grades of abrasive must be used in order to
reveal the beauty of the stone. Bone pieces have been
fitted to the runners of this piece in an effort to
be as true to reality as possible.
All the details have been added and the artist is
giving the stone its final polish. It is hard to
estimate the time needed to carve such a piece since
artists will often make several smaller pieces as
they work on a large one. This one was ready 6 weeks
after the block it came from was first cut.