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Stone Symposium produces carvings for the community
Carvers flock to Arviat for lessons in granite

Nicole Garbutt
Northern News Services
Published Saturday, December 15, 2012

A 10-day stone symposium hosted by the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association was held in Arviat late last month.

NNSL photo/graphic

Noah Enowyak, left, Abraham Eetak, Jerry Ell, Bill Jar and Salomonie Pootoogook lift one of the stones by using wooden blocks and a large chain. The stones averaged more than 180 kg each. - photo courtesy of P. Arpin

Carvers from across the Kivalliq region travelled to the community to learn the skills and tools involved in carving granite.

Abraham Eetok, an Arviat carver, jewelry maker and musician, took part in the educational event and created some large carvings.

"Granite is a very hard rock," he said. "I had done small pieces with it but these were my first large pieces."

The 10 artists who attended the symposium were teamed up to work collaboratively on their stone, some of which weighed more than 180 kg each.

Salomonie Pootoogook and Eetok worked together to create a carving of Sedna.

"She is pregnant in the carving," he said. "With a baby mermaid alongside and the mermaid has polar bear claws."

Eetok said communication was key when working as a team.

"With music collaboration, it is a lot more freestyle and just going with it, but with carving we were always stopping to talk and get input from each other," he said.

When first starting out, Eetok said the concept was daunting.

"At first glance, looking at the rocks I didn't know what we were going to do. I actually felt trapped, not knowing how to get from point A to point B, but you starting working on them and the chipping and cutting away isn't as hard as you would imagine."

In total, six carvings were created and next summer they will be placed around the community as part of a beautification initiative.

Plaques will be made with the artists' names, as well as the sponsors and the title of the pieces.

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