Inuit Artists

Inspiration and further information at:


Inuit Art

Excerpt taken from the link above:

Many of the older Inuit artists working today grew up in a traditional way. They lived in igloos in winter and tents made of animal skins in summer. Their families returned to their winter and summer camps each year when the sea mammals and animals (like seals, whales and caribou), came in greatest numbers. Mothers carried their babies in an amauti — the big hood on their parkas. When the family travelled, it was on a sled pulled by a dog team.

This traditional way of life is one of the big subjects in Inuit art.  By showing us in drawings and sculptures how their ancestors lived, Inuit artists are keeping their history alive. Art helps them remember, and treasure, the ways their ancestors hunted and made protective clothing and shelter. In their art, many Inuit are making a visual history to show how their ancestors adapted to living in one of the harshest climates on earth. Arctic birds, animals and sea mammals are another important subject for Inuit artists. Powerful polar bears, sleek seals, swift caribou, white wolves and magnificent owls are just a few of the creatures you’ll find in Inuit sculpture and drawings.

When you look closely at the birds and animals in Inuit art,you will see that each one often has its own special character. The individual appearance of the creatures in Inuit art grows out of the respect that Inuit gave to all living things.


Inuit often use bone, ivory and soapstone to make carvings in their unique artistic style.  In this lesson we will try our hand at carving and discover just how difficult it can be!

It is my hope that there will develop a deeper understanding and appreciate of carving from this artistic exercise.

Ivory Soap: Carving lesson


Drop sheet for floors, recycled trays for each child to catch all the soap fragments
bars of ivory soap
Carving tools

Pre-Preparation:   None or
For my Abecedarians I plan to have the whales pre-cut by a friend with a scroll saw; however, the method is just as effective if the carving is only shallow on the surface (engraving) rather than completely through the block as shown in the example.  If I am planning to have a shallow engraving rather than a complete carving, I would use and example of that in class

Carving Tools

Popsicle sticks
Sharp sticks (skewers)
carving tools (NOT knife sharp)
Emory boards

Template copied from the Ivory site: