Choosing a Sculpture
Thinking about investing in a traditional Inuit carving, but aren’t sure what to look for?
Here are a few ideas that may help to make your decision a little easier.
GIVE YOURSELF SOME TIME TO “GET TO KNOW” THE PIECE
Ask yourself . . .
- Do you like it?
- How does it make you feel?
- What does it make you think of?
- What other images or experiences does it call to mind?
When a collector has an emotional reaction to a sculpture, dealers call this “finding yourself in the piece”. It is the first and foremost consideration when buying an Inuit sculpture.
ASSESS THE “TECHNICAL” QUALITIES OF THE SCULPTURE
- Is the piece well-balanced?
- Is the composition pleasing to the eye?
- Are the details well-defined?
- What is it made of?
- How is it finished?
The characteristics of the stone dictate the type of finish that can or should be used. For example, serpentine lends itself well to a highly polished finish, while grey basaltic soapstone is difficult to carve and does not polish well. Carvers generally take the type of stone they are working with into consideration when designing their sculptures.
- Would your prefer a sculpture by a favourite Inuit artist, or from a particular northern community?
- What size of a sculpture are you looking for?
- How would this piece fit in with your home or office decor?
It is important to consider where you will be displaying the sculpture, and if it will be accessible by children or pets. Some Inuit art contains small pieces, such as tusks, drums, oars, etc., that can be easily removed for shipping purposes. For safety, these types of carvings should be kept out of the reach of children.
Stone sculptures are most often quite heavy and can be hazardous if tipped over or dropped. Please use proper lifting techniques when moving large pieces. Save your back!
Also, materials derived from northern animals may prove to be a tempting treat to any pets in your home. Dogs, for example, have a special fondness for whale bone!