|Dimensions||21 × 11 × 2 in|
Woodstove Quality Black Soapstone
This piece is a stylized male Arctic Char, or in the language of the Inuit, an Ilkalupick. The wild fish starts its life silver in color and gradually deepens to orange, through a range of reddish hues to bright red, and finally to deep vermilion during spawning.
The lower fins and a fold of skin under the upper jaw turn white. and the males develop the protruding hook on the lower jaw that is depicted in the carving. The Arctic Char is a cousin to the salmon and to trout, but is most similar to the Eastern Brook Trout and the Dolly Varden of the Western U.S. It spends its winters in inland fresh water lakes and streams, and then migrates into the salt water of the Arctic Ocean in spring and feeds there during summer. It spawns in September after its return to fresh water streams and lakes in late summer. Inuit people consider it choice eating while fresh and it is also dried on racks for winter consumption. I called this piece “fins” because that is what the native people of Cambridge Bay were yelling once while I was there during the Char run in the late 90’s.
This piece is carved from the lid of a very expensive soapstone wood burning stove that was broken during installation. As such, it is an especially high quality, hard and beautiful stone