|Dimensions||15 × 6 × 13 in|
Black Pearl Soapstone, Butternut Hickory, Wild Turkey
This is a “scene piece, depicting a Humpback whale leaping over an Inuk hunter in his kayak. The Whale, the diving whale with only the tail showing, the hunter, and the kayak are all carved from Black Pearl Soapstone, a nearly flawless black stone from Virginia. Note the Humpback Whale is a Baleen whale, that is, he does not have teeth. Instead, he traps food in his mouth cavity with a network of long thin plates, called baleen. Baleen whales also can be identified by the accordion-like appearance of their neck and upper chest, as depicted on the whale in Polar passage. In order to feed, the Humpback’s accordion-like chest and neck expands, causing a vacuum that pulls in the krill-filled sea water, the baleen plates close, he pushes the water out his blow hole by flexing his chest muscles, leaving and he is rewarded with a mouth full of krill.
Whalers once hunted the Humpback just to get the baleen, which is a relatively thin, but extremely strong substance used to make items, such as wooden chair seats, corset stays, and many similar products, which are now made of some form of plastic., Therefore, the invention of plastic has contributed significantly to the ever increasing numbers of baleen whales in the world’s population.
The Butternut Hickory base under this piece was carved from the trunk log of a tree in a friend of mine’s Otsego, Michigan woods. Because of this, and because it is one of my early pieces, I have kept Polar Passage in my personal collection until now. I am excited to say that this marks the first time it has been placed in the For Sale Gallery.