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From the Interior of Alaska


Chuck Leake

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I have made my living for the last 29 years carving ancient ivory and bone. I first hitch-hiked to Alaska 1n 1971 when I was 17. It was about this time I developed an interest in sculpture when I was working in a bronze foundries in my home town of Prescott Arizona. I started carving old walrus ivory and in the late eighties I began buying , selling and caving mammoth tusks and ivory. I now work in fossil whale bone,mammoth ivory and teeth. I buy my ivory and bone from remote native villages. I feel blessed to have been able to raise a large family working with my hands.

I developed the proses of preserving mammoth teeth about ten years ago. I also enjoy turning lidded vessels from ivory and bone. I am looking forward to getting to know my fellow artists through this forum.

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Welcome to The Carving Path Chuck!

 

The mammoth tooth carving is fascinating. I had not imagined that the large teeth would be carvable. To have supported the raising of a large family with carving is to be congratulated! What do you mean by preserving mammoth teeth? I've just begun to use a lathe, and I turned a tiny mammoth tusk lid for a wood vessel. It felt way to good turning that material!

 

Again, welcome!

 

Janel

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I have to completely dry and stabilize the teeth as they will come apart. A mammoth had five sets of four teeth in their lifetime so they come in many shapes and sizes . They are made up of plates of enamel and denten and require carbide tools.

Since I was a child I have been fascinated with natural forms and try and incorporate them in my sculptures.. Lately I have been carving whale bone from St Lawrence Island that has been buried for up to two thousand years. These animals were taken by The Siberian Yupik hunters in skin boats and dug up when they are hunting for old ivory. My work is influenced our many cultures. Five of our seven daughters are Alaska Native.

 

Most of my whale bone boxes have a caved ivory finial. Ancient walrus is my favorite material but its supply seems to be drying up.

Janel, Roland Quimby is a friend that I have known for over twenty years. Although I deal in mammoth ivory I sell most it in bulk to dealers and knife makers. I buy several thousand pounds a year but I get very litttle A Grade sutible for for carvings

 

This photo is of a fourteen foot mammoth tusk that I bought last summer. Johnny who found the tusk is holding it.

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Hi Chuck, where do you live, I live in South Anchorage and have friends all over Alaska. Anchorage is a strange place and if I had a chance I would move to western Alaska and live where all my friends live but my health will not alow me to right now. I do alot of work in ivory, I love the feel. Where are you at?

Debbie

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Debbie,

I live in Fairbanks. My art work can be seen in Anchorage at Aurora Fine and Boreal Traditions in the Captain Cook. I am convinced life is too short. I would love to do more sculptures exploring the legends of our incredable indienious cultures. We have made it through the winter break up has started in the last few days.

I have had a good local market but this year it has slowed down. I am hoping to make a trip to Southeast in May.

 

Chuck

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I used to live in Fairbanks, from 1951-53, though I don't remember it, having arrived there at about two months of age. Dad was a flight surgeon at the air base. I wish that someday I could see some of Alaska as a grown person.

 

Janel

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