The last workshop, that started after the village 4th of July parade, was well attended by young carvers, and some very nice pieces were made – those inspired by the old artefacts from the collection as well as artworks sprung from imagination. Instead of writing about it, we will just show you a photo gallery from the event
Another incredibly beautiful day in Quinhagak, which of course means the workshop was competing with more appealing outdoor activities – but Bryan was back eager to continue his boat-building projects. Claire continued – and finished her antler harpoon – with some final advice from John on how to make the holes (‘you need to find a nail’), and Anna started working on a toggling harpoon – replica from one in the collection.We chose to move the workshop outside so we could enjoy the sun while carving. Carl and Brayden also joined the carving crew on this fabulous afternoon.
They also put their effort into carving kayaks. The boys put their boats to the test in a pan of water, and they sailed very well.
However, when the antler dries out it becomes hard again very fast. These trials made us think that carvers probably had several projects going in the same time, so they can rotate between carving and soaking – working on one prong while the others rest.
After carving for hours, our hands were hurting and our concentration waned – so we put our tools down and went for a swim. Yet another beautiful day in Alaska!
The first of a series of three carving workshops was held today. Claire and Anna has prepared with pictures of artefacts, and
Rick brought a small selection of artefacts from the collection for people to be inspired by. Driftwood and bark have been gathered on the beach, and antler has been sourced and soaked for those who’d like to give antler carving a try. Rick has even made a couple of carving tools using jade, originating from the same source as the jade drill bits we find at the site, if anyone dare to try the old-fashioned materials (they work very well Claire told me).
Unfortunately for the workshop (and the fish) the weather was ver nice today, so outdoors seemed more appealing to most. However, Bryan came eager to carve, and by the end of the carving session hade made several kayaks and other artwork.
John also joined us to talk about carving and
toolmaking, and we all tried our hands on carving, with more or less success (my poor duckfaced palraiyuk will never make any friends – neither Anna’s seal nor PT’s owl will ever look at him with anything but pity). Claire, who’s an expert in ancient bone technology, put her skills to the test in working antler. She chose to work with the jade tools, and, even though very crude in comparison to the jade tools from the site, they seemed to work well. It was a very fun and quite instructive day – but lets hope for rain tomorrow😉
On top of the agenda for our visit this time was discussing the return of the collection to Alaska. Today we met with the Q-Corp board and Rick presented the different options – with our recommendation that the collection be returned to Quinhagak (rather than an already existing facility in Bethel or Fairbanks). The unanimous decision from the board was that the collection should come home – and more than that, they already have the perfect building in place for it! (A former school building that Warren gave us a tour of). So the fantastic news of today it that the Nunalleq collection will be returned and housed in Quinhagak – and a new cultural and archaeological centre. By 2018 you will be able to come here and look at it yourself!
These are exciting times!
Rick, Charlotta and Claire, Anna and PT are back in Quinhagak for a few days of meetings and workshops. Today Steve Street joined us for the day, and in the afternoon we went out to see the site. It looks a bit abandoned, but otherwise good. The yellow flowers of archaeology have reclaimed it, and a little weasel seems to have made one corner of it its home. Looking at it, in this perfect excavation weather, it felt a bit sad that we’re not digging this year, but it will wait for us another year… And of course, 2017 will be the best season yet😉