Blue Walrus Carvings
Fossilized Walrus Ivory Carvings by Ed Sotelo
Yupik Eskimos on St. Lawrence Island rely on Bowhead Whales, walrus and seal for subsistence and cultural survival. For more than 1,500 years these Eskimos used their wits, courage and strength to wrest an existence from the walrus and other creatures living in a sometimes savage Bering Sea. Christianity exists on the island although some still believe in Shamans. They were once revered and feared as holy men with supernatural powers. The Shamans' strongest influence was their link to the whale and walrus hunt. The carved fossilized walrus tooth depicts an image that for hundreds of years has helped keep the Eskimos of St. Lawrence Island alive with culture and tradition.
Fossilized Walrus Ivory
. . .is the rarest and most beautiful of the ivories available today. Excavated by native Alaskan Eskimos, fossilized walrus ivory originated from walrus that died approximately 100 - 1,500 years ago. Originally white in color, the ivory has slowly taken on a myriad of tans, mochas, and brown colors due to the mineral deposits in which it lay buried over the centuries. Its distinctive character and rarity make it a truly unique and precious ivory.
Meet the Artist
Ed Sotelo began his formal art training in sculpture at the Tucson Museum of Art in Tucson, Arizona. He later worked at a foundry where he practiced the lost wax process in bronze. He first developed an interest in carving fossilized ivory during a stay on St. Lawrence Island in the 1980s. An elder introduced Ed to the carving of walrus teeth as well as its influence on the Yupik culture. Ed remembers being told, "The more energy that goes into a carving, the greater its power." He has continued carving since then and enjoys depicting with his art, the Siberian Yupik subsistence lifestyle and their dependence upon the sea for survival. Each piece is individually hand carved from fossilized walrus ivory. The tooth will usually portray images of the storytellers talking about the one that got away. Ed hopes that the owner of each piece receives as much pleasure in owning the individual tooth; as he did in carving it. Please check out his his art work below.
Ed Sotelo, Alaskan Carver
Ed currently resides in Homer, Alaska, with his wife, Sheryl, where they own and operate
a Bed & Breakfast - Moose Creek Cabins of Fritz Creek, Alaska.
You may purchase a carving in a style similar to those shown in this gallery by contacting Ed for
pricing and other information using the phone number, mailing, or e-mail address below.
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Questions? Need more information? Questions about how to order? Please feel to contact me via phone, snail-mail, or email.
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P.O. Box 15145
Fritz Creek, AK 99603