“Once we see seal heads surfacing we steer the boat towards them. We then wait patiently for them to surface. “Where did they go?” We glance behind to find they have cleverly popped up behind the boat to keep an eye on us. This has happened on many occasions to me in the past. This sculpture is that moment with the hunter standing holding his shotgun, the other hunter steering the boat, and both looking ahead whilst the seals swim under the boat to surface behind.
“When we go seal hunting we go out in a small 16’ boat like this and I have tried to reproduce it as close as possible. I carved the boat and its contents including bench seats, two paddles, fishing gaff, anchor and rope, the petrol can with tube and squeeze control to the outboard motor. The tube is actually a hair fiber of baleen that I steamed and bent to fit into position. The outboard motor has a carved propeller blade below the waterline.
“This is a true miniature carving and it took me a long time to carve. Each piece is so tiny and delicate needing a very steady hand and good eyesight. The hunter and shotgun was very difficult to carve as it is made from one piece of ivory and the water is small piece of baleen that I had to carefully thin out by gradually grinding down the surface. You can only carve one side of baleen as the other side is too porous.”
Billy was born on July 7, 1978, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. In his early years he travelled eastern Canada residing and schooling in Ottawa, Yarmouth and Halifax in Nova Scotia, then at the age of thirteen returned to live in Goose Bay. He now lives in North West River in Labrador and enjoys fishing and hunting on the land with his family.
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