Lucy’s original graphite drawing from 1962 is illustrated in the Klamer Collection catalogue Grasp Tight the Old Ways (see reference). The drawing shows evidence that Lucy was careful in her execution of this design, reworking her elaborately entwined tangle of birds at mid-left. We see that the artist has meticulously delineated the forms of this avian assembly using a variety of markings and by diversifying her application of graphite. We love the way that some birds – in particular one crazed bird and its small friend – seeing that all of the stones were taken, have decided to perch atop the heads of their companions; we predict at least one scuffle in the making.
Lukta’s translation into stonecut is brilliant, but it is interesting to note a few technical changes; he eliminated textures on certain birds, and added textures to a few others. The most important change is the addition of colour, but overall the print is very close in spirit to Lucy’s drawing. In Norman Vorano’s 2011 CMC exhibition catalogue Inuit Prints: Japanese Inspiration (p. 88), he comments on Lukta’s printmaking prowess with this particular print: “Lukta Qiatsuk became one of the most highly accomplished of the stonecutters and printmakers in Cape Dorset. Like Un’ichi Hiratsuka [who taught printmaking techniques to James Houston in Japan], he was capable of evoking an enormously expressive range of effects, while communicating in clear, confident lines.”
References: This print is reproduced in Odette Leroux et al ed., Inuit Women Artists: Voices from Cape Dorset (Douglas & McIntyre/Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1994), p. 74; Leslie Boyd Ryan, Cape Dorset Prints: A Retrospective (San Francisco: Pomegranate, 2007), p. 65; and Norman Vorano, Inuit Prints: Japanese Inspiration (Gatineau: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2011), cat. 31. For Lucy’s original graphite drawing see Jean Blodgett, Grasp Tight the Old Ways: Selections from the Klamer Family Collection of Inuit Art (Toronto: AGO, 1983), cat. 66.