Etidloi Adla

Etidloi Adla

(1982 – ) | Kinngait, Nunavut, Canada

I was born Etiloi Adla in Kinngait to David Adla and Kumaarjuk Pee–Adla on October 28th, 1982.

Etidloi is my real name, but my grandfather, Audla Pee called me Ettula, (little old man) because the person Etidloi that I was named after was quite old and little. Ettula is the name that my family and friends call me.

My brother Ashevak Adla is my biggest artistic influence. I watched him carve for many years for hours and hours before I started. I learned his techniques, how he carves and uses the tools. I started using his tools to make my first carvings. Not only did he share his tools, he shared his skills. His friends Attachie Peter, Jutani Parr and Joe Parr were also a big influence in my work. I used to watch them carve and they would tell me what they were doing, what to look for in picking out stone. I have been most inspired by Jutani’s and my brother Ashevak’s carvings.

Most important to developing my artistic skills is practice and making more carvings. There is a lot of times I wasted stone, that a piece did not turn out, and it goes into the garbage. That was in the beginning when I started. Finding the centre of gravity when carving the dancing bears was the most challenging. My brother, Ashevak, would help me find the centre of gravity for a piece when I was learning.

At age 18, I carved my very first walking bear around 6 – 7 inches. I brought it to Polar Supplies when Bill Rowsell was the carving buyer. At that time, I was usually making inuksuks. Bill did not think I made this bear by myself, because it was a very nice bear so he did not buy it. The next day I took it to the Northern. Bill regrets that he did not buy it to this day. It was my first bear and I spent a lot of time filing it so it turned out pretty nice.

To get inspired I look at the stone, I try to get a piece without cracks that can be a whole piece. I may be looking for a stone to make a diving or dancing bear or a walking bear. After I look at the stone for a while, I decide what I am going to make.

My favourite time to carve is when it is windy because it blows the dust away from me. Daylight is nice, but I can also carve with lighting in the evening. On a calm day I would rather be out hunting than carving. I have my own 22 foot canoe and snow machine. Right now my outboard motor is down, so I have been going out with my brother hunting.

Making money and not being broke motivates me. I enjoy being able to make something unique out of a piece of rock. When I finish I have a sense that this piece is me, this is my work, done with my hands. It is creating something out of nothing. It is connecting with my creative force when I make carvings. I have had pretty good paying jobs, but carving gives me the satisfaction of saying I made this. Being able to design and create gives me a feeling of accomplishment.

My artwork has changed with more practice. I have finer details, and am able to make larger pieces than when I first started. I enjoy working in larger scale. Sometimes the smaller ones may take longer than the larger ones when I am carving. I feel satisfied with a piece when it becomes closer to what I have in my mind.

I had to change my style a few years ago because a lot of galleries and some people on Ebay were selling my work under my brother’s name and charging more because Ashevak is already a very acclaimed and well known artist.

I can see that I have improved quite a lot from the work that I have made before. Seeing this improvement over time is being successful as an artist. If my pieces stand out in a group of carvings that also shows my success as an artist.

Art becomes an escape from all the worries. It is more than just a job. It is an escape from the stresses of the world and it is good for the mind. It also provides my family with more than the basic necessities of life. I support not only my partner and my son who is 7 but also my nephew who is 11, whose parents are not here to take care of him with such activities as hockey equipment and taking them to hockey tournaments out of town.

I enjoy my art when a buyer likes the pieces and people liking my work is the best part of being a carver. I often get younger kids and teenagers coming to me and saying they wish they could have the talent and skills I have to make carvings. Most of my buyers say my working is fascinating and masterful when I create such well balanced diving bears. They also comment that they love way I carve the heads of polar bears on my sculptures

My goal is to be well known for my carvings all over the world. I would also like to start my own online gallery to help other artists sell their work.