Etsy TV (the video channel for DIY site Etsy) created this touching and fascinating film about Sylvester Ayek, an artist with a fine craft for carving bones in the middle of the Arctic. A true glimpse into Inuit tradition, Sylvester grew up in King Island, a tiny rocky island between Alaska and Russia. Through a series of old photographs, he explains how it was growing up with a subsistence lifestyle, learning to hunt for food every day while dreaming of a better life on the main land.
His limited academic background (as most of the people living in King Island) led him to become an artist, and start bone carving he had learned from his father. Initially with basic shapes and then experimentating with more complex ones during his teenage years, Sylvester has perfected the craft of carving bones and now sells them on ETSY.
As you can imagine, being shot in the Arctic the film scenery is very unique and absolutely wonderful, especially when Sylvester takes us to what has been his hunting spot for the past 50 years, a particular Arctic ‘beach’ you don’t want to bathe in, but possibly just sit there and stare at the horizon forever. We love the effort and patience he puts into everything he does and the calmness he transmits when he remembers the tough times he and his people have gone through.
Overall, it’s a very interesting portrait of becoming an artist when there is no other choice. It’s also fascinating to see how, despite the extreme difference in lifestyle, we all struggle for similar things in the end; like finding the balance between what we love doing and what he have to do to live.