Project: Material Traditions: Gut, Ivory, and Cedar
Grantee: Anchorage Museum Association
Written by: Mary Johns and Jerome Saclamana

My name is Mary Johns, I am Ahtna, Athabascan and I am of the Water Clan. This residency brought new light to my understanding of Alaska Native art. I know a lot of my own peoples’ art and the process, however not much about ivory carving and the process behind it and the amount of thought and symbolism that goes into it. This definitely made me think about expanding my knowledge about Alaska Native art, so in other words, I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop and all that it had to offer.

The main portion that I cherished the most was the ivory carving, of course, but the main portion that was truly life changing was the fact that the Anchorage Museum curators allowed the artists to see and touch the ivory archives that they had at the museum. It allowed the artists to voice their opinions on pieces and brought their knowledge into the limelight along with merging, quite possibly, their own ancestors spirits with them today.

Tsin’aen (Thank you) to the Anchorage Museum and everyone that had a hand in bringing this workshop into being.


I am grateful in being a small part of Sculpting Ivory Workshops, thank you.

The workshops were a great success in demonstrating the art of ivory carving to the public, especially the younger attendees.

In this modern age, one does not get an opportunity to observe and ask questions about ivory carving. Hopefully, it has sparked some into pursuing a hobby in the arts.

Through grants, even volunteering, I truly hope to have future opportunities to demonstrate my skills as an artist. If I can be of any help in the advancement of the arts, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you once again,
Jerome Saclamanamt-sivory-js-mj-anc-2015-aa