Category Archives: Blog


2014 Juried Show Announced

The Manitoba Craft Council (MCC) and the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library (MCML) are teaming up to present the 2014 Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Craft inspired by 12 works from the Museum’s collection.  Below you’ll find images and descriptions of the works that were selected by MCC/MCML members through an online poll back in December 2013.  We invite you – craft artists and artisans of Manitoba – to use one or more of these works as a springboard for your own creative production in the coming months.

Here are some dates to keep in mind:

March 11, 7 pm:  In-person viewing of the “inspirational” works at the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library

Submission deadline:  May 16, 2014

Exhibition dates/venues:  August 2014, Quarry Park Heritage Arts Centre, Stonewall, MB and September-November 2014, Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library, Wpg, MB

Full details about the exhibition and submission process will be released in the coming weeks, as will some new images of a few of the pieces.  Click on any image to enlarge.


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Category Archives: Blog


Managing Consignment Opportunities

Continuing on from her last post, fibre artist Kelly Ruth discusses some of the pros and cons of wholesale vs consignment and offers some tips for smooth “saling” regardless of which option you pursue.

Selling your craft based work through consignment opportunities can have its benefits.  It’s a great place to test your product, and generally the percentage the artist makes from a sale is higher than when selling wholesale.  One of the main benefits of wholesale, as I wrote in my last post, is that the artist is paid for their stock on delivery, giving the artist a quicker and more reliable return on their investment of time and materials.


I’m a BIG fan of contracts.  Although they are broken ALL the time, at least a contract gives both parties a clear idea, from the outset, of what is expected and what each party is promising to provide. So whether you choose to go the retail or consignment route, get a contract in writing that lays out the agreement between the artist and shop.

Trust is another key component of doing consignment in particular. It is important to know that the store you are working with has been in business for a while and has experience managing consignment artists. I have had most success working with stores who commit to a payment schedule and a term for how long the merchandise will be in their shop.  In turn, as a maker, it is important to be clear on the expectations regarding the removal of work by the artist before the term has ended.  Some stores may have occasional promotional sales, and the maker should be advised in advance if their work may be put on sale, in which case the artist will get less money for the product that they had set out to expect.

Keeping clear records of what had been sent to a consignment store is critical.  Using packing lists, which are copied and saved in a folder on your computer, is a good and simple way to do this.

Be careful when shipping to stores outside of Canada.  I learned the hard way about the potential pitfalls of this once when I had some unsold items shipped back to me from the US.  On top of regular freight charges, I had to pay $75 for customs fees on my own products, which were made in Canada!! This completely had not occurred to me at the time.  Merchandise shipped across borders is subject to customs fees, and you should look into working with customs brokers if you do want to sell consignment over the border. (Or order material form across the border for that matter.)

If you’d like to find out more about consignment sales, check out this Info-Entrepreneurs site or this link to the Canada/Manitoba Business Service Centre.

This post was by MCC member and fibre artist Kelly Ruth who is, to quote her, “causing mischief by daring to carve out a lifestyle that is most authentic to who she is.”


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Category Archives: Blog


Getting Your Work Out There

As an artist who works in several mediums – both conceptual and functional – I set out some time ago to devote part of my practice to developing a hand-dyed clothing line which could be sold commercially.  Along the way, I have learned some things about selling artisan-made work. This blog post is the first in a series I will be doing exploring the ins and outs of selling craft-based work through retail opportunities.

First I want to explore some pros on cons regarding consignment and wholesale. Early on in my time of reaching out to retailers across the country, I booked a month long rail pass and headed out east, hitting up Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto with samples of my work. I was successful at that time in getting my work in 3 of the 4 cities on consignment!

Train travel

With these first consignment opportunities, I was able to learn how to negotiate terms with several different individuals. I learned how different markets responded to my work, and I was able to beef up my website with bragging rights to say I had my clothing in stores across the country!

Since that time, I have had my work in stores out west as well, both through consignment and wholesale opportunities. It hasn’t always been smooth. I’ve had a store close and not pay me for sold items, with a very long delay of shipping my unsold work back to me. I’ve had stores not properly keep track of what they’ve sold and have had to fight to get paid. I’ve also called to check in on a store asking how things have been selling, only to discover that they had thought they sent all my work back to me at the end of the previous season only to realize that they had it packed away in a box at the back of their closet for the previous 6 months!

The difference between retail and wholesale orders is that the wholesale stock is paid for on delivery. The maker does not have to invest in producing stock and then wait for it to sell. Wholesale prices are set at 50% of the projected retail cost, and a retailer might sell it for even more than what you imagined was a fair retail price. It is their prerogative to sell it for whatever they want once they buy your product from you. Consignment is generally a 60/40 split in the favour of the maker. Over the next couple of posts, I’ll suggest some do’s and don’ts to consider for working within each system.


This post was by MCC member and fibre artist Kelly Ruth who is, to quote her, “causing mischief by daring to carve out a lifestyle that is most authentic to who she is.”


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