From a recent article in the Haliburton County Echo…
What the necklace said…
by Laurie Jones, Curator, Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre
The goal of the Rails End Gallery Boutique, for many years, has been to showcase and promote local Artists through the sale of their artwork. For this service our charity takes 30% commission, which amounted to a whopping $3500 in last year. Not exactly a booming business, but a worthwhile social enterprise.
The Rails End Gallery Boutique Improvement Committee was formed a couple of years ago to see what could be done to improve its revenues and increase sales. Discussion ensued. What are The Boutique’s strengths, opportunities and weaknesses? How does it support the Rails End’s Mission to provide the general public with opportunities to explore, appreciate and experience the creative arts? Where does The Boutique fit into fundraising and how can it be bolstered? The Committee decided to tackle that persistent itch – the one that won’t go away; the fact that very few of our customers live locally. We asked is that because Haliburton residents do not buy gifts? Or does Haliburton simply not realize we exist? Could it be because we don’t have what you need? Or desire, afford or long for? At a recent trip to the Toronto Gift Show (for retail store buyers) members of the committee were flabbergasted at the sheer volume of wholesale craft and art items bound for the shelves of rural shops, most of which is NOT made in Canada. Somebody somewhere is buying this stuff so what are we doing wrong? Are we to assume that there is no appetite for hand-crafted in Haliburton County? “Not so fast!”, said the little voice inside my head… “what about that Mission Statement, the part about giving the public the opportunity to explore, appreciate and experience the creative arts? Get back to what you do well, and the rest will follow.” And so it was that the Rails End Boutique Improvement Committee gazed inward and began to see the objects in The Boutique as beautiful educational tools, not gifts; the Artists as sources of inspiration, not goods; The Boutique itself as a learning lab, not a store. I exaggerate only slightly when I say the objects spoke! “Bet you didn’t know I can go in the dishwasher” said the stoneware mug by Susanne James. “Every one of my seams is sewn in a traditional Inuit stitch, and I am made from a XXXL men’s cashmere vest”, chortled the cuddly newborn sweater set by Eva Rutherford. Not to be outdone, a Kent Graham spalted maple bowl purred, “I was pure and unblemished until I met that nasty looking fungus! Who knew it would work out so beautifully.” On and on they went. The Boutique Improvement Committee listened. Chris Montgomery’s glass beaded necklace’s said something I will remember long after it’s gone from the display case; it twinkled at me and whispered, “Not many people can wear me, but they all want to try me on. I just adore making people happy.”
Over the next few months the Rails End Gallery Boutique Improvement Committee plans to introduce Haliburton County to the wonderful world of handcrafted objects and their stories. Come, visit Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre and join the conversation.
The Boutique at Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre is open Wed – Sat 11 – 5 and Sun 12 – 3
Handcrafted objects and small works of art by Haliburton artists
Rails End Boutique is an eclectic local shopping experience and it’s a vital contributor to our public art gallery’s fundraising program. A small group of volunteers work together to display work by local artists, all of whom are members of Rails End.
Rails End Gallery Boutique is open year round. How about saying “thank you” for a lovely visit with a gift from the Boutique? Or celebrate a memorable vacation with original art?
Rails End Amazon shopping link is another way to help support our fundraising efforts. A portion of your purchase will be donated to Rails End, at no cost to you, when you use this LINK for your Amazon online shopping. Book mark it! Share it! Thanks for your support.
CLICK the above link to see some of our Artist Profiles
We are updating the Artist profile list. The Boutique features over 60 artists.