Northern Images

FAQ

Inuit Art Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

 
         
 
 
 

2.  How do the artists get paid?

3.  Does my purchase “make a difference”?

4. How do I know my artwork is authentic?

5.  Can you appraise my sculpture/collection?

6.  What should I look for when purchasing a sculpture?

7.  What factors affect the price of a sculpture?

8.  Will my sculpture increase in value?

9.  What types of stone are used in sculptures?

10.  What other materials are used in artwork?

11.  Why are sculptures different colours?

12.  Where does the stone come from?

13.  Do styles of art vary between regions of the Arctic?

14.  Do you share mailing list information?

15.  What payment methods do you accept?

16.  Will I be charged sales taxes on my purchase?

17.  Will I be charged duty on my purchase?

18.  Do you ship worldwide?

19.  How will my item(s) be shipped?

20.  Will my shipment be insured for its full value?

21.  What happens if my sculpture arrives damaged?

22.  What is your return or exchange policy?

23.  What are the regulations re: shipping whalebone and ivory?

24.  Why is the item I viewed on your website not available?

25.  Do you have a program for Corporate clientele?

26.  How do I care for my artwork?

27.  Can’t find a specific item you’re looking for?

28.  Have another question?

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  1.  Who is / who owns Northern Images (NI)?

Northern Images is the retail art marketing arm of Arctic Co-operatives Limited, a co-operative service organization owned and controlled by the 32 community-based, multi-purpose Co-operatives in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon.  Arctic Co-operatives Limited is dedicated to providing services and business development opportunities to communities throughout Canada’s north.  Northern Images supports and promotes northern artists and their products by marketing Inuit and Dene art and crafts in our gallery located in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

 2.  How do the artists get paid?

A cornerstone of the Northern Images operation is our commitment to fair and timely compensation for Co-op member-artists. The artists bring their original works of art to their local community Co-operatives where it is professionally valued and purchased before it even leaves the community. The Co-ops forward the artwork to our Mississauga show room for distribution to various galleries, including Northern Images, where it is displayed and marketed to the public.

3.  Does my purchase “make a difference”?

Absolutely! Through the promotion and sale of authentic Inuit art, we perpetuate this market for future generations and assist in ensuring the sustainability of the northern heritage, while providing an essential cash flow to the participating Co-op member-artists and their communities.

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4.  How do I know my artwork is authentic?

The Igloo tag is your guarantee of authenticity. Artwork marketed by Northern Images comes with this tag, certifying the piece was handmade by Canadian Inuit artists. The igloo symbol is registered by the Government of Canada and can only be attached to original Inuit sculptures and art from northern Canada.  (For more information, click here - Authenticity and Igloo Tag.)

5. Can you appraise my sculpture/collection?

Sorry, we do not offer an appraisal service at this time.

6.  What should I look for when purchasing a sculpture?

Look for a piece that appeals to you personally, and is within your price range. The overall composition and subject, the type and colour of the stone, the amount of detail, whether or not it depicts motion, the fine finishing … these are all some of the factors for you to consider. (For further information on choosing sculptures and prints, click here Choosing Art.)

7.  What factors affect the price of a sculpture?

Although some of the criteria in FAQ #6 may affect the price of a sculpture, perhaps the most important factor is the artist’s reputation. A beautiful carving done by an unknown Emerging Artist will not command the higher price point that a similar sculpture carved by a world-renowned Master Carver would.

8.  Will my sculpture increase in value?

Many factors are responsible for the value of Inuit sculptures, making this art form an excellent investment.

For example:

a)  International interest in Inuit art continues to grow substantially.

b)  Supply and Demand:

-  With the formation of Nunavut, the number of carvers is beginning to decline as more 
   lucrative career opportunities become available. These jobs are much less physically 
   demanding than hand-mining carving stone, which is dangerous and gruelling work.

-  Adverse Arctic weather conditions can hamper long mining expeditions, making higher-paying,
   indoor government jobs (with benefits) much more appealing to the younger generation.

-  The mines are usually situated a substantial distance from artists’ communities, requiring many
   days of travel that make holding a non-traditional job difficult.

 c)  The best carvers of animals seem to be hunters who have a first-hand familiarity with the animals they carve.
      Younger people are now purchasing food from grocery stores rather than hunting for it and, therefore, they 
      are missing out on this traditional resource to add quality to their carvings.

Over time, as fewer quality pieces become available, the value may increase.

9.  What types of stone are used in sculptures?

Some of the many types of stone used for carving Inuit sculptures, from various regions, include:

• Serpentine
• Basalt
• Limestone
• Argillite
• Siltstone
• Dolomite
• Quartzite
• Marble
• Soapstone

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10.  What other materials are used in artwork?           

In addition to various types of stone, sculptures are also made using other natural materials such as whalebone and ivory, musk ox horn, caribou antler, leather hides, etc.  (For more information on shipping certain natural materials, click here - Export Restrictions.)

11.  Why are sculptures different colours? 

The colour of stone varies between regions as a result of the varying mineral content of the land from where it is quarried.

12.  Where does the stone come from? 

Artists get their own stone from mines in their region, usually located a significant distance from their home community. After several days of travelling to the desired location, artists mine the stone by hand using picks, axes, grinders and crowbars. Dynamite cannot be used because it damages the stone. After manually removing the stone from the mine piece by piece, it is loaded and hauled back to the community. As there is only a small window of time to retrieve an adequate supply of stone for 8 - 10 months of work over the winter months, the artist may have to make several return trips to the mine for additional supplies.

13.  Do styles of art vary between regions of the Arctic? 

Just as the type of stone or other medium used to create beautiful works of art varies between regions, so do artistic styles. As a result of the type of stone that is available for artists to work with, each art-producing community has developed its favourite themes and styles.

14.  Do you share mailing list information?  

No.  All our transactions are private and confidential. We do not share any information that is shared with us. All information you provide is gathered in accordance with Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).  Click here to review our Privacy Policy.

15.  What payment methods do you accept? 

We accept Visa and Mastercard credit cards.

16.  Will I be charged sales taxes on my purchase? 

Yes, where applicable.

17.  Will I be charged duty on my purchase? 

Yes, where applicable.

18.  Do you ship worldwide? 

Yes, with the appropriate export documentation. (Please refer to Export Restrictions.)

19.  How will my item(s) be shipped? 

Northern Images will utilize the most appropriate carrier based on various shipping criteria
(e.g. destination, weight, dimensions, etc.)   Click here for our complete
Shipping Policy.

20.  Will my shipment be insured for its full value? 

Your shipment is insured for loss or damage by the carrier.

21.  What happens if my sculpture arrives damaged? 

We take great care to pack your shipment to ensure damages do not occur.  In the unlikely event an item is damaged during shipping, please contact us immediately for instructions.

22.  What is your return or exchange policy? 

We offer an exchange within 30 days, with appropriate prior approval by an authorized Northern Images Associate.  (Click here to read our complete Merchandise Return for Exchange Policy.)

23.  What are the regulations re: shipping whalebone and ivory? 

It is prohibited, under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, to ship any art or artifact created from a marine mammal, including whalebone, ivory walrus tusks and ivory narwhal tusks, to the United States. Internationally, each country has its own specific regulations. Be sure to check with customs officials prior to purchasing any of these materials in order to avoid severe penalties. Written export clearance must be obtained prior to shipping.  (Click here for information on Export Restrictions.)

24. Why is the item I viewed on your website not available? 

The item may have been purchased by another customer.

25. Do you have a program for Corporate clientele? 

We do!  Our Corporate Program encompasses a 

a)  Recognition Program  –  Recognize staff milestones, dedication or performance with a unique reward they 
                                                    are sure to treasure. 

b)  Gifting Program  –  Thank your board members, clients or guest speakers with a stunning gift of authentic 
                                          Inuit art. 

c)  Décor Program  –  Decorate your halls and offices with beautiful sculptures and prints depicting real life or 
                                         the mythology of Canada’s Arctic.

26. How do I care for my artwork?  

Handle your carving with care to avoid scratches (e.g. from jewellery) and/or breakage. Carefully support your carving with non-slippery, latex gloves when moving it. To clean, dust it with a soft cloth, or use a watercolour paint brush to dust away dirt embedded in crevices.

Bone, antler and ivory pieces should be kept away from doorways, air vents and direct sunlight. Ivory, in particular, reacts to changing humidity levels by swelling and shrinking, which can cause the piece to crack and warp. Ivory also yellows naturally. This is its natural patina; do not attempt to bleach it out.

Prints should be displayed in darker areas, as they can fade if exposed to too much light (sunlight or artificial). 

(For more information click here -
Caring For Your Art.)

27.  Can’t find a specific item you’re looking for?  

Simply give us a call or send us an e-mail with the particulars, such as the desired subject matter (e.g. polar bear, owl sculpture, print, etc.) and the approximate dimensions. We would be pleased to help you select the perfect piece to compliment your décor.

28.  Have another question? 

 E-mail us at: WebSales@ArcticCo-op.com