Nunavut Arctic College students prepping for holiday ornament sale
Jewelry and metalwork students’ Christmas sale to be held Friday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. at Iqaluit’s main campus
Students of Nunavut Arctic College’s jewelry and metalwork program will stay late after class over the next few days to finish off copper ornaments to sell at their annual Christmas sale in Iqaluit.
This year, the ornament sale will take place at the college’s main campus on Friday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. It has been running each December for over 15 years.
Lavinia Van Heuvelen, the program’s studio technician, said often these sales sell out within just an hour.
Each piece is unique and hand-crafted, with hours or, in some cases, days spent perfecting the ornament, made from dix gold, a brass and copper alloy.
The six students should each have nine ornaments to sell on Friday. They will sell their ornaments for about $40 to $60 each and will keep the money.
The students will have worked on these ornaments for about two weeks by the time of the sale, said Van Heuvelen.
Designing, crafting and marketing the Christmas ornaments is part of the business and communications course in the college’s metalwork and jewelry program.
“Some students are carvers, so they’ll have sold some artwork before, but for others it is their first sales experience,” Van Heuvelen said.
In the program, students learn how to prepare for a sale, what to make, how to advertise and how to talk to media in order to sell their own artwork in the future.
They hone their designing skills, transferring their designs on to metal using a saw frame specific to jewelry-making and file the edges to a smooth finish, said Beata Hejnowicz, the program’s senior instructor.
After applying the drawing or design onto the metal―a process called chasing―the students shape the piece and then polish it to a high luster on polishing lathes.
New to the Nunavut art world, Kaleigh Tagak has some Sedna designs ready for the sale, and Sam Qiatsuq is carving away at iglus, geese and an ulu with a bird-headed handle.
Friday night’s ornament sale will also mark 20-year-old Priscilla Kigusiutnak’s first time selling her creations.
It has taken her nearly two days to work on the shiny, detailed parka ornament she had almost completed by noon on Tuesday.
“The ornaments are made locally and you’re supporting an artist. It’s not like going to Northmart to buy a gift, you’re supporting the local arts,” Van Heuvelen said.
“Also―they’re just beautiful.”