The Canadian Guild of Crafts has played a major role in the preservation of Fine Crafts in Canada and the works in its Collections (First Nations, Inuit and non Native) illuminate this legacy. Acquired over the last century and more, the Guild collected historic and contemporary Craft made by all Canadians, recovered disappearing arts and heeded its founding mission to prevent loss, extinction, and deterioration.
The historical importance and composition of its Collections reflect the concept underlying the Collections evolution. Begun in 1909, the original idea behind the Guild's permanent collection was to provide high quality examples for the preservation and teaching of craft. In the 1930' s the Guild played a leading role in the preservation of native crafts and its long tradition of engagement with the North brought Inuit art to a worldwide audience in 1949 with the first exhibition of its kind.
The Guild's ground breaking work in the revival of Craft, and protection against assimilation, and the threat of debased skills posed by cheap commercialization, has provided us with one of the most distinguished collections of its kind.
Covering a vast geographic range, diverse media, time span and social history, the Guild's collection includes more than 1000 works of art:
· Canadian Crafts;
· Inuit and First Nations art and artefacts;
· Prints ans drawings.
The Guild has been collecting Inuit art since the early 1900's and a part of this collection along with that of the First Nations can be seen on the second floor of our gallery, the remainder of which is authenticated, indexed and carefully stored in our reserves. A major part of the collection on display is comprised of Inuit art, created between 1950 and 1965, from the communities of Povungnituk, Inukjuak, and Cape Dorset.
The works on display include:
· Ustensils, weapons, and tools;
· Sculptures (stone, bone and antler);
· Clothing and Ornament.
The Guild's permanent collection and archives distinguish themselves by their very partnership and bear witness to an essential part of our heritage and future cultural history.
“CANADIAN GUILD OF CRAFTS – PERMANENT COLLECTION CATALOGUE”
This catalogue can be purchased on site.
(available in French or English)
A video of the collection can be viewed on site.
The Canadian Guild of Crafts permanent collection is an invaluable source for anyone interested in the history of Inuit and art of the First Nations.
There are collections one raves about, or that some rave
about, and there are those everyone should know about regardless of ravings.
The Canadian Guild of Crafts collection earns the raves indeed, and all
concerned with Canadian Inuit art should be familiar with it. It is a
thoroughly enjoyable experience because in part, so many artists are
The range of places, the time span, the variety of media and topics increase
the merit of this collection in which distinctive pieces abound. Especially
attractive are the small and earlier pieces which delight one, capture the
eye and provoke thoughts of the culture, the attitudes, the thinking that
produced these sculptures. It all comes from the mind and hand of the Inuit.
The collection totals a refreshing review of recent Inuit art constitutes a
distinguished tribute and an elegant witness to a remarkable people.
William E. Taylor fils
National Museum of Man