Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Able to Get Inuit Dolls But Most Must Stay in Canada

I now have a source of nice Inuit dolls made by various Inuit women in Cape Dorset. However, the vast majority of these Inuit dolls have some sealskin as part of the materials. Therefore, I am not able to ship most of these dolls to the US. This is because of the strict international restrictions on exporting and importing items with marine mammal parts - see Export of Inuit Art. This is a shame because there is a good sized doll collector market in the US and they can't have access to these dolls. I have chosen not to stock these Inuit dolls as a result. However, upon request I could check my source at any time to see if they have the odd doll that doesn't have any seal skin. I did this for a customer in Idaho who is a big doll collector and was able to get one for her. Of course, I could always get access to these Inuit dolls for my Canadian customers.

I told my source to spread the word back to the Inuit doll makers that they should stop using seal skin on their artwork if they wish to get their dolls sold outside Canada, particularly the US which is potentially their largest market. We'll see if they make any changes in the future. If they don't, they are really limiting themselves in regards to Inuit arts and crafts sales.

Most of Free Spirit Gallery's Inuit Art does not contain any marine mammal parts and therefore are exportable worldwide.


Anonymous said...

I was going through some old dolls that I have and was trying to find on the internet what my tag says on my eskimo doll. One says,
'authentic Eskimo DEsign, Canada's Largest Selection of Eskimo Dolls, J.P.S. (Handcrafted,LTD., Burlington, Canada#11237" Have you ever heard of this doll or do you know where I could find out anything about this? The doll is about35 years old.

Clint said...

Sorry to disappoint you but just because something is an 'authentic Eskimo design' doesn't mean that it was something that was actually made by an Inuit. This is how the souvenir producers fool you into believing that you are getting something 'authentic'. Original dolls are made up north and come with an official Government Igloo tag.