Imagine That! is an artisan-run co-operative store in Duncan in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, B.C.
For many artisans, the road to selling originated as a hobby. Spurred on by encouragement from family and friends, coupled with the practical need to replenish supplies motivates many artists to try the retail route. Imagine That Artisans’ Designs in downtown Duncan is a popular hub for more than 95 local artisans to sell their creative wares.
Turning one’s passion into profit can be scary, however, especially for new artists and artisans. It’s one thing to give your labour of love to a family member or friend as a gift. It’s quite another thing to sell to the public. Confidence comes with friendly encouragement and support from other artists.
Imagine That opened twenty-three years ago. Four local artisans got together to sell their work, and to share advertising and accounting services. “It made sense to have a rental space and sell on commission,” says second-term President Margot Page who has been with the store for 20 years. “The store offers stability and broad exposure for artists and artisans. We’re open six days a week rain or shine,” she notes.
The original works of seven established glass artists as well as the beautiful needlework of Sandra Greenaway will be on display at Imagine That for the month of August. The glass artists are: Joyce Leroux – Duncan (stained glass windows, boxes and sun-catchers); Bruce Coney – Saltspring Island (painted glass cruet bottles); Hazel Galey – Parksville (stained and fused glass windows); Peggy Bracket – Crofton (fused glass jewellery); Gail Hook – Nanaimo (Lamp glass jewellery); Ted Jolda – Ladysmith (blown glass ornaments and party glasses), and Veronica Scott – Duncan (glass mosaics). Sandra’s creations includes kimono, jackets, bags and scarves.
Imagine That is operated by entirely by volunteers who are artists themselves. “This little store is an amazing community of creative people,” she said. “It’s an ideal opportunity to meet other artists, to get ideas, and to acquire information. This is one of the most successful co-operatives in British Columbia. We’re always on the look-out for more local consignment artists.
We’re also interested in artists who would like to help oversee the operations of the store as ‘Members.’ This is a long-term commitment. We currently have three Members and 14 Helpers. If you would like more information, please contact the store at 250-748-6776.
The article was written by Veronica Scott.