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Fundraising: the win,win,win strategy

As artists, we are constantly being asked to donate items for worthy causes. The big question is how to have the organization, the patron and the artist all benefit. We hope this will start a dialogue about how to achieve that.

The Challenge for an Organization: How to Raise Money
A Solution:
-have artists donate works to your benefit or event

The Downside for an Artist: This is not a local problem or even a regional problem. It is a problem for all artists nationwide and around the world.
1. The artists are giving away work.
2. Sometimes the work comes back. Sometimes even very successful artists’ work in benefits does not sell.
3. Artists are constantly being asked to donate their works to be auctioned at fundraising events. Many artists are happy and willing to give to many causes, but the number of times they are asked is just too many.
4. Sometimes the event does not make any money. Why? One explanation is that the cost in providing food, drink and entertainment for the event was more than the art auction took in. Then why didn’t the organizers ask the people providing the food, drink and entertainment to donate their work. A gasp followed by the comment “but these companies are professionals!”
5. Sometimes art works that were donated but did not generate any bids were taken home by volunteers working at the fundraiser for all their hard work instead of being returned to the artists.

Another Solution:
1. The organization finds local patrons to commission pieces that are put up for auction at a well-publicized event.
2. Each has a minimum price. If there is not a minimum reserve bid of at least 50 percent of the value of the piece, the artist is better off selling the painting on their own and donating the money to the organization.
3. If and when a piece sells at auction, the artist simply makes a duplicate for the patron (if desired). For example:
-the patron would pay the artist $500 for a piece
-at auction, the piece sells for $1500
-the patron gives the artist another $500 to duplicate the piece (if desired)

The Advantages for the Patron:
1. The patron has spent $1000 on an original art piece to his/her liking, gets the benefit of donating the piece to the action, and gets a tax receipt for $1500.
2. If the piece does not sell, the patron gets the original. In this case, the patron has spent $500 for an original art piece.

The Advantages for the Organization:
1. purchasers receive a tangible item for their donation; and the charity receives the funds
2. the artists are happy and willing to do it all again

The Advantages for the Artist:
1. art auctions seem like a win/win strategy.
2. it is good karma and reflects well on you. You are being asked to donate to a worthy cause. As an artist you have the  ability to give something that has value and can raise money.
3. it is exposure and can result in getting your work into a collection that opens other doors
4. puts your name on that organization’s radar.
5. it can be fun.

The Keys to Success:
1. educating affluent local citizens about the tradition of finely crafted handmade creations, pointing out originality and quality of execution
2. concept of patronage
3. publicizing the auction
4. artists must be able to deliver

As an artist,
1. DO NOT DONATE if you cannot donate something from your best quality.
2. DO NOT DONATE work you cannot sell.
3. DO NOT DONATE work that is challenging or controversial.
4. DO NOT DONATE older pieces unless you are well-known enough for them to have value.
5. DO NOT DONATE if you do not believe in the cause.
6. DO NOT DONATE a work you have overvalued.
7. DO NOT DONATE work that has value greater than can be expected to be reached in the auction.
8. DO NOT DONATE if there is not a minimum reserve bid of 50 percent of the value of the piece. Works do not necessarily sell for their true dollar value because the audience is expecting to get something for less than it would typically cost (this goes for all items, not just artwork). So, if there is less than a 50% reserve bid, you are better off selling the painting on your own and donating the money.
9. DO NOT list the benefits you have donated to on your bio. It looks like padding.

An artist must have a certain disposition and stamina. INAKA is a business combined with art. We are able to meet deadlines and give accurate estimates to help make your wishes a reality.

Metal: Cool or Hot?

metal base angledOur metal division produces a wide variety of pieces that would be unfeasible to list. Although the division makes our metal table bases and art pieces for our furniture and accessories, the main business is contract work and prototyping.


metal offcuts, steel

aluminum, brass, knurledWhatever comes through the door that needs to be drilled, milled, turned, tapped, lathed or welded can be done.

We specialize in quick turn-arounds, one-offs and small runs–basically the jobs the big companies don’t want. The CNC (computer numerical controlled) lathe expands the kind of work that can be accomplished as all the programming is done in house.


aluminum, brass

This truck stick shifter shows great design and detail.


prototyping, brass, copper, sterling silver plateI can envision different metals as a piece of interior magic for residential or commercial applications. Metal has a wide variety of visual qualities and can juxtapose with country or traditional setting, making other materials around them look better. From an artistic standpoint, metal mixed with some of our wood furniture gives a well balanced look.


Metal can contrast and compliment wood and stone, give an industrial quality and be used in unexpected ways. There are different colors and textures, giving depth and a subtle reflection of light. Unfortunately, I find it extremely hard to photograph to show off these qualities!

lathe, mill, tap, weld, drillThe Art Deco period used a lot of metals, even for chess pieces. Metal can be used in a variety of ways in interior applications, only limited by our imagination and yours!

I believe one needs an internal mechanical sense to be a great machinist. Add to that imagination, discipline, perseverance and dedication. And above all, honesty. We guarantee your piece will meet specs from engineered drawings and if we design it, we guarantee it won’t fail.

Our  metal division is located in the City of Winnipeg. If you have any questions about metal, please email us from the Contact Us page.

Once contracted, you will be dealing directly with the person actually making your piece so there are no misunderstandings.

Design: Green Card

In all aspects of our business, we try to create a built environment that is socially, environmentally and economically responsible.

  • employee transportation to work: we walk!
  • heating bills: our studio always has the fanciest firewood and birchbark to burn as waste and/or uses renewable clean electricity
  • community involvement: see What’s New: Interesting Stuff: School’s Out

Our products can help achieve the following LEED credits:
Material & Resources (MR)
Credit 3: Resource Re-use (salvaged products that were re-configured)
Credit 4.1: Recycled Content: 10% (1 Point)
Credit 4.2: Recycled Content: 20% (1 Additional Point)
Credit 5.1: Regional Materials: 10% Extracted, Processed & Manufactured (1 Point)
Credit 5.2: Regional Materials: 20% Extracted, Processed & Manufactured (1 Additional Point)

Our finish has no VOC emissions and has LEED verification in the following categories:
Material & Resources (MR)
Credit 6: Rapidly Renewable Materials (1 Point)
Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ)
Credit 4.2: Low-Emitting Adhesives and Sealants (1 Point)

Any antler products would qualify for:
Material & Resources (MR)
Credit 6: Rapidly Renewable Materials (1 Point)

Next week we will be giving you a sneak preview of a very exciting commission!




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