A craft exchange is giving local artists who have been cooped up in their homes something to do together.
Katrina Craig, Program Director with Manitoba Craft Council (C2 Centre for Craft), says their members will be exchanging crafts next month.
"Our members can bring in any piece of craft, whether it be artwork or a functional piece, so you could bring in something like a mug as well, you write your name on them, we arrange them and return you a surprise piece of crafty," the director says.
They are dropping the projects like pottery, paintings, and textile work off from February 10-13. The gifts will then be handed out to other crafters in the exchange.
"I am sure we are going to see some really gorgeous mugs, and bowls, and things like that, but also weavings and tapestries. Most people in craft work in textiles, ceramics, metal, glass, there is a bunch of wood."
Craig is seeing the crafters' excitement over the blind exchange
"We are really excited to see what comes out. There is such a variety."
While sign up is not necessary, she is anticipating many members will be excited to share their crafts and get something in return.
The idea to exchange goods stems from missing regular interactions. Craig says many artists often work together and for some, being isolated means they are missing the ability to share creative ideas. A lack of in-person crafting fairs also meant artists could not see what others were making.
"Our crafters are really excited to do some blind trades, and it is also a nice way of connecting with folks from afar. We normally see a lot of our members quite often at openings and this like that, and I think it is a way of remembering all these folks that you see from time to time and have relationships with."
One of the bonuses of exchanging crafts between crafters is the level of respect for the art. Craig says crafters are a generous community who typically exchange products and teach others skills. Craig says it has been difficult for some who are used to the interactions and is hopeful the exchange will help with connections.
"I am hoping they get a sense of community. We have a really strong cultural community in Manitoba, and I think that has been the hardest part for everyone is to not be as connected with that community."
Craig is hoping the blind exchange creates a sense of excitement and encouragement within the group.