"I would think the value of the native crafts comes from their unique way of crafting them. It almost sounds like you have the intentions of comercializing their crafts... Just wondering???"
Eskimo artist have no access to carving tools, these are villages where there is only one store which sells a small amount of food and some odds and ends. Though in older days ivory was carved using chipped stone....we have progressed to an era where we prefer motorized tools to carve...no commercialization...can`t do that with high end art pieces. I am in fact at the moment finding and buying tools for friends and family, but at no cost.
"again wonder if there is going to be a distinctive difference from their art and the next native art designs. In the view of the average consumer. Yes I understand all art is unique.."
Art from Alaskan Eskimo`s is unique in design...but mostly in medium. The Eskimo people are one of the few people who can still create and sell art pieces using Walrus Ivory, Baleen, Polar bear hide, and various other mediums obtained from subsistance hunting.
But if we are going to presume native art is native art, there has to be a government tracking of said sales outside the native communities, sorry I don`t where that would be though
As far as I can see there is none. Pieces that are bought from the North Slope reagion are usually bought by wild and adventurous scientists, tourists and such. Though there are some restrictions on some items, which can be taken out of state or country, I have yet to find the Fish and Game people warm to my questions.
I have one family member who had to move from the village just to sell his baleen baskets. Though he sells all his pieces at a premium price, there is more demand than he can readily supply. He is also limited in the amount of baleen he can use..by the distance (no roads folks..gotta fly) and by culture (you can receive baleen only if you helped in the hunting of the whale). And this is just one example.
Another thing I should clarify is that we are not attached to the rest of the world like others in the lower 48....And even more so if you live in a village. I have often handed over a catalog to a friend and have them hand it right back, most have no computers, and all want to see and touch an item before buying. I have bought art pieces for store owners all over the north west, but because I was in school at the time it was too time consuming. I have since realized that I loved that work, because it makes everyone happy .....including me.
It is my mission to satify both artist and customer. I have a deep love for my people and am pained to see them struggle in a world that relies on the paper dollar. We have no jobs here, and those that are available require some sort of education. But we do have beautiful amd unique art...And shops and collectors that crave them.
I am still at a loss as to where to look to find the numbers.