Artisans and craftspersons (NOC 5244)

About this job

People in this occupation:   

  • create a variety of items such as pottery, stained, blown glass, jewellery, rugs, blankets, other handicrafts, ornamental objects, and artistic floral arrangements.

Craft instructors and makers of musical instruments are included in this group. Most craftspersons are self-employed.

Floral arrangers are usually employed in florist shops and floral departments of retail establishments or may be self-employed.

Craft instructors are employed by artisan guilds, colleges, private studios and recreational organizations.

People in these occupations should be highly creative and enjoy careful, precise work. They should have the ability to work independently, as well as have good interpersonal skills to interact with clients or teach students. They should also have knowledge of computers and software, as well as online commerce and marketing.

Common job titles
  • artisan, Aboriginal craftwork
  • artisan, carver
  • artisan, cermamics
  • artisan, machinery - bellows maker
  • artisan, metal
  • artisan, paper - papermaker / book binder
  • artisan, Aboriginal craftwork
  • artisan, carver
  • artisan, cermamics
  • artisan, decorative items
  • artisan, engraving
  • artisan, floral

Duties

Carvers:

  • use hand tools and woodworking machines to produce carvings from wood, stone and other materials and to carve ornamental designs into wooden furniture and other objects

Glass blowers:

  • design and create glass objects using blowpipes and artisan's hand tools and equipment

Metal arts workers:

  • design metal jewellery, utensils, implements, wall hangings and other objects and create them using gold, silver, copper, pewter and other metals

Potters:

  • design ornamental and ceramic functional pieces and create them using clay, moulds, potter's wheels and other equipment, glazing materials and kilns

Stained glass artists:

  • design stained glass windows, lampshades and other objects and cut, paint, fire and assemble pieces of stained glass to create the products.

Instrument makers:

  • build instruments using hand and power tools, applying their knowledge of wood, ebonite, metal properties and other materials, and instrument design

Weavers:

  • use their hands or a loom to interlace strips of flexible material such as wool, cotton, silk, grasses, bark and rawhide to make baskets, wreaths, wall hangings, clothing, rugs, blankets and other objects

Artistic floral arrangers:

  • design bouquets, corsages, sprays, wreaths and other floral arrangements and select natural and artificial flowers, foliage and decorative accessories to create arrangements or other floral items to suit customers' requirements

Craft instructors:

  • prepare craftmaking lessons, gather required working materials and demonstrate and teach craftmaking techniques

Work environment

Most artisans and craftspersons are self-employed and set their own hours. They usually spend a great deal of time and effort building a reputation and selling their artwork. Most work in private studios or in their own homes, but some may also share a studio space where they may also exhibit their work.

Studio surroundings are usually bright and well-ventilated. However, artisans and craftspersons may be exposed to fumes from glue, paint, ink and other materials such as dust or residue from filings, splattered paint or spilled fluids. Workers who sit for long periods of time may experience back pain, eyestrain or fatigue.

Workers who do repetitive actions over many years may develop carpal tunnel syndrome and joint problems, as well as allergies to certain materials used, such as wool.

Increasingly, these workers use computers as part of their marketing, inventory keeping, etc.

Insights from industry

Most job opportunities over the next few years will result from retirements rather than job creation.

The health of the Tourism industry has an impact on job prospects, since visitors to the province often purchase art and craft products as mementos and gifts. In addition, the resurgence of First Nations artwork is helping to create a larger international market for the work of B.C.'s artisans and craftspersons.

Since the majority of artisans and craftspersons are self-employed, these workers must be able to combine creative talent with the small business skills of marketing, sales and sound financial management.

The internet is allowing more artisans and craftspersons to expand their marketing efforts and connect directly with buyers, eliminating the commissions paid to galleries and other intermediaries. Craftspersons that use multiple marketing choices (i.e., via the internet, trade shows, craft shows, studio sales, etc.) in addition to retail stores are likely to have greater success.

Those with higher education qualifications may be able to increase their income by teaching in their field.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Some artisans and craftspersons begin their careers in an informal apprenticeship under a more experienced worker.

With experience, workers may start their own businesses.

With additional education, some artisans may teach at a community college or university.

Additional resources