C2 Shop Trunk Sale: Women Helping Women Beadwork

C2 Shop Trunk Sale: Women Helping Women Beadwork

December 2, 2022 | 5-9pm


C2 is excited to be hosting a Trunk Sale with Women Helping Women Beadwork, a non-profit collective that sells beadwork for Indigenous women from the Women’s Correctional Centre in Headingley Manitoba & other federal facilities in Western Canada. Women Helping Women currently sells work for 40+ individuals, putting all the money into the artists’ trust accounts, EMT to family members on their behalf, or towards the purchase of phone bundles and other items.

100%  of all sales during the Trunk Show will go directly to the makers.

You can follow Women Helping Women on Instagram @womenhelpingwomen_beadwork and find out  more about this project below!

Women Helping Women – More than just a Sales Venue

Since launching in July 2020, their Instagram account has seen 1784 posts and attracted over 16.1K followers. The page features a seemingly endless stream of sumptuous beaded jewellery and other items, all gorgeously photographed, all for sale. While the impressive quantity and quality of posts would suggest a big operation, the account is actually run by one woman working from her dining room table in Southeast Winnipeg.

It all started back in 2019 when founder Sandra Burling’s daughter was dating a young Indigenous man. His mom, Tryli, was incarcerated at the time and was sending them gifts of her beadwork. The artwork was stunning, and Sandra asked Tryli if she might be interested in selling her pieces. From that initial conversation emerged Women Helping Women Beadwork Collective, a truly grassroots initiative selling beadwork by incarcerated Indigenous women.

Three years later, well over 1000 pieces of beaded jewellery have been sold and mailed to supporters around the globe: France, Australia, Northern Ireland, dozens of US cities and all across Canada, to name but a few. Buyers pay for shipping, and 100% of the sale proceeds go back to the beaders. WHWBC currently sells for 40+ women from the Women’s Correctional Centre in Headingley and some federal facilities in Western Canada. All of the money goes into trust accounts, EMTs to family members, or towards purchasing phone bundles or other items the women request.

Women Helping Women Beadwork Collective Founder, Sandra Burling, packaging sales at her dining room table.
WHWBC has slowly evolved into more than selling beadwork. Longer-term relationships are formed. When the women are released, they often have no personal belongings, and Sandra is asked to make clothing purchases and pick them up. It’s a chance to say hello face to face, grab a coffee, and buy some basic necessities before being dropped off at their destination. In many cases, Sandra’s contact with the women continues as they settle into the next phase of their lives. If they continue to bead, Sandra continues to sell their work.

Some of the women who’ve sold work through WHWBC have few supports on the outside. Compounded by negative societal views of those who’ve spent time in jail, release can be a very difficult time. “It makes me sad that people are tossed back out into society without proper supports, without medication or housing,” Sandra says. Her motto is “love, support, kindness, and no judgement.” Her goal is to be an ally to the beaders and help in any way she can.

Since the beginning, Sandra has been running WHWBC on her own. She communicates with the beaders, receives or picks up their work, stages and photographs it, posts it on Instagram, closes deals with buyers, packages and mails out their work, sees to it that the makers get the proceeds, and offers support. She does all of this from her home while also working a full-time job. While Sandra acknowledges that it can be overwhelming at times, she exudes positivity and energy. Her love for and commitment to “the ladies” is unwavering.

Until this point, WHWBC has sold work online exclusively. On Friday, December 2, 5-9 pm, Sandra will be at the C2 Centre for Craft for a ONE NIGHT ONLY Trunk Sale featuring dozens of beaded pieces. This is a chance for fans and supporters of this unique project to meet Sandra, and perhaps even a beader or two, in-person and purchase some beautiful beadwork directly.

“We’re thrilled to support this kind of initiative,” says Manitoba Craft Council Director, Tammy Sutherland. “We’ve been following their IG account for some time and have been so impressed with the quality and originality of work the women are producing. When Lily, one of our shop committee members, brought forward the idea of hosting a trunk show with them, we jumped at the chance. Sandra has amazing vision and energy, and we’re excited to meet some of the beaders and honour their work at this event.”

This event is a co-production of Women Helping Women Beadwork Collective, Manitoba Craft Council, and Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library.

Two Ways to Help

1. Join us and make a purchase at the Trunk Sale. One night only!
Meet Sandra and maybe even one or two of the beaders.
Cash, credit, debit or EMT payments accepted.
Friday, December 2, 5-9 pm
C2 Centre for Craft
1-329 Cumberland Ave

2. Follow Women Helping Women on Instagram
You’ll find them at @womenhelpingwomen_beadwork. DM Sandra to buy one the beautiful beaded artworks.

Tammy Sutherland, MCC Director
204.615.3951 or 204.774.7546
[email protected]

Sandra Burling, Founder, Women Helping Women Beadwork Collective
[email protected]
IG @womenhelpingwomen_beadwork