Hand-sculpted hockey jerseys a ‘unique’ project for Edmonton artist

An Edmonton artist with an enthusiasm for sports has hit the market with a series of unique, collectible sculptures of hockey jerseys.

“I made this,” Janet Deane said. “How many people do we know in Edmonton who created something from start to finish? It’s not an easy thing.”

It took Deane about 80 hours to sculpt the original mini jersey. It was shipped to a manufacturer in China who then created moulds and hand-painted replicas made from plastic resin.

Along with her business partner, Deane created a company called Sorturii to have a royalty guarantee with the National Hockey League that allows them to use logos and colours of NHL teams.

“I just wanted to make stuff,” she said.

But if she’s going to make something, it’s got to be unique, she said.

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Packaged with adhesive numbers and letters in team-specific fonts, each mini jersey can be personalized — perfect for fans of players who rarely get marketed on collectables, or fans who want to remember an event or special date, said Deane.

Deane, 48, has done commissioned artwork — from digital prints to paintings to hand-sculpted trophies — for a long list of players, teams and local charity organizations.

Creating personalized works of art for players to commemorate career milestones has been a thrill, but Deane said she has experienced a lot of entrepreneurial ups and downs that led her to this point in her career, which began at a young age, she said.

“I was selling snails when I was eight years old,” she said.

While she’s done a lot of sports-related art, she isn’t focused on it exclusively.

Deane opened an art gallery at the age of 22 to sell work by university and college students, pitched her products on the business investment show Dragon’s Den, painted art on toenails for charity, and created trophies for international championship events.

Coming up with a unique idea, turning that invention into a reality, and then being able to market it and make a profit comes with unpredictable challenges.

“It’s a cutthroat business.”

Eventually, Deane said she would like to grow her idea into a larger product list that includes more teams and even other sports leagues.

The mini jerseys, featuring the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, are available online and in-store from West Edmonton Coin and Stamp for $39.95.

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