Worldwide Knit in Public Day is this Saturday, June 10th! There are quite a few destinations in and around Vancouver, so I've made a list for you which is a compilation of ones from the WWKP list and a couple others that I've been notified about that aren't on that list. Feel free to email me with other meeting points and I'll gladly add them.
If you're planning on going to Maker Faire that day bring your knitting and come say hi to me after 1:30pm in the Textile Village.
Ingy Knit in Dundarave
2460 marine dr west Vancouver B.C 10am-2pm
Unwind Knit & Fibre Lounge
Gibsons, BC 10:30-2:30
Vancouver's Mini Maker Faire is coming up on June 10th and 11th at the PNE Forum and after signing up to participate in the textile village I realized that I know very little about the event. I figured, surely I'm not the only one. So, naturally I wanted to find out more and share with you. Vancouver Mini Maker Faire co-founder Emily Smith agreed to answer a few questions! Lucky us! Read on for a mini-interview...
JANNA: Hey Emily, Thanks for sharing about Maker Faire. Can you explain what it is and how have you been involved?
EMILY: Maker Faire was born in San Mateo and is a merging together of projects and subcultures. From Burning Man enthusiasts, to Silicon valley innovators, computer hackers, urban farmers, tiny house builders, art cars, and more - it's where people share their passion projects and wild feats of imagination. It's a celebration of DIY advocacy, and a place where failure is celebrated, and making "for the fun of it" is encouraged.
Vancouver Mini Maker Faire is an offshoot of Maker Faire, and was founded back in 2011 as a result of a wild idea thrown out at a "Super Happy Hacker House" at the Vancouver Hacker Space. A few of us got together with no previous event management experience, and with a lot of hard work and a community effort, made it happen. The faire is all about learning by doing, risk-taking, and bringing together community. I was involved as a lead organizer for the first 3 years and have since served on the board, and am now community ambassador, building the textile village stitch & bitch area and helping out where I can!
JANNA: Is this the first year you're having a textile village? What will that look like?
EMILY: Nope! I've been organizing the textile village for about the past 3 years or so. So far, there will be some looms, knitting machines, spinning, and more! There are about 26 or so people signed up to craft together. We're still accepting more applications!
JANNA: Oh, cool! Yeah, I'm signed up for a 4-hour block on the Saturday. I'm bringing my 16" Mirrix tapestry loom. It'll be my first time at the Vancouver Maker Faire. I've actually only ever been to the Mini Maker Faire briefly last year in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast, so I'm stoked to finally attend and participate in Vancouver.
I love this idea of people in the community coming together to share their skills. In my own art practice, I've done a lot of crafting and sharing textile skills in public. I'm not very familiar with your personal practice, but from what I've seen online it seems like Maker Faire has influenced your art practice... or perhaps vice versa. Can you tell me a bit about what you do and which came first?
EMILY: Yes, absolutely! I learned to knit when I was a kid, and it wasn't until a few years before Maker Faire (around 2008) that I picked it up again. Reading Make magazine really inspired me! And showed me that knitting and handicrafts are relevant and can even be critical.
Once I started knitting again - with an adult brain - I became curious about the fibres that made up the yarn. I guess it all really came as a reaction against fast fashion and the negative impacts of fashion overall. That curiosity motivated me learn more about the various fibres, their impacts, and study more closely how those fibres were manufactured. I was spending time with hackers at the time, whose ethos was, "If you can't open it you don't own it" - and in many ways, I was looking at textiles in the same way. What would it mean to 'hack' your clothes?
I find knitting to be a very social activity - and I found that I definitely wasn't alone in my curiosity about how to work with cloth. Immediately I started hosting craft nights everywhere. My house, the park, the hackspace, etc. I really fell in love with the idea of connecting with others over making.
In terms of what influenced what, I would say that Maker Faire and my own art process emerged concurrently. As soon as I was making for the love of it and sharing it with others, it became clear that my art practice was about empowering communities to take part and discover and share with one another. I share what I learned; they share what they know. In many ways, I'm more interested in the culture, conversation and performative aspect of making, than of having a specific art piece. I've made lots of different pieces that I'm proud of, but I choose to highlight the patterns of connection and discovery with others.
JANNA: There are more and more artists highlighting meaningful connections with others in their work these days. It's great! The craft and the do-it-yourself world are so prevalent online, but that space can be very alienating as each person independently navigates how to actually connect with people there. I'm still figuring out how to make the internet work for me in that way. I love that Maker Faire merges technology and actual socializing. It looks like an interactive science faire for the whole family. I was going to get a babysitter for the day but after looking through all your photos I think I would spend the day wishing my four-year-old could be there, too. I think I'll bring him and see what happens (maybe I'll bring a g-ma for back up)
This month has been full of strangeness and sickness for me, so I've generally pushed back any/all self-inflicted deadlines that I have made for myself to focus on taking care of myself in all ways. I'm still in the middle of that cyclical cold that seems to never go away, but my energy is beginning to increase so I'm finally getting this out to you. Thanks for your patience.
Here's what I've been up to this past month (it's more that I thought! I also snuck in two weekend trips. No wonder I'm pooped.)
- I'm knitting this sweet cardigan by local designer Elena Nodel. I can tell already that I'm going to make a million of these. It's a beautiful pattern that develops before your eyes as you introduce new colours as you like. It's just so much fun and super easy. The designer, Elena is currently facing some major health issues and she needs financial help. So, buying her patterns is one way to support her. Or if you can contribute a larger sum go to her GoFundMe page here.
-A few weeks ago I blogged about why I like knitting with two strands of yarn held together.
-This week I shared on the blog about my Frankencardi that I made out of two patterns combined plus a lot of editing. I knit it over three years. I just wasn't loving it...until the very end, because it's awesome.
-Last month I visited Urban Yarns' new-to-me North Van location and it's gorgeous! It's perfect for a quick stopover for people coming off Horseshoe Bay ferries on your way into the city. I picked up this seafoam green Sweetgeorgiayarn to knit the locally designed Hoar Frost Shawl with, which I can't stop thinking about but haven't gotten around to casting on.
-Last week I visited Maiwa's new naturally dyed linen yarn and took home two light indigo skeins which I'm designing a simple shawl/scarf with (above). I can already feel it softening up as my hands work with it. It is going to be mostly garter stitch and I've debated about whether to continue in knit stitch or frog it and knit it in purl stitch using Portuguese style knitting. The pattern will be written in knit stitch but when knitting Portuguese-style knitting I prefer to purl!
-And this week I discovered a local podcast, Two Tips, and I love it. Seriously, people, you need to tell me about these things before they're in episode 37! This town is too happening for me to know all the things :) Oh, that reminds me,Kim Werker's podcast is back, too!
Vancouver, are there any other gems you're hiding from me? Of course there are! Be sure to let me know so I can list them. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, I'm Janna. I'm a tapestry weaver, longtime knitter, 2013 graduate of Concordia University's Fibres and Material Practices program, and co-founder of Everlea Textiles. In my art practice I combine textiles and socially engaged media. Here on the VY blog I mostly share my knits, local events and about other local artists and crafters.