Last week I got to peek into a few of the lectures and workshops that were taking place in Pender Harbour as part of the 17th International Fungi & Fibre Symposium. People from 15 countries gathered to study the magical art of mushroom dyeing. I met participants from Denmark, Norway, the United States and Australia, many of whom have been attending the biennial around the world for years. Some of them came with friends and others were pleasantly surprised to be bunking with people from their country, whom they'd never met. It was clear that everyone was in their element and soaking up the rare opportunity to geek out with others who share this rare interest.
The field of mushroom dyeing is vast, and from what I can gather even specialists are continuously learning from each dye pot and 'experiment' - a word I heard a lot last week. With pH levels and water quality playing keys roles, not to mention the endless (millions, really) species of mushrooms to study around the world, there is no shortage of experiments to be had.
Enjoy the video! Below you can find links to all the people and places I mention in it.
Fungi & Fibre Symposium 2016
Fibreworks Studio & Gallery
Caitlin Ffrench - instructor of Ecoprinting with Mushroom Dust
Ursula Bentz - instructor of nuno felting
Sunshine Coast Fibreshed
PS The 18th Fungi & Fibre Symposium will be just outside Oslo, Norway in 2018
Last Sunday after being in Vancouver for three days (ie away from my son for two whole nights!) I found that I was locked out of the apartment where I'd been staying. I had to choose to either miss a ferry or go without my computer for 7 days. Much to my own surprise I chose the latter - I was just so pooped and had a 3 hour commute ahead of me. So, I wish I had been able to post this Knit City recap sooner, but better late than never.
This year was my first time attending Knit City and I was over the moon the whole weekend. Between teaching a super fun class and seeing all the new books and designs that have just come out by local designers (and the locally made yarns that go with them. Oh, and awesome food trucks) I was in absolute heaven.
So, enjoy the video above. Be sure to turn your volume up for my narration. Below are all the local links that go with it. I'd love to hear about your Knit City stories in the comments, too.
In the Knit City 2016 recap:
Knit City is approaching quickly - it's only two weekends away!
Over the past six years living between MontreaI and New York my partner and I have both been students, so every year I'd try to coordinate being in Vancouver in the fall but I could never swing it. So, this will be my first year attending Knit City - I can't believe it took me five years!
I've heard so many awesome things about Fiona and Amanda, the awesome women over at Knit Social who run the event, and I hear nothing but good things, and how much fun people have between the classes, lectures and marketplace. Every year I oogle over all the Instagram pictures and this year I can actually take notes and make my rounds - I'm so stoked. Some things I'm excited about are the Hinterland Straits collection of patterns from Hinterland Textiles featuring local designers Jane Richmond, Shannon Cook, Andrea Rangel and Lindsay Inouye of Standard Knits and seeing some locally made yarn that I'm constantly drooling over online but are not the easiest to browse in person (ie, they're mostly available online) like Rain City Knits, Hinterland Textiles and Sweet Fibre among others.
I'll be teaching a full-day tapestry weaving class on the Saturday (which is sold out! Yay!) and then giving a free tapestry loom demonstration on Sunday October 2nd at 11:30. Come to the demonstration to learn about various ways that you can make and use tapestry looms as well as a demonstration of a Mirrix Loom and electric treadle (my favourite portable commercial tapestry loom). Other than that I'll be hanging out in the Unwind Knit & Fibre Lounge booth with Kim. Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces!
See you there,
Janna Maria Vallee is a tapestry weaver, longtime knitter, and 2013 graduate of Concordia University's Fibres and Material Practices program. In her art practice Janna combines textiles and socially engaged media. She founded VY in 2008.