Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working towards being prepared to be one of the exhibitors at The Mannings Annual Spinning Day. It was an opportunity not only to promote the website, but more importantly, to showcase making and using what I like to call “Expressive” yarns aka “art yarns”.
To do the genre justice, I called on some friends to help me and so, last Saturday, Christiane Knight of Three Ravens and Elizabeth Stottlemyer of Hobbledehoy joined me for what turned out to be a simply fantastic day and experience. Elizabeth was at the carder for most of the day making art batts and giving out samples. This was a big hit! Christiane set up her Spinolution and spun her heart out demonstrating a number of techniques, talking about her wheel and helping people with their spinning questions including giving some on the fly instruction.
In the meantime, I sort of filled in where needed by greeting folks, finding out what their interests are, spinning, and talking about the many finished objects and yarns that were on display. It was so great to meet so many new people who were excited about what we were doing. And, the best part was meeting people who read the posts here and getting to connect in person.
We also had the crocheted teepee set up in honor of International Yarnbombing Day along with free yarnbomb kits for the kids. It was the last East Coast appearance for the teepee. It’s hitting the road to California in the next couple of weeks and not coming back. I realized that it’s time to let go so that we can make something else. The teepee had a good position on the grounds — I’m sure people coming around the corner as they arrived were a little surprised.
One of the most interesting phenomenons of the day was the excitement of people recognizing the yarns from my collection from the artists whose work they have seen online but never in person. It was really meaningful for a lot of people and I was so happy to share my collection and watch the enjoyment it brought to folks.
In my over-achieving way, I envisioned that I would get around to all the other booths and shoot a really cool video for the website. I did make a quick tour around but only managed to shoot this little video-ette for you of our booth where you can see Elizabeth and Christiane in action.
While we were not permitted to sell anything at the booth, of course, quite a few people asked about whether they could buy things. I stopped selling my own yarns quite awhile ago and I don’t first think of myself as a fiber artist. In fact, in explaining to people why they couldn’t buy my things, I said something outloud that I’ve never said before but have felt for quite awhile: I’m an activist for this community. I want more people to see the depth and range of artistry that exists here. I want the market to grow. I want more people to enjoy the freedom and possibility from making and using these fibers and yarns. If I make a difference in this way, then I have succeeded in my quest.
Like I said, it was simply a great day. Big thanks again to my wonderful signficant other, Damon who helps me with everything and my wonderful friends, Christiane and Elizabeth!