Community is what I’m all about.
Hello, my beautiful fiber community!
Today, I want to talk about just that – COMMUNITY. It’s something I am pretty well known for, the boosting and support and championing of the idea and ideal of a fiber arts community. Let’s start off by defining what I’m talking about:
Last week, I wrote about how I am personally feeling and dealing with the changes and shifts in the fiber business world, and the crafting world in general. I heard from a lot of y’all about your personal experiences in response to that post! I heard from shepherds, dyers, spinners, and a variety of other fiber artists. I also have been chatting with folks in other arts and crafts, and have heard much the same message there: times are hard right now. Things are slower. It’s not because people don’t value what we’re making. It’s just harder to justify spending on as many handmade objects and materials, it seems.
Just this past week, I heard about two big yarn related companies calling it quits. Lantern Moon, which carries yarn and notions, is calling it quits; and Classic Elite Yarns, which has been around since the 1940s and has distributors everywhere, is shutting its doors – the owner is retiring. Etsy is shutting down Etsy Wholesale, with the announcement declaring,
“While the original promise of Etsy Wholesale was exciting and some sellers have had great success on the platform, what we’ve learned over the past several years is that demand for wholesale from buyers hasn’t been as strong as we hoped.”
My favorite bead shop in DC, Beadazzled, is closing its Dupont Circle location – I used to frequent the Baltimore location but that’s long gone, too. Soon the only one left will be the Falls Church VA location, and I fear that one won’t last either. This is where I would normally preach the “shop local and from small businesses/artisans” but you know all that. You already do it. The reality is that things are shifting. This is when community is REALLY important. This is where we have to band together to really help each other out, y’all.
Go to a local fiber festival, yarn crawl, spin-in, trunk show. Buy stuff, tell your friends. Especially tell your friends if you can’t afford to buy stuff yourself.
Repost/retweet/forward the email/tweet/post. Even if you think you won’t make a difference. You will.
Join the Facebook groups and like/follow the Facebook and Instagram pages of your favorite fiber artists. Comment, like, share what they’re posting. It really helps. It gets us more traction online… and it helps us feel less alone, too.
Another way I work to build community is to host a Tour de Fleece group every year! My team is called Team Nevermore, and we’re hosted in our own Facebook group. It’s a rowdy, irreverent group of spinners with a sprinkling of knitters, crocheters, weavers, and other fiber artists [as well as plenty of multi-craftual enthusiasts] – and I try to have challenges for the non-spinner as well as my twisted friends. I invite you to join up! It is free fun, you could win prizes, and you’ll meet a group of lovely fiber artists who will cheer on your efforts. TdF starts on July 7th, so get you to the group!
In an effort to get more faces in front of my fibers and also to help get my other business, Urban Mystics, really kickstarted, I am using the new Instagram class that my friend Anne of The Moon Sisterhood has JUST put together! I was lucky enough to be a beta tester and let me tell you, this class is FULL of good advice, laid out in a very accessible and easy-to-use way. I am particularly in love with the workbooks, which she designs herself – they are beautiful as well as incredibly useful.
Even better, for the launch of this, she’s offering a presale price of 50% off until Friday June 15th – I so highly recommend this to anyone who is running a small business and who wants to really use Instagram to be more effective. And if you’re looking to form an Instagram pod… hit me up, folks. I am IN.
I wanted to take a moment to congratulate the amazing WoolWench aka Suzy Brown for her newest achievement: Assistant Editor of the Creative Fibre New Zealand quarterly Magazine! She is such an amazing powerhouse of energy and knowledge, a real community builder – and I can’t think of anyone better for a position such as this one. Congratulations, Suzy!
And just a personal tidbit… I don’t know what it’s been like where you live, but here in the Baltimore area we’ve moved from a subtropical environment to full tropical monsoon season and I’m not sure when that’s going to stop. We often will get a small pond in our backyard in the late Spring or during hurricane season… but our yard has gone full-on swamp and I’m expecting frogs and fish to move in at any time now. 😀
This has made for some interesting fiber-related phenomena – like how the handspun yarn tassels on some of my small weavings are twisting with revived twist… or how my carded battlets are currently super puffy [like my hair some days]… also, all my yarn is exceptionally sheepy smelling right now. If you’re in one of the currently heavy rain zones, have you noticed any fibery shenangans?
Thank you for reading, my friends. I’ll have some shop updates happening this week – I have a few small weavings, crocheted items, yarn, and more to photograph and then list for you. I’ll post on the Facebook page when that happens!