2023 West Coast Fibre Art Retreat
From November 6th to 8th, the West Coast N.E.S.T. was thrilled to welcome participants to its sixth annual West Coast Fibre Art Retreat. Over three days, 31 passionate fibre art enthusiasts gathered at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in traditional Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ territory for a blend of learning, crafting, indulgence, and laughter. On the first morning of the retreat, participants woke up to a beautiful stormy day on the wet West Coast, providing the perfect opportunity for attendees to enjoy views of the roaring ocean from the comfort of the resort's cozy indoor viewpoints.
The retreat started with participants mingling over coffee/tea and delicious pastries. Shortly after, the two groups headed to their first workshop with anticipation and enthusiasm. We were fortunate to have exceptionally talented local and visiting instructors joining us to teach skills such as knitting lace, adding beads to knitting projects, crocheting, weaving with cedar, as well as designing and creating brick stitch fringe earrings.
Local fibre artist Faye Kennington of UkeeKnits, whom the West Coast N.E.S.T. partners with each year for this event, led a knitting workshop where participants got to practice new techniques and got started on a beautiful and highly-wearable cowl, "Butterknit". Each attendee received a skein of lovely Polka Dot Sheep yarn, providing them with the perfect medium to refine their knitting skills.
We were delighted to welcome Cecelia Smith from Sea Wolf and Sage for a captivating beading workshop at this year's retreat. As a Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ artist now based in the Okanagan, teaching at the retreat provided both an opportunity to share her expertise, but was also a chance to visit with family! It was a first-time experience for most, and everyone was thrilled to learn how to master ladder stitch, brick stitch, and fringe design. With all materials provided, attendees crafted personalized earrings in their chosen colors, sparking a newfound passion for the craft.
We were honored to have Rose and Brian Wilson of Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ back again this year as they guided a cedar weaving workshop, using locally sourced and prepared cedar strips. Participants learned the detailed work that is required to create handmade cedar baskets - an experience cherished by many as a highlight of the retreat each year.
Knitting enthusiasts also had the chance to explore the art of crocheting with the guidance of Katrina Stewart of CraftyJAKs. For many, this was an entirely new craft, and they were excited to try it out. With Katrina's skilled instruction, participants learned to crochet a delicate snowflake, perfect for adding a festive touch to their holiday decor. Each participant received a small crochet hook, beautiful CraftyJAKs yarn, and all the necessary materials for blocking their completed project.
To soak in some fresh air and scenic beauty, the Fibre Art Retreat headed outdoors for a sunny walk on the Wild Pacific Trail. Led by the experienced coastal ecologist, Barb Beasley, the group enjoyed awe-inspiring views while learning about the region's rich history and ecology. Participants were captivated by Barb's insights into the local flora and fauna, leaving everyone enriched with a deeper understanding of the area they were visiting.
The walk was open to all, and we were delighted to meet some of our participant's adorable pets, who were all quite eager to wander the trail. We love seeing furry Fibre Art enthusiasts!
Wrapping up the Retreat on a delightful note, the last evening featured a combination of shopping, indulging in delicious food, and sipping wine! The West Coast Fibre Art Marketplace showcased local vendors presenting their fiber goods. Guests leisurely explored the offerings while enjoying some of the treats prepared by the Black Rock's culinary team, accompanied by some wine and engaging conversations. It was a fantastic conclusion to three wonderful days!
This year's West Coast Fibre Art retreat was truly fantastic, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort for co-hosting, as well as to our exceptional instructors and vendors who contributed to the unforgettable experience. Anticipation is already growing for next year, and we can't wait to share more details with you in the New Year!