By Hand - Lookbook 7: British Columbia’s South Coast

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First printed in September 2018, our seventh issue explores the south coast of British Columbia, from the cityscapes and waterfronts of Vancouver, to the historical architecture and cobblestones of Victoria, to the natural beauty of Salt Spring and Pender Islands. Conifers and craggy mountaintops, ocean beaches and pristine lakes, and beavers, seals, otters, deer, and other wildlife surround us as we travel throughout the region to meet hand crafting artisans. By Hand chats with knitwear designers Shannon Cook, Sylvia McFadden, and Andrea Rangel about their materials, their sources of inspiration, and what they've been working on lately; meets the alpacas of Hinterland Yarn at their new home on Pender Island; watches Bling Squared work their magic with glass rods and a torch; and marvels as the artist behind Nan*C Fibre Art Studio turns roving into lifelike animals with personality and character. We explore the amazing textile world of Maiwa Handprints while sampling goodies from the Granville Island Public Market, and wander through Salt Spring Island Saturday market before watching Julie Mackinnon work her magic at the pottery wheel. We tour LYS 88 Stitches and talk yarn dyeing with the creative force behind Sweet Fiber Yarn, are enchanted by the handsewn creations of Billoo Boutique, spend an inspiring afternoon in the sunlit studio amongst the fibers and looms of Woven Wares, and marvel at the saturated colors of SweetGeorgia Yarns. Along the way, we hike, kayak, and sail the bluffs and waterways of the Strait of Georgia and are thoroughly enchanted by beautiful British Columbia and the makers who are lucky enough to call it their home.

More about By Hand Serial

In this day and age, many of us are searching for community–a sense of belonging, a feeling of unity, a desire to share our passions with others.  As a sense of community becomes ever more elusive, we look for ways to build our own.  A community of makers–those who find joy in creating with their hands, minds, and hearts–gives us a chance to share and celebrate our ideas and passions.  Today, there are clusters of creativity – locations around the country that have developed their own unique “maker communities,” where people who love to make, love to learn to make, and love to support makers have found a common sense of purpose.  Each of these geographic “clusters” has its own unique characteristics, and those characteristics influence the artists who live and work there.

Thus we have “making communities” – areas around the country where makers with a common ethos work and, in turn, are inspired by each other – and we are “making communities,” even where physical proximity isn’t possible, by sharing our stories and journeys and images with each other.

This, I thought, was the basis for a book – or maybe, a series of books – for those of us who love to make, to learn, and to celebrate others’ talents.  Each book is a place-based celebration of these communities of makers, focused primarily on the fiber and fabric industry, as well as highlighting artists in other media who share the same philosophy as fiber and fabric artists of functional beauty.  Each issue of By Hand will also include photo essays, day trips, foodie excursions, and other write-ups of aspects unique to the featured city or region.  And, each issue of By Hand will always include patterns, projects, classes, and opportunities to purchase the featured makers’ art.

I hope that you enjoy getting to know a little bit about each of these makers’ communities as I did.  Think of it as a virtual travel guide for fiber and fabric enthusiasts!