Instructor Bios

VenessaBioPicVenessa Bentley

Venessa Bentley, from the Working Hands Fibre Arts Studio is a practicing artisan and instructor, as well as  a full time primary teacher in a fully integrated fine arts program. Programs that Venessa teaches are focused on the creative process, and building confidence and joy in hand work. A variety of fibre arts programs are taught, year round, at Venessa’s home studio. She has dedicated most of her life to this learning, and continues to explore and dissect each step of her fibre arts work, with a view to staying fresh and current in her teaching. She is a member of the Circle Craft Cooperative, where she sells her work, and serves on the Board of Directors, as the Chair of the Gallery Committee.


HeidiBioPicHeidi Braacx

From an early age, the desire to make, and craft has shaped Heidi’s life. A knitter since the ripe age of seven, she is a ‘learn by doing’ sort. While still in high school she trained for a year as an apprentice seamstress in the Wardrobe Department at the Playhouse Theatre Company, and then later received a certificate in Costuming for Theatre and Film from Capilano University. After that she worked for two years as a seamstress in set decoration, props, and costumes before going freelance. Heidi’s independent work has been on film, television and the stage. She learned how to spin and dye yarn in 2009 and later that same year started an etsy shop with handspun, plant-based yarn. Then, in 2012 she launched Vegan Yarn, a studio focused on Organic, Fair Trade and vegan hand dyed yarn and fibre. When not playing with fibre, Heidi plays violin, bodhran (Irish drum), ukulele and djembe with her husband and bandmate, Jeremy. Otherwise Heidi can be seen delivering yarn to local yarn shops by bicycle, running the local trails by her house, or whipping up a fresh batch of homegrown kale chips with her son, Hadrian.


PearlBIOPicPearl Chow

Pearl teaches fibre crafts throughout the lower mainland. Simplifying knitting, weaving, felting and braiding is her passion and teaching others to craft with the least amount of effort and maximum amount of fun is her goal. Pearl ran Birkeland Bros Wool in Vancouver before it’s move to Abbotsford.


Kislan Bio PicKislan Coderre

Kislan is a Vancouver based fibre artist and the owner of Kinfolk Yarn and Fibre, an online shop selling her hand dyed, hand spun yarns and spinning fibre. Kislan learned to spin in the 1970′s when her mother brought home an Ashford Traditional spinning wheel and started dyeing wool in their kitchen. She has since knit and spun her way through several decades, picking up different techniques along the way with courses from the Capilano College Textile Design program, fibre gatherings and weekly classes at the Place des Arts in Coquitlam.


FionaDuthie Fiona Duthie

Fiona has worked as a fibre artist for 23 years, covering a range of experiences from fashion and interior design, to natural dyeing and feltmaking. As long as she has wool to play with, she is happy! Fiona has exhibited and taught in Canada, the US, Scotland, and New Zealand, inviting others to explore their own creative directions through her workshops. Fiona and her family have a Fibre Arts Studio on Saltspring Island, where they live and create.


JudithBioJudith Glibbery

Judith lives in Armstrong, BC and is a fibre artist and experienced spinning teacher. Her teaching includes private lessons and workshop settings. She’s spent over 35 years enthusiastically promoting her craft to hand spinners throughout BC. One of her favourite passions is exploring different breeds of sheep, spinning their raw fleece and then passing that knowledge on to her students. Her work has been exgibited in many venues throughout the province. Judith has also been an active guild member, sheep breeder and advocate for the Canadian sheep industry both on a provincial and national level for many years. She is a frequent fleece judge and lecturer at many fleece and fibre shows, sheep breeder associations and agricultural fairs throughout BC. She remains surrounded by wool and never tires of it!


SandraBioSandra Kiechle

Sandra is blessed to have been born into a circle of very creative women. Her life is filled with sewing, embroidery, knitting, crocheting and she embraced it all as oon as she could hold a hook or needle. From clumsy crochet jackets for dolls to fine sweaters for her friends in high school, Sandra is never without a creation (or three) in the works. Sandra felt restricted by the commercial yarns available in her teens and longed to work with natural fibres in that era of acrylic. It was the purchase of a homemade spinning wheel and a bag of free fleece that started her on her lifetimes passion of spinning and knitting with her own handspun yarns. Sandra is currently enjoying creating fine, cobweb lace shawls spun from wool, silk, cotton and linen.


mitchell tartanBarbara Mitchell

Barbara’s passion for textiles and fibres is fueled by a strong curiosity about why and how textiles developed historically, how textiles are being used today, and what the future will bring. Through travel and meeting people from all over the world, Barbara is strongly interested in exploring how culture and place affect textile traditions and trends. Barbara uses a blend of natural and manufactured materials, and both traditional and updated techniques. Her main focus is on using weaving to create clothing and functional household objects, although Barbara also loves a challenge, and is willing to try anything. Barbara has been weaving for more than 30 years, learning through short courses, workshops, independent study and experimentation. She is a member of the Coquitlam, Vancouver, Peace Arch and Australian Weavers and Spinners Guilds. She was awarded “Excellence in Design” for her handwoven jacket (Salem, Oregon 2011), “People’s Choice Award” for fibre art children’s book (Red Deer 2007). Her woven kimono was featured in “A Show of Hands” travelling exhibition, 1985.


AngelaAngela Possak

A certified McGown rug hooking teacher, Angela lives in the Okanagan Valley and has been hooking for over thirty years; sharing her skills in the art of rug hooking and teaching classes in the U.S. and Canada. Her work is showcased in galleries and juried exhibits. Angela is an expert in all aspects of rug hooking including wide cut and primitive, wool dyeing, designing original patterns and restoring antique rugs. Articles on her work have been published in “Rug Hooking Magazine”, “ATHA Newsletter” and “A Needle Pulling Thread”.


LenkaLaceLenka Suchanek

Lenka is a lacemaker, lace designer, artist and teacher. She learned traditional lacemaking techniques in Europe and has explored their application in contemporary art and fashion for more than thirty years. Her lace artworks, sculptures, wall pieces and wearable art have been exhibited worldwide, and received recognition for merging craft with art, craftsmanship with innovation and old materials with new in a unique creation expression.


LaurieLaurie Steffler

Laurie is a fibre artist and O.C.A.D. graduate who fell in love with wool as a medium and began felt-making and dyeing in 1986. Every year she designs a new felt fashion line of hats, scarves and clothing for the annual Circle Craft Vancouver, Art Market Calgary and One of a Kind Toronto show tour. She invents and combines many felting techniques with merino wool, silk, and other fabrics and yarns. You can visit her at the Salt Spring Island Saturday market or her Seaside studio. She is an experienced teacher who started  sharing her wealth of knowledge in 1995 and enjoys supporting her students unique creativity. Her felting kits for the designs she makes will be available for purchase at the show.


DianaPicDiana Twiss

Diana is passionate about fibre, fabric, colour and texture. An experienced teacher with a background in adult education, she has successfully introduced many beginners to the wonders of making yarn and has helped more experienced spinners experiment with technique, colour, and fibre to take their spinning to a new level. Her favourite tools for yarn making are spindles because of their simplicity, beauty and portability. You can see how she combines all her fibre intersets and skills by following her pursuits to make yarn from locally sourced wool, llama, alpaca and mohair on her blog –  You can find Diana’s patterns on