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INSTRUCTOR  BIOS

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 Intensive Arts Education Program.  She extended her Degree in Education with diplomas in Fine Arts Education from SFU, and Textile Arts from Cap U. 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, and at Penelope Fibre Arts  She has dedicated 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. venessabentley

Vanessa Bjerreskov has been working with fibre since she was a child. Starting with crochet and cross stitch and progressing to knitting and finally to spinning, she is a 2017 graduate of the Master Spinner Program at Olds College, Alberta. She has taught countless people how to spin and knit, been published in PLY Magazine and SpinOff, and is the host of the (currently on hiatus) fibre arts podcast By the Fibreside. She moved from Alberta to Powell River, BC, in 2019, and is thrilled to be part of the coastal fibre arts community. Visit her website at bythefibreside or follow her on Instagram at @sparqness.

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Shari Bronson. Shari has been a maker since she was a small child.  Over the years she has dabbled in numerous crafts, including knitting, crocheting, felting, rug hooking, dying, art journaling and book binding. Her main interests presently are felting, eco printing, and creating altered clothing.  She has taught numerous classes to various guilds and school district employees in the Fraser Valley and has exhibited several items in local museums and art galleries.  You can find her booth, Gypsy Spirit Designs at many craft markets and local events in the area where she enjoys sharing her knowledge with all ages!  She is a lifetime member of the Langley Weavers’ & Spinners’ Guild, and also a member of Fibre Arts Network (FAN).  Her instagram page is gypsy.shari which you can follow along for her creations and adventures. gypsy.shari

Sarah Garland. Creating has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember - starting with pre-school arts and crafts classes. My knitting journey began at age 6, with crocheting following soon after. Because I am petite and had to alter the clothing I purchased, I started sewing my own clothes at 11. Then leatherwork, beadwork, macrame, pattern making, hairpin lace, embroidery, wet felting, needle felting, spinning, weaving and pottery all found their way to my hands. It's extremely fulfilling for me to pass on the generational knowledge of making and be of service to the students I've taught. I'm eternally grateful to my mother for introducing me to this magical world of "making".

Heidi Grevstad. Heidi lives in Abbotsford, BC with her husband. She completed her McGown Rug Hooking Certification in June 2023 and has been hooking rugs for 20 years. She enjoys many styles of rug hooking and especially enjoys teaching rug hooking beginners.

Two of Heidi's rugs have been selected as finalist entries and featured in Rug Hooking Magazine’s Celebrations magazines (2018 and 2019), and have also been shown in the Celebrations exhibit at Sauder Village, Ohio. Other awards include the Oregon State Fair Grand Champion 2018 and 2020. Latimer Quilt and Textile Museum, 2019. “Power of Flowers” exhibit. Two Generations of Rug Hooking. Featured Artist at the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Festival, August 2020

Ruth Griffiths. Born and raised in the Lower Mainland, I learned fibre arts early from both my mother and maternal grandmother. I first learned to weave in the 1980's on a rigid heddle loom. Other fibre arts such as spinning and knitting and occasionally weaving on a floor loom took over my creative life for many years until I discovered the direct warping method, and revived my passion for this easy-to-use, yet versatile loom. I've taught weaving and spinning for some years now, and enjoy seeing all the wonderful things students come up with in my classes.

Sahm Jalbert. Hello! I'm Sahm. I've been drawing and painting forever. I have always loved fabric, design and fibre arts even though I can't knit and only sew on an 'as-needed' basis!

About five years ago I discovered Punch Needle and with it, found the perfect alchemy of design and craft. Now I draw and paint with yarn and with the 'fabrics' I create, design and make a wide variety of beautiful and practical objects.

I love teaching punch needle and am constantly inspired by that 'aha' moment when the rules of punch needle technique really click for a student and they're in the flow with this relaxing, versatile craft. kussenandkiss

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Ponnie Matin Pelchat. Knitting Designer, Knitting Teacher, Knitter for Film and TV
I started knitting at about 5. Following my mom, I never used patterns, heck I didn’t even know how to read them… Teaching knitting made it so that I had to learn and be able to explain patterns. This started my journey into writing out my patterns, initially for class use only.
I am a Combined Continental Knitter which means I twist stitches as I knit ‘em and untwist as I purl ‘em. With this in mind I like to teach knitting in your style. Though I am the happy go lucky type, it bugs me when I hear “Oh, you are knitting it wrong” I believe there is no such thing as “knitting it wrong” My Mom will be the testament to that. She makes everything in every gauge conceivable with the same set of 5mm needles.
I adapt the way I knit from one project to the next just like we need to adapt from one situation to the next in life. (I even knit stitches the english way from time to time) I love all yarn! From beautiful hand painted Alpaca and silks to acrylic. I don’t discriminate! I’m an addict… ponniematinpelchat

Laurie 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. saltspringfiberadventures

Diana 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 100milewear. You can find Diana’s patterns on ravelry

Janna Maria Vallee is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in the media of plant dyeing and weft-faced tapestry weaving. In 2008 Janna attended Capilano University's technical Textile Arts program and in 2013 graduated with distinction with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Fibres and Material Practices program at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. In 2016 she returned with her family to her home region, the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, where she runs Everlea Yarn Co.  Everlea Yarn Co is Janna's hand-crafted looms and plant-dyed yarn, featuring consciously sourced wool yarn which is spun in Canada and then hand-dyed with plants, as well as handmade looms - all made by Janna. everleayarn

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