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Here is our first blog by one of our WONDERFUL artist!

The Importance of Knowing Things and The Utilitarianism of Craft

by:  Caitlin Montague-W.

Long-gone are the days of saving scraps, mending, and reworking; so much so that the entire idea of crafting or perhaps the idea of being a craftsman is no longer looked upon with a sense of utilitarian, homemaking longing. Long winter evenings are rarely spent on handiworks, and a rainy day is more often an excuse to watch television than start and finish a project. I often wonder if the ability to create, fix and make-do even a treasured value in this day of Blackberries and Wal-Mart.

It is part of the human condition to create, it has been a matter of necessity to make things for a household, and it is a luxury to take time to craft a beautiful thing for a gift. What we make as craftsmen is an extension of our soul, it is part of our heart, passed through our hands and into a garment, onto canvas, or through a tool to a turning lathe. As craftsmen, we call upon a long line of talent before us, and as we use modern conveniences to make our crafting lives easier, one wonders if the crafter is allowing the technology to take over the technique.

We live in a world where baskets and blankets can be made in factories, in a fully automated way devoid of human hands, human hearts, and stories. The stitches and weavings and carvings passed down and developed through generations have been infringed upon by mechanisms. This not only degrades the crafts, but the craftsmen themselves. We should not be ashamed if we can only create simple, plain things, we should not be ashamed if we are able create beautiful things, what we should be ashamed of is the lack of want to learn, and the impulse to buy something crafted by machine.

Perhaps we are too busy in this life to craft, especially to craft simple things for the home, or to mend. Where have all the homemakers gone? For those with no time, I hope they find comfort in a quilt stitched without a human touch. For me, I hope to be surrounded by things with a story, made by a craftsman who takes pride in their work.

It is strange to think that the same mechanisms that provided the western world with the luxuries of free time, would then devoid us of the wont of crafting expression. As a society we must relearn and take back those skills that help make a home a home. Crafting should not become obsolete, it is important to know how to make things, and it is equally important to make them, allow others to see you making them, and to teach those others to make their own. It is in this way that we connect with each other, enriching our own lives and the lives of others with things that you cannot get on the Internet, and making bonds that go beyond the TV.

If you would like to see more of Caitlin’s work, come by the shop!


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My my where does the time go these days?

Friday night (6/5/09) we celebrated our 1 year anniversary!  Can you believe it?  And boy what a year it has been!  Of course there has been highs & lows, but right now it all seems like a HIGH!

I can not even begin to think how this all would be possible without our avid customers and dedicated family members.  I often try to summarize to myself (an others sometimes) what ‘is’ The Stash…  Well my token phrase for people coming in the shop is:

“Our shop is All Local, All Handmade goods!  We have over 140 artists represented, 15-ish of those are under the age of 18 too!  Many of our artists are also teachers, and they offer a wide variety of subjects for classes here in the shop.  We have a sewing lounge in the back, and a handwork area in the front!”

Whew…

But really we are so much more!  Some of them are:

  • Robyn called me on the phone today, and told me that we have officially become a children’s game!  LOL  Guess her daughter was playing at a friends house and they were playing babies & The Stash.  Work it girls!  Gotta start them out young you know!  But ‘really’ if you look at our kids (there are 8 soon to be 9 between Rachael, Robyn & I) that is what they see their Moms doing every day!  Guess we have made better role models than we thought if they are wanting to ‘play’ The Stash!
  • Creative ‘breath’ of fresh air!  There are many who frequent the shop to see what is new and to also get their own creative juices flowing.  We find that the bright colors of the walls, and huge variety of artwork inspires our customers to dust off their machines & tools and get busy again.
  • Local gathering spot…  Many swing by with their lunch groups to browse before heading back to the office!
  • Do you have something to add?  What is The Stash to you?  Leave a comment & let us know…

So where do we go from here? Forward…

One of our small joys for us is that now we can track where we were last year in sales and compare it to this year…  I know, not to exciting to you all, but this is HUGE for us.  Over time, memories fade and for us to be able to track & compare is huge.  🙂  Another hurdle, was for us to get to the point, that we felt comfortable enough running the shop to have regular hours for The Stashettes…  🙂  What a difference a regular schedule makes!

First Fridays are being planned out well in advance to give the artist plenty of time to prepare!  This is always a really fun night for us, one where we can actually let loose & chat with our customers, eat a bit, drink a bit & enjoy our space.

Artists, we have around 140 right now…  We are always looking for more GREAT art to share!  It is amazing & awe inspiring the talent that we have in this town.

Time flies when you are having fun that is for sure!  Here is to another year for us here at the shop…

Bring your families, visitors & friends!  Remember to shop local & buy handmade!

Hi…  Just wanted to let you know about the upcoming items that we have going on here in the shop for this week and next.  So many things are happening around here!  The tourists are coming in, and we LOVE to hear all their travel stories…  The weather has been wonderful this summer, so many people out walking around & biking…  Classes are happening, so now that school is almost out there are a few things that you can do with your kids or sign them up and have some time for yourself!

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Anniversary

It is our 1 year birthday on this Friday, June 5th so mark your calendars to join us from 5-8 and help us celebrate!

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BP Midnight Sun Festival is on Sunday, June 21st from noon to midnight and The Stash will be open & waiting for you from noon to 9 p.m.  🙂

Downtown there will be over 170 booths of food, information, and merchandise. 3 stages of 30 different performances, Midnight Sun state Basketball tournament, fun entertainment, sidewalk art, classic cars, petting zoo, Yukon quest puppies. Extreme racing, and possibly a skate park!

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Solstice Smackdown!

The Stash has tickets available to purchase for Fairbanks Rollergirls ‘LIVE’ Roller Derby!  Proceeds for the bout will go to Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living.

Saturday June 13, 2009

Carlson Center

Doors open at 6 p.m.

Derby at 7 p.m.

$10 Tickets in advance

$12 Tickets at the door

Fairbanks Rollergirls

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Riverboat Discovery ticket sale for Imagination Library!

We have fundraising tickets available for a Riverboat Discovery trip!  All proceeds go to Imagination Library.

“Give the Gift of Reading!”

Friday June 12, 2009

Boarding: 6:30 p.m.

Trip:  7:00-9:00 p.m.

Silent Auction, Refreshments

$25 for Children 12 & under

$50 for Adults

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Upcoming Classes you DON’T want to miss out on!

Class Name: Beading 101

Description: Learn basic skills- crimps, wires, earrings, and how to use a crimper and round nose pliers.  Leave wearing a lovely bracelet and a pair of earrings.

Difficulty level: Beginning or Easy

Date: June 5th  (New date just added!)

Time:    2-4 p.m.

Cost: $35

Age Appropriateness:  Age 7 years to adult

Class size: No more than 7

Teacher:          Rebecca Sirevaag

Supplies:          All beads, findings and tools provided

Class Name:  Summer Yoga

Description: The Stash yogi, Rachael, will provide a relaxing beginning level, hour long yoga class.  Bring your mat and be ready to breath!

Date: Thursdays from 6-7 p.m.
Fridays from 6:45-7:45 a.m.

Cost: $10 per class $15 per private lesson

Age Appropriateness: 13 & up

Class size: 5 person limit

Teacher:          Rachael Brechan

Supplies: Bring your yoga mat!

Class Name:  Crocheted Jewelry

Description: Come to make creative jewelry using yarn, beads and buttons. Learn many important tips to make a beautiful crocheted necklace and bracelet. Participants should have a basic understanding of crochet.

Date: Thursday, June 18th

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Cost: $40 per person

Age Appropriateness: 13 & up

Class size: 5 person limit

Teacher:          Hannelore Grosser

Supplies: All supplies provided

Class Name:  Jewelry Design

Description:     Come to design creative jewelry using clay, acrylics and different beads.  Make and paint your beads with wonderful colors. Learn a basic understanding of color, texture and many important tips to make a beautiful set: necklace and earrings.

Dates:   Monday, June 22nd

Time:   3-5 p.m. (2 hrs)

Cost:    $40 per person

Age Appropriateness: 8 years to adult

Class size:       5 person limit

Teacher:          Hannelore Grosser

Supplies:         All supplies provided

Class Name:  Beginner’s Bookmaking/ Intro to Relief Printing

Description:     Students will learn basic book forms including accordion books and other folded forms, and variations on Japanese stab bindings.  We will also consider the concept of “book” and try our hand at less conventional forms like boxes and folded “binders” with loose pages.  During the second session students come prepared with a story, poem, or piece of writing for which they will make and print (using Styrofoam plates) a cover illustration for their favorite “book” form!
Date:    June 9 & 11th (two separate one-hour sessions)

Time:   5-6 p.m.

Cost:    $45 all supplies included
Ages:               8 years to adult
Class Size:        5-8

Teacher:          Erinn Hatter
Supplies:          All supplies provided

Class Name: Bookbinding- exploring sewn forms, Intro to Relief Printing

Description:     Students will learn basic sewn book forms from pamphlet stitch to more complicated sewn bindings.  During the second session students come prepared with a story, poem, or piece of writing for which they will make and print a cover illustration (using Styrofoam plates) for their favorite “book” form!
Date:    June 9 & 11th (two separate one-hour sessions)

Time 6-7 p.m.
Cost:    $45 all supplies included
Age:                 11 years to adult
Class Size:        5-8

Teacher:          Erinn Hatter
Supplies:          All supplies provided

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Hi…  Just wanted to let you know about the upcoming items that we have going on here in the shop for this week and next.
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New Product!
Wow, spring has sprung and so have our artists!  We love it…  There is a LARGE amount of new products in the store.  Seems that everyday a new artist comes our way.  Everything from pottery, jewelry, watercolors, purses, etc.
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May Sale!

Many of our artists have made a point to mark some of their goodies down!  Just in time for Mothers Day, Graduations, Weddings and all that comes along this time of year.  So don’t delay in checking these items out as they won’t be around for long I am sure.

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Punch Cards are now in!

The punch cards are completed & have arrived!  These make the perfect gifts for classes, yoga sessions, sewing lounge hours.  So be sure to ask the next time you are in for yours…

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Therapy!
Due to the extreme beautiful weather, we are going to post-pone Therapy sessions until the snow falls again!  Who wants to be inside when we could all be OUT doing fun things with out having to wear a coat!  🙂  So keep your eyes peeled for more on this in the future.

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Extra Fabric to donate!

Thank you,  Thank you, Thank you to all who donated material for the lap blanket project for the Fairbanks Alzheimer’s Association.  It was such a pleasure to have so many choices of color & texture to work with.  And as you know, many hands make light work!  BUT that has also left us with an inordinate amount of left over fabric.

Do you know of a cause that is in need of some material?  If so, please email us or call us and let us know so we can contact them.  We would dearly LOVE to share the wealth that we received with this project!
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Hat-Attack! (A day dedicated to crocheting/knitting hats for cancer patients)

Saturday May 9th from 12-4 p.m.

Who:  Anyone interested in joining who can knit or crochet!  Bring your self, a friend, a relative and enjoy a day of hat making. Can’t knit or crochet?  Come and hang out, eat snacks and LEARN how!  Or take a class before May 9th from one of our great teachers at the shop.

Details:  The shop, couches, chairs will be open for all warm bodies!  Please come and bring a snack if you want…  Should be a fun day!

Extras:  Can’t make it to the Hat-Attack but still want to help?  Feel free to drop off handmade hats at The Stash no later than May 31st.

Helpful hints:

  • An excellent source for patterns is www.headhuggers.org
  • Hats knit with brown fun fur are in demand.
  • For summer, any color fun fur is good.
  • Cotton hats for sleeping are desirable.
  • Make sure the yarn you use is SOFT!

For more information, please call The Stash at 457-8274.

Last summer, after we first opened our doors here at The Stash, we hosted our first Non-Profit here in Fairbanks!  This was the beginning of our monthly service projects called The Stash Lends a Hand!

The Stashettes hosted a Knit-a-thon for the Interior Alaska Cancer Association with Soroptimist.  Soroptimist International of Fairbanks is a group of professional women who work to improve the lives of women and children. The local group has an on-going project to knit/crochet hats for women who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy.

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Yoga!

The adult yoga class will now be meeting on Thursdays from 6-7 p.m.  Please call ahead to RSVP so we can make sure we have you down on the list!

sale_banner art-sale-sign sale_banner

Hello out there…  Just wanted to let you know about the upcoming items that we have going on here in the shop for this week and next.

Thanks so much for being a part of The Stash!  Remember to shop local & buy handmade!

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The First Friday Of Every Month 5– 8 p.m. Come on in, and enjoy refreshments and local art with the Stashettes! Featured artists: Jen Otey will be here doing Henna Tattoos and Kay Sampler will be here doing Tarot Card Readings! This is also the start of our big May Sale too! So come by and see what all our artists have picked out just for YOU and put on sale…

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Stitch Out! We wanted to thank you all for those who donated fabric, time, sewing skills, energy and positive thoughts for our latest non-profit venture. There are blankets coming back in the door, that are simply amazing! Watch the website for updates on those, I am trying to take pictures as they come in… Also we still have some blankets left here in the store that are looking for someone to put them together. They are pre-cut, just need sewn and some love! Due to the amount of time this process has taken, we are extending the deadline out until May 31st in order to get all the blankets made up nicely. Please give us a call or come by if you want to help!

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One Finger Guitar Class for Anyone Who Just Wants to Play Songs without Learning Regular Guitar Chords (or How to Play in Open Tuning)

Saturday, May 2nd, 10– 12 p.m.

Class Description: Don’t have time or the inclination to learn complex guitar chords? Ken will show you how to use an open tuning and one finger on your left hand to play simple chords to accompany yourself (and others) on the guitar (or other string instruments with frets).

Open to Kids and Adults of All Ages (8-80)

Supplies: Beg, borrow, and bring any old acoustic guitar, nylon OR steel string (or a banjo, ukulele, mandolin, anything with frets AND strings—which doesn’t apply to fiddles, unfortunately)

Price: $10 per person Teacher: Ken Brown

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Hat-Attack!

(A day dedicated to crocheting/knitting hats for cancer patients)

Saturday May 9th from 12-4 p.m.

Who: Anyone interested in joining who can knit or crochet! Bring your self, a friend, a relative and enjoy a day of hat making. Can’t knit or crochet? Come and hang out, eat snacks and LEARN how! Or take a class before May 9th from one of our great teachers at the shop.

Details: The shop, couches, chairs will be open for all warm bodies! Please come and bring a snack if you want… Should be a fun day!

Extras: Can’t make it to the Hat-Attack but still want to help? Feel free to drop off handmade hats at The Stash no later than May 31st.

Helpful hints:

  • An excellent source for patterns is http://www.headhuggers.org
  • Hats knit with brown fun fur are in demand.
  • For summer, any color fun fur is good.
  • Cotton hats for sleeping are desirable.
  • Make sure the yarn you use is SOFT!

For more information, please call The Stash at 457-8274.

Last summer, after we first opened our doors here at The Stash, we hosted our first Non-Profit here in Fairbanks! This was the beginning of our monthly service projects called The Stash Lends a Hand! The Stashettes hosted a Knit-a-thon for the Interior Alaska Cancer Association with Soroptimist. Soroptimist International of Fairbanks is a group of professional women who work to improve the lives of women and children. The local group has an on-going project to knit/crochet hats for women who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy.

December is upon us, so I thought I should get on this blog…

I can’t believe how much we are doing around The Stash every day, and it seems there is always more to DO!  What is up with that?  🙂  We are only up to 102 artists right now, maybe that has something to do with it, and the fact that we took the show on the road this month too, or the fact that we are moving the shop all around to get ready for the holidays???  Hmmm, maybe, just maybe that has something to do with it…  🙂

Some other things are happening too!

Our blog is now evolving into a website (Thank you Jana Peirce).  So now you can check here for the latest information on classes & eventsI will still send out a couple of emails a month, but don’t want to overload the in-boxes with to much.

Holiday hours! We are now open on Sundays from 12-5 p.m. during the month of December.  Hopefully this will help with the holiday shopping needs!  Monday thru Saturday we will continue to be open from 10-6 p.m.

Other special things???

  • We are now carrying some Judaica items.  Chanukah starts on December 21st, so come by and check out what we have, they are beautiful. 021022
  • Ornaments, we have a great selection of handmade ornaments for your trees, garlands, gifts and more. Everything from snowmen, angels, trees & etc.0190772017020
  • Scarfs…  There is a huge assortment of scarves in the shop right now.  All different kinds from dressy, casual, table, mantel, wool, alpaca, cotton, lacy, etc.  🙂
  • Shirts! Yep, we have Stash shirts available…  They have our really cool logo that was done by Jen Otey.  Long sleeve are $30 & short sleeve are $15, these could be really cool gifts for the artists in your life.023
  • Classes over the winter break! We have several classes that will be offered during the winter break.  Some for kids, some for adults, some for both…  So use this time to get out of the house, and ‘try’ something new.  Many of our artists will be offering their services during this time.  Start your new year with a new talent/hobby/skill!  Check back here: Classes section, often to see what the classes will be…
  • Blanket Drive we are up to 35 blankets for North Star Council of Aging…  Isn’t that great?
  • First Friday, December 5th from 5-8 p.m. is all about WarmthWe will have some artists in house.  Featuring all the things that make you warm & cozy during the winter!  Everything from hats, scarves, tea, essential oils, candy, mittens, blankets and more.  Eat, drink, enjoy local art and be merry with the Stashettes…

Sigh!  Okay, lastly, we want to THANK you for being a part of this growing community here at The Stash!  We have about a week (Dec. 6th) until we turn over our 6 month anniversary, and it is phenomenal how many things have happened, and changes that have been made.  Thank you to our artists who have allowed us the privilege of showing your items, and thank you to Fairbanks, for the support and remembering to Shop Local & Buy Handmade!

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Unbelievable…

My friend Jennifer sent me the link to her new blog!  Jen is one of the artists in the shop, does wonderful mixed media work, and will be helping Jolie refinish her desk (at a snail’s pace).  We have talked at length about The Stash while she is refinishing Hilda.  What a neat process to watch an artist work on something from begining to end.  But this little zinger was news to me today!

Jennifer started a blog, and we were her first entry called: Paradise Found 🙂

I can’t tell you how unbelievably touched by this.  And, well, the write up is pretty amazing too.  I think that so much of my day (and probably Robyn & Rachael’s too) is spent just getting the job done.  We are working full steam ahead to just keep up with this momentum at the shop, and I don’t know that we have realized the magnitude of The Stash.

If you can, please join and read her blog entry!  I would love to hear your comments & feedback as to if this has been your thoughts/experience as well.

I will be holding my breath until I hear back from you…  🙂

Since Friday, we have been in a whirlwind it seems. A bit of let down tired that is for sure… 🙂 Can’t imagine why? Getting the boutique cranked out in 3 weeks was a lot of work (3 moms, 8 kids, and a few husbands thrown in there for the manly stuff), especially if you saw it ‘before‘ we converted it over.

Now that the store is open, we have been spending some time cleaning, resting, delighting ourselves with the customers as they come through. So nice to hear all the great feedback from them. The Stashettes feel pretty honored to carry the artwork we have AND be able to represent the artists here in our community. As I sit here now, we have 37 different artists represented in the store. Pretty cool huh? Even some are writing in their blogs about us, see here

Our next hurdle you ask? Starting to find artists who would like to teach some classes! I am putting information together, and would love your feedback!

  • What kind of classes are you interested in taking?
  • What kind of classes are you interested in teaching?
  • What fees should we pay the teachers?
  • Class sizes?

Oh! Do I hear a challenge or contest coming on? I will put my thinking cap on about it, and see what I can do for a contest. There is also our signage that needs work! We need to do another folding sign for 2nd Street, and something above our window. Sigh, oh and the painting of the shingles outside. The list never ends it seems. 🙂

Okay, enough! I have to get back to work. We recieved more candy from Gretchen’s Creations today, so need to get it tagged! (For those that are local, we have more caramels in!!! 🙂 )

Thank you to all of you for posting comments & keeping up with my blogs. Your support has been so important to Laura, Rachael & myself.

Happy Summer!

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

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