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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!


What it’s like in here today…

Some days I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such lovely goodness.  Realizing how many artists we have creating the things for the store, makes me happy!  The energy that comes from these handmade items is good for the soul.

I do wonder how many people can ‘feel’ the difference in a handmade item vs. a random store bought item?  That might be a good survey sometime.  🙂

So I thought I would share some pictures of some of the items that caught my eye today.

Enjoy!  If you have questions or need to purchase something that you see, just let us know.  We are more than happy to help you out!

Thank you for supporting the Art of Handmade & Shopping Local!  There is nothing that will sustain a community longer than doing just that!

Hey there…  Just a reminder that THIS weekend is the Midnight Sun Festival and The Stash is carrying the T-shirts!  So don’t delay, come and get yours NOW, while we still have a good selection of sizes.

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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.
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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.

noseSniff, Sniff, Sniff

Can you smell that?

Yep, I think I can…

Smells a bit like spring, with a potential for summer here in Fairbanks…

nose1Sniff, sniff, sniff

Yep, that is what that is!

So what are WE going to do about it?  The Stash is having a sale, a May Sale!  Starting May 1st you will have to come and see for yourself what the artists are marking down.  We have been talking & chatting, walking the floor, looking at art, and these artists are bringing some prices down just for YOU!

sale_banner

This is the out with winter & in with summer sale!

Mark your calendars, as this stuff won’t last long.  🙂

art-sale-sign

Hello… Your local Stashette calling!

We have some holidays coming up in the NEAR future:

  • Administrative Professionals Day = April 22nd
  • Graduation = Mid May
  • Mothers Day = May 10th

The Stash has a HUGE variety of things for the lovies in your life, so swing by and let us help you shop! If you don’t see the perfect gift, we do gift certificates as well, hint, hint, and they last a lot longer than flowers! 🙂

As for upcoming events in the store that we have going on here in the shop for this week and next. Becky Kingry will be here with The Body Shop at Home, on Saturday 18th from 11-1 p.m. if you need anything!

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Stitch Out! We will be preparing lap blankets for The Fairbanks Alzheimer’s Association. There will be 2 events coming up:

  • Wed. April 15th from 5-8 p.m. (Cutting of blocks & sorting stacks)
  • Sat. April 18th from 12-4 p.m. (Sewing blocks together)

We have not had a lot of material turned in, so this may go faster than we anticipated. If you have a chance to go through your fabric stash, we would GREATLY appreciate it. We seriously need a lot more material, any material that has a great texture, color, pattern and can hold up to many washings would be perfect! There is a use for material in larger quantities to that we can use for the backing of the blankets too.

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One Finger Guitar Class For Teachers & Moms (or anyone who wants to play and sing-a-long with kids)

Saturday, April 25th, 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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Intuitive Drawings (These are the last Intuitive Drawings available for about 6 months!!!! So book now)

Saturday, April 25th, 12 – 6 p.m.

Class Description: Jen will be coming to the shop to do personal drawings for you! There are ½ hour slots available, so call now to reserve your space.

Supplies: All supplies provided!

Price: $40 per person

Artist: Jen Otey

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Make a Creative Map for 2009: aka A Vision Board April 25th 6-8pm

Class Description: This board is a colorful collage of images/words regarding health, relationship, career, travel, finances, etc. that pertains to your idea of what your best life would look like. Like a goal board that is so much fun to make! By putting your completed board in a space where you will see it everyday – spending a few minutes looking at it and feeling excited about “your best life” — you literally begin to attract the situations, events, people into your life that will transform your current reality into your idea of a dream life!

Price: $40 per person

Supplies: All supplies included! (Although I would encourage individuals who participate to bring in any images/words they feel represent what they want in their life.)

Teacher: Amy Komar

Ho Ho Ho!  Tis the Season, and YES we even have reindeer at The Stash…  🙂

Well, today was the day!  Actually it was our first ‘outing’ with the shop. 

  Other than the 2 days I did this summer at Farmers Market.  🙂  It was great!  Much better than yesterday, which was a whole day of moving the shop & 42 artists worth of stuff & resetting up!  It hasn’t been that long since we moved the shop, so I think that was entirely to fresh in our minds.  🙂

For me it was like old home week.  On both sides of our booth, were Farmers Market cohorts, so that was cool.  One side is 084, Jill & Dayna make beautiful jewelry in their spare time after their full-time jobs.  Their booth is amazingly elegant, and won ‘Best in show’ for 2007.  (Made us look like a mini garage sale at times!) On the other side is Moosetard Mustard, yummy!  We would have been lost in la-la land without them to help us with our novel credit card machine!  🙂

As things picked up, some people were asking about what we were exactly???  So we were educating Fairbanks on the finer art of The Stash!  I am happy to announce that most of the people that came by had already heard of us though.  So warm fuzzies went all around for the Stashettes.

We have 2 booths this year, and they are across the aisle from each other.  This is a challenge, but nice too.  That way we can have shoppers coming & going on both sides.

The Stashettes were all up LATE working feverishly on some beautiful 081for the event too!  They are reversible, so we can get the most bang for our buck!  We LOVE them, and received so many compliments on them today.  Yeah!  It is so fun being snazzy sometimes…  One lady asked if I could make her one, I said sure!  And then proceeded to explain that there are 3 yards of material in each apron, and they take 5 hours per apron to make.  So the cost would be approximately $85.  She didn’t faint, but she quickly said no thank you.  Hmmm, once you take away the cost of the material, I really would only be making $10 per hour.  Do you think that is to steep?  Not if I am the one making them…

So the day is done, pictures are in the camera, which is not with me…

Sooooo, I will add them at a later date!  Keep checking back.

Cheers!

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

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