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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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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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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!

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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

So after much pondering, wondering, thinking…  I am curious, for those that read our website, access it for class information etc. 

Yep, we did it again…  🙂

Our local newspaper, Fairbanks Daily Newsminer, had an article about the shop last Sunday!  🙂  They did a great job & made the store sound wonderful…  Well, it is wonderful!  Okay I know that I am biased here.

Things are still moving right along at the store.  Although I think that Rachael & I are in denial about the quantity of work that needs done this month.

So many things have changed in the last 2 weeks.

  • Our partner, Laura, has moved on.  😦  She received a job offer that she couldn’t refuse.  We are happy for her, but miss her all the same.  I did coerce her into helping me at The Holiday Market Place in November, so we will have a day of play there.
  • School started, woo hoo!  But that in itself is another hurdle that we have to jump.  All the after-school activites that our kids are in can put a pinch on our now 2 person shop.  I think it will all be fine once Rachael & I (and our husbands) get some sort of routine down.
  • We have 82 artists now…  Mind boggling isn’t it?
  • We are moving the shop in 22 days, denial is a beautiful thing.  Secretly I am hoping that the painting & moving fairies will show up and do it all for us.
  • Rachael & I have acquired a new partner!  Robyn Neilko will be joining our sassy bunch to bring us up to 3 Stashette’s again.  Yeah…  Robyn brings a ton of personality & vision to the shop and will make for a wonderful new addition.  She has been a Director for Pampered Chef for a while now, and is also one of our artists.  She makes fused glass jewelry in her spare time.

Off for now…  To much work to do and to little time!  🙂

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!

So today was the day to make curtains…

It didn’t get done, so I am assuming that makes tomorrow the day to ‘really’ get curtains done.  🙂  You can see the fabric below that we have picked out…  Let me know what you think…  I thought it was pretty cool looking!

We have been slaving away still.  Seeing artists, cleaning, painting, you know the general run down of getting things done by Friday.  But we are really feeling the pressure to get it done & wonderful by Friday!  

I have included some photos for you all to see how things are looking.  Some things are coming together nicely, others (i.e. curtains) seem to keep ending up on the back burner.  Off to bed now!  Chat more soon…

 

7 days and counting…

Somewhere this week Rachael & I both lost a day.  All day we were convinced it was actually Thursday.  Maybe that is denial at it’s finest.  Not sure.  Poor Laura had to correct us, as she is the only one on time & with the correct date.  

I was so off today, that I even missed my parents Anniversary!  So by the time I was straight here in Alaska, it was way past time to call Oklahoma.  Note: call parents first thing in the morning.  🙂  Hopefully they will forgive me.

There are some nifty things coming in the store that I do know!  So far we have:

  • Plushy dolls
  • Fancy dolls
  • Linoleum prints
  • Watercolor paintings
  • Watercolor print cards
  • Handmade cards
  • Dog scarves
  • Covered journals
  • Gemstone necklaces
  • Felted pincushions

And soooo much more that is already there, and more that is on it’s way…  

Fixtures are rolling in, so the room is taking shape a bit more too.  The next 7 days will be filled with moving/hauling/sorting/etc.

Thanks for following along on the journey!  I hope that if you are in town on Friday June 6th from 5-9 p.m. that you can take some time to stop by…  

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

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