November 17, 2019

Sharing the joy of needle felting through teaching

In 2013, I was offered an opportunity to share my love of needle felting with others. A local yarn-fiber shop (and cheese creamery) saw my all wool gargoyle, and some of my other work, and asked if I would consider teaching needle felting classes at their store. They had spinning, knitting, and other classes that covered all manner of wool and fiber crafts and art, so I was very honored to be asked. I was also a bit nervous about it; honestly, I wasn't sure how well I could convey the process of needle felting to others. But it was also exciting, to think about sharing this wonderful art and craft with those who were wanting to learn a new fiber skill-set. The deciding factor? It was the thought of sharing the pleasure and pure fun of needle felting with my new local community.

The store was Ewe and I Yarns in historic Chehalis, Washington. It was opened by a family who owned and operated Black Sheep Creamery, an East Friesian sheep ranch over 100 years old. They opened a cheese-making operation in the back, and a yarn and fiber store in the front.

It's such a cool place to hangout and be creative. There is almost always a few friends hanging out, knitting, spinning, or doing some other fiber project, in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

I happily became an instructor in needle felting, in the Ewe and I classroom. Inside, then (and now) they have a coffee bar and a lunch cafe that emits the yummiest aromas, and such beautiful wools, fibers, and yarns everywhere you look. They have become the largest, and friendliest (in my humble opinion) LYS in the area, and I can attest that they have some of the best customers anywhere! I invite you to check their Facebook page to see more!

So, we flash forward from 2013 to almost a year ago, when I badly damaged my knee, and I was pretty much housebound for about eight months, trying to heal and get walking with minimal pain. I thought that had ended my classes, assuming Ewe and I had kept moving on with their classes... but, as soon as I was able to drive again, the owner once again asked me to start my classes. To say I was excited is definitely an understatement!

It all was perfectly timed, without my intention. I had closed my Darlin Girl online business in Feb. 2019, and was finishing up promised commissions and starting on some of my own projects, so my free time was once again just creating, not for sales or marketing a hobby business. And when the classes came up, I had time to create projects for classes and focus all on teaching needle felting.

I, happily, can report that classes began in October, and are gaining attention! A local community news outlet wrote about my upcoming Christmas ornament and wool-painting classes in December, and since returning, I am having so much fun... it's even better than the first time around! I'm offering two kinds of needle felting classes... 3D sculpted figures, and 2D wool-painting. And I'm also doing more classes for projects that are a hybrid of the two forms, and they are extremely fun!

Ewe and I has online and in-person registration for my classes, making it very convenient for my upcoming students and workshop attendees, and I'm super excited that Ewe and I has become the most complete local resource for needle felting supplies! We even have a better selection that any store currently in Olympia! I hope to be able to help Ewe and I grow their needle felting supplies and become the only one-stop needle felting supply store in western Washington! It's a fun journey and I'm loving the teaching and sharing, and watching (and maybe helping just a little bit) a wonderful business like Ewe and I grow and thrive.

For those of you who are relatively local to Chehalis, Washington, here is my class schedule through the end of this year. (We are working on a wonderful new year of classes and I will post them after the holidays.)

More news coming soon, because I have reorganized and streamlined my entire online needle felting presence, and I'll tell you all about it next post. 

I'm excited to simplify, be more interactive, and be able to focus more on classes and creating. Life is what we make it, and I'm taking a stab at making it full, wooly, and wonderful! Hope you will, too!

'Til next we chat...

1 comment:

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