The art of being a bit crafty
THESE days the humble arts and crafts fair has made a significant leap into modernity, and for proof you only had to visit Alstonville this weekend.
The Wollongbar and Alstonville Quota Club's annual Arts and Crafts Fair was a study in art with technique and taste being a highlight of the show.
Featured artist Bronwyn Russell-Collins brought to the event a lifetime of passion for ceramic sculpture.
The Evans Head resident said she has fostered an urge to create since she was a child.
"Sometimes that urge extends out of the workshop and into the home and then I think, 'Sh*t, my partner Shaun's coming home ... I've got to clean up!'" she said.
"I've always been crafty... It really is a creative journey and a lot of my work tells of that."
Christine Jones of Goonellabah is no ordinary knitter, having plied her needles since the age of eight.
Forty years on she is experimenting with a variety of fibres, including banana, bamboo, milk protein mixed with cotton, silk and of course the stuff off of the sheep's back.
"It's not just about wool anymore," said the owner of the Ballina business Yarn About Yarn.
Around the corner at the fair in the Alstonville Leisure Centre a group of spinners quietly plied their fibres.
Julie Kilpatrick of Kyogle said she had been spinning since she was a child, learning from her mother.
"It is soothing. It is relaxing," she said.
A veteran handler of numerous fibres, she finds musk ox wool the softest.
"The Inuit collect the fallen hair, so it tends to be a bit expensive," she said. "But wool mixed with Samoyed dog hair is soft too."
Across the aisle Leonie McIntosh of Goonellabah is marketing a range of shining jewellery, including tiny teacups mounted on finger rings.
The stay-at-home mum found life a bit boring after her daughter Jessie was born and turned a hobby and passion she nurtured since childhood into a successful business called She Shimmers with outlets in two Lismore shops.
"I try to keep on top of what fashions are coming next, what colours will make it into the shops this year," she said.