Nancy joined the Valley Artisans in 2023.
Felting, the act of shaping wool, by using either water and soap or just a needle, into cloth or an item has endless possibilities. The manipulation of unspun wool allows me to make wall hangings, clothes, Christmas decorations, three dimensional items, and so much more.
My name is Lidia. I am originally from Spain, but I crossed the pond almost 10 years ago. I have been living in Deep River since September 2018, and I love all kinds of crafts, specially crochet and paper crafts. When I’m not crocheting, scrapbooking or making cards, I enjoy the outdoors, specially hiking and taking photos of nature.
When I was little, my grandmother tried to teach me the arts of crochet, knitting, embroidery, and sewing, but I was more interested in playing and didn’t pay much attention, so I didn’t learn much. Doilies and tea towels are not very appealing for an 10 years-old girl.
A few years ago, at an artisans market, some adorable crochet animals and dolls caught my attention. It was very different from what my grandmother had tried to teach me. So, I asked the artisan about it, and he told me it was a Japanese technique called Amigurumi, which means “crocheted stuffed toy.” After that, I started researching this fascinating technique. While browsing the internet, I came across some YouTube videos that taught me the basic crochet and Amigurumi stitches. Then, I joined a chat group of Amigurumi artisans, and we help each other with tricks to improve and progress. In order to practice, and taking advantage of having two nieces on the way, I made them a stuffed toy for their cribs. They weren’t perfect, but I put all my love on them. After many years they still cherish them dearly. Since then, every newborn in the family receives a special handmade piece from me.
Why give an Amigurumi as a gift?
According to tradition, each Amigurumi has a “soul” that makes it the lifelong companion and confidant of its owner, providing protection and comfort in times of stress and sadness. In some cases, they are used as personal charms and also in homes, businesses, and workplaces.
It is said that they do not have a mouth (although they can also be made with a mouth) because they feel the same as their owner. So, if their owner is happy, they will accompany them in their joy. And if they are sad, they will accompany them in their sorrow.
Additionally, as their confidant, since they don’t have a mouth, they will never reveal their secrets.
Although the origin of Amigurumi is not clear, it is believed to have roots in China, where records of knitted dolls have been found from the Shang Dynasty.
In Japan, they began to appear in the early 17th century during the Edo period.
This technique spread further in the late 19th century when the Dutch introduced knitting techniques to Japan.
These techniques became popular among the samurai, who created decorations for their katanas and garments.The samurai would knit using their fingers to maintain agility in their hands.
In the late 1970s, the kawaii culture emerged, and it began to gain popularity.
In the Western world, they became popular in the mid-2000s when video tutorials and online patterns started to appear.
The materials I use to make my Amigurumi are cotton yarn for the crochet work and synthetic fiber for the stuffing, safety eyes when they are not embroidered, felt to make some accessories, and some fabrics to make dresses.
Batik & sock monkeys
Tracy joined the Valley Artisans’ Coop in 2000.
Miracle for Children FUndraiser
I got interested in crochet when I was 16 years old. My mother was taking a Beginner Crochet Course at a Continuing Education High School and was coming home with her completed projects. I told her that I was interested in trying this out, so she enrolled me in the next Beginner Course, while she took the Intermediate Course, the next semester. I became obsessed with intricate doilies and tablecloths at that time and made a number of them. After a while, my interests changed to needlepoint, then cross stitch and embroidery, so crochet took a back seat for several years. . . like over 30 years. Life happens! Marriage, children, jobs, a business or two or three!
When I retired in the Fall of 2009 and moved to Deep River, I joined the local Deep River and Area Jabez Blanket Ministry. The Ministry’s goal is to produce beautiful hand crocheted or knitted blankets that are added to a “Back Pack of Hope” and sent to orphanages around the world. I became heavily involved with this group and subsequently became the local coordinator. One of my tasks is to encourage donations of yarn from the local communities surrounding Deep River. Some of the yarn donated is not always suitable for blankets, so rather than dispose of it, I decided to try my hand at making head warmers and neck warmers. I began attending craft shows and my hats became very popular. I started out of course using patterns from designers which I found for free on the internet. In the last few years, I honed my skills and felt comfortable in tweaking designs to make them more my own. Since I have such a beautiful variety of yarn… different fibres, colours, weights and textures, I can use these to create a lot of one of a kind hats, headbands and neck warmers. I love to play with textured crochet stitches to see if they will work in “the round” for a hat. To make my product even more unique, I will often use clip on earrings, broaches or other types of embellishments, along with buttons to decorate an appliqué or the brim of a hat or neck warmer.
Since a lot of the materials I use are donated, all of the profit from the sale of my products goes to Charities… The Jabez Blanket Ministry International (which started it all) and other local grass root charities. I provide the labour at no cost, since crochet is also therapy for me. I love creating these useful accessories and then being able to help out worthwhile organizations.
Born and raised in the Ottawa Valley, Laura is surrounded by nature and strives to capture the beauty of her environment in her wearable artwork.
A long time member of the Valley Artisans Co-op in Deep River she has honed her skills over the years working with many different mediums.
A professional fiber artist, Laura has mastered the art of Sun dyeing, also known as Heliographic Printing. Over the past 15 plus years she has been collecting interesting looking plants, seeds, flowers and nuts from nature and her own back yard gardens to imprint their images on silk, rayon and cotton. Her one of a kind scarves are sold all over the world and are often shipped to distant lands as symbols of Canada, especially the ones she makes in Autumn colours using maple leaves, sumac, wild raspberry and beech nuts.
When the summer ends and the sun is no longer strong enough to sun dye, Laura turns indoors to continue the creative process by using other dye techniques like spray, ice and snow dyeing.
Durability is an important component of Laura’s work and everything she creates is made to be washed, ironed and stands the test of time.
To expand her accessory line Laura began to fashion scarf jewelry that perfectly matches the colours in her scarves. Using a selection of thousands of different beads, crystals and stones, Laura produces individual, unique and one of a kind pieces of jewelry that are used to hold and accessorize her scarves.
The vast colours found in alcohol inks attracted Laura several years ago to explore other mediums such as paper art and home décor. Anything that is colourful and vibrant is a magnet to Laura and her pursuit of new applications is boundless.
Come visit her at the Valley Artisans Co-op in Deep River or at one of the many art shows she exhibits at around Ontario.
When I joined the Valley Artisans Co-op in 2021, my husband and I had been in Deep River for less than one year.
My interest in sewing and knitting came at an early age while I was in high school and took the Home Ec course. I made clothes for myself back then and when our children came along, sewed for them during their childhood years.
When our grandchildren started to arrive, I knitted them all their first blankets as well as sweaters and, of course, slippers and mitts.
This year I will celebrate 50 years of sewing which has given me many hours of pleasure, as well as facing difficult projects and learning to problem solve and feeling a great sense of accomplishment.
I set up my business in 2014, giving it the official name Connie’s Creations. My display at the gallery has kept me very busy and I have built lasting friendships there as well as met many of the local people. It’s great fun to attend the craft shows around the Ottawa Valley where I continue to meet some wonderful, generous people.
My main focus is making baby/toddler clothing and accessories such as dresses, hats, rompers, house coats, sleep sacks, burp cloths, blankets, baby mittens, scrunchies and barrettes, as well as COVID masks, aprons, eco friendly cloths, and tea towel dresses to hang over the oven door.
I also take special orders and have been busy making memory bears/pillows. The customer brings me clothing from a loved one who has passed and I make them into a bear or pillow. I have made over 20 bears so far and around 15 pillows. It is such a satisfying project which brings such peace and comfort to those who are grieving.
Heather rejoined the Valley Artisans’ Coop in 2022.
I grew up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan surrounded by visual art. My father is a retired architect and my mother was a weaver. Though I have little formal training, I spent my early years immersed in the local arts community and enjoying the art that filled my parents’ home.
In 1997, I moved to Deep River with my family, joining the Valley Artisan’s Co-op in 2007, the latest fork in a career path which has included teaching and raising kids.
I have been sewing almost as long as I can remember. My wise mother found ways to direct me to her sewing machine where I spent countless hours creating elaborate outfits for my fashion dolls and continued to sew my own (less elaborate) clothes.
My first ventures into fabric art and custom garments included hand-painted silk scarves, silk lingerie and dresses for weddings and graduations. Once I had children, I turned my energies towards more immediate and practical pursuits, sewing clothes and costumes and teaching the willing ones to sew for themselves.
I began my first quilt in 1987 for my daughters’ double bed. It took more than two years to complete, but was the inspiration for more. I created several wall-hangings from published designs before beginning to design for myself in 2006. I now concentrates my creative energies on wall-quilts of various sized, from letter-sized picture quilts to larger wall-hangings.
I see ideas everywhere, particularly in the natural world. I love the endless possibilities of colour, texture and pattern that quilting offers.