Winnie Imrie

A crafty way to spend time with folks

A regular craft group is starting up again in Nakusp on Thursday afternoons.

A friend of mine recently asked me for details concerning the availability or even the existence of locally-based hobby craft groups and creative leisure time opportunities in general whose members are open to welcoming newcomers into their folds. This, regardless of the hopeful enthusiasts’ level of skills and ability.

I happened to be thumbing through a vintage arts magazine at the time, and since the enquiry seasoned my curiosity, it wasn’t long before I felt an urge to begin the search for at least some answers to my friend’s thought-provoking question.

For a time, it seemed that very few if any organized craft groups that are open to the public are in existence at the moment, although this was not the case just a few years ago. With the rapid demographic changes taking place within our community, it seems that our local artists and artisans may be at risk of losing touch with one another and along with that the inherent skills and wisdom associated with our cultural history. Could this be true?

I set about checking in with various creative resources to reinforce my belief that numerous  neighbourhoods remain enlivened by the demonstrated creative accomplishments of many talented individuals. The response to my question has led me to  believe that the world of contemporary as well as traditional handmade crafts of by-gone days were very much perceived as part of one’s everyday activities within a majority of Nakusp area households over past generations. At least up until the rapid and often times explosive introduction to today’s overcrowded consumer markets of vast quantities of primarily foreign-based factory made items, produced en masse by machines not people.

Furthermore, what I have learned is that traditionally handmade arts and crafts, which even now continue to be encouraged by such organizations as our local Arts Council and its member-groups, have represented an important aspect of the Nakusp region’s cultural as well as economic development over the past century.

In a recent chat with multi-arts and crafts proponents Christine Meyer and Winnie Imrie, I learned that they had made the decision to re-establish a central craft group which at one time had existed in the village until it lapsed into a period of (temporary) inactivity.

“It helps when we meet together and show each other the techniques needed to learn new skills,” Meyer noted and Imrie agreed, emphasizing that “getting to know what other crafters are doing creates a feeling of belonging and helps us to remain more independent and connected with the community.”

Both women have emerged as successful in their search for creative and sustainable living throughout their lives. Now residents of Rotary Villa seniors housing, they wish to lend encouragement and support to their friends and neighbours who would like to take up a new hobby or revive a past activity, and would love to pass along their knowledge to others, including our youth.

An invitation is extended to all interested persons to drop in, bring along your own craft projects, and enjoy the social opportunity and exchange of ideas at the regular Thursday afternoon craft group. It’s open to everyone, is free and it meets at the Rotary Villa (new building), second-floor lounge (wheelchair accessible)  between the hours of 1-4 p.m. For more information, contact Winnie Imrie at 265-9969.