The Columbia Basin Culture Tour is returning for the 14th year in 2022, with one stop in Fernie.
The annual tour takes place on August 6 and 7, and showcases artists and artisans across the Columbia Basin, from Grand Forks to Elkford to Revelstoke.
This year, there’s only one stop in Fernie, with Sandra Barrett of the Fernie Forge and Eye of the Needle opening her doors to showcase felting – a craft she’s been doing for over 30 years.
“My intention is to show visitors the range of applications that felt can be used for, from really think boots to very fine shawls,” she said.
Barrett will be felting all weekend at Eye of the Needle in Fernie, and said that taking part in the Culture Tour was important to her.
“It feels like a legacy now. Because my husband and I worked on it together, and now I’m alone I need to have some connection with the past. So by learning new things about felt myself, I’m evolving but also I’m still rooted in the past.”
With her husband Barrett would showcase blacksmithing in the past at their home in Hosmer. She said she hoped she’d be able to revisit blacksmithing in the future.
“Every year it’s different … hopefully next year I might go back to blacksmithing as a demonstration. It’s nice to ring the changes, and that might bring a different sort of visitor.”
The Eye of the Needle is the only stop in Fernie for the 2022 Culture Tour, with a second artist – Katherine Russell Glass art – displaying in Elkford. Together the two Elk Valley locations join with 82 other artisans and artists across the Columbia Basin.
“Hopefully next year other people will participate and join in,” said Barrett. “It’s a lovely fun weekend where people can get a directory and go from one place to another, and often get demonstrations of things that aren’t done in public the rest of the year.
“I think any time you can share what you’re making with other people – especially when there’s a story behind it – is valuable both for me and the people who are visiting, because they’re learning something about what my intention is, and not just the finished object.”
A full list of participants can be found on the Columbia Basin Trust website.
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