Unique crafting event aims to inspire creativity

Hands-on format allows participants to learn new skills

Crafter Tally Heilke shows off the miniature Ninja Turtles she made using a technique known as needle felting. Heilke is taking part in the first IconoCraft show next week in Victoria.

Crafter Tally Heilke shows off the miniature Ninja Turtles she made using a technique known as needle felting. Heilke is taking part in the first IconoCraft show next week in Victoria.

So you’ve always wanted to make your own crafts, but you just don’t know where to start. Or perhaps you are a veteran crafter looking for new ideas.

Whatever your experience level, IconoCraft is the place for you. This interactive event, celebrating the do-it-yourself world of crafting, has a little something for everyone.

However, unlike other craft fairs, which focus on the display and sale of crafts, the goal of IconoCraft is to inspire.

“Last year we had a button-making station and it was crazy,” says Sammie Gough, one of the June 22 event’s organizers. “So many people wanted to make their own buttons. We realized that was what we wanted to focus on this year: being inspired by all the incredible crafts that are on display.”

The goal, says Gough, is to allow participants to really get their hands dirty. “You can see what other artists are creating and then you can actually make something yourself.”

This is no macaroni-and-glue operation. Participants can choose from a range of crafts, from screen-printed T-shirts to chainmail, buttons and even some less-traditional options.

“One of the gals from the Cheesecake Burlesque crew will show fun and simple ways to take your underwear and give it a more burlesque style,” says Gough.

To encourage maximum craftiness, the $10 admission cost includes $3 in tokens which can be used to acquire materials for use at the various craft-making tables.

All the materials are provided by workshop leaders and participants can purchase more tokens depending on their level of inspiration.

The mini-workshops will be led by Victoria-area artists eager to share their skills and passion with others.

“We want to sort of evangelize the crafting,” says Tally Heilke, who runs a local craft blog called I Can Make That and will lead a needle felting demonstration.

“When people show up to a craft fair, they’re either interested in the crafts themselves, or they think ‘I couldn’t make that in a million years,’ and they’re shocked to learn they can actually do it themselves.”

Participants will also have the opportunity to watch large-scale demonstrations by some of the area’s best craft artists. It’s a great chance to learn about the creation process of work like laser cutting, wool carding and air-brush painting.

Throughout the evening, crafters will be entertained by music from DJ Desunos, and a live painting exhibition will be ongoing.

“I’m envisioning this wonderful whirlwind of colour and people chatting and creating things,” says Heilke. “I’m really excited to see what people who have never tried these things will come up with.”

IconoCraft runs next Wednesday (June 22) at the Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St. Doors open at 7 p.m.

editor@oakbaynews.com