Yukoners who are feeling crafty and don’t mind working in front of an audience may want to head down to the wharf on the Whitehorse waterfront after work this Friday.
That’s where the territory’s first Etsy Craft Party will take place, in conjunction with similar events around the world the same day.
Etsy is an online marketing site popular among artists and craftspeople. In a sense, it is kind of like eBay, where artists and artisans can promote their wares and locate suppliers for the things they need.
“It’s been incredibly successful,” says local artist Amber Church, who uses the site regularly to sell art prints.
“But they also have a mandate for public education and outreach, where they want to get more people doing art and doing craft, which is why they’re throwing craft parties,” she explains.
“It’s become an annual event, and they have them around the world. They send a fair amount of free supplies, so if people don’t have any supplies themselves, they can come and have something to work with.”
This is the second arts-related event Church has helped put together on the wharf recently.
The painting competition she organized for Art Battle Canada last month drew about 200 people to watch 12 local painters go head-to-head in three 20-minute rounds before choosing a favourite to compete at the national level.
Unlike the art battle, which was won by John Boivin, Etsy craft parties are non-competitive, and the works produced won’t be auctioned off as part of the event.
“It’s meant to be something that brings communities together and allows them to do something cool together, essentially,” Church says.
“Etsy really wanted to see that it got into the North,” she adds. “They keep an eye on who seems connected in their communities, and I guess I was the person they flagged who seemed active and might be willing, so they reached out.”
Church’s biggest challenge leading up to this week’s event is deciding what supplies to order with the credit Etsy provides for the local crafters.
“We’ve come up with a few things people can do, just simple projects if they don’t have their own stuff, and we’ll use the credit they gave us to get those supplies in,” she says.
“But I’m also hoping those projects will be diverse enough that you can take the same supplies and do something off the wall, something completely different from what they were intended for.”
The Whitehorse event, which runs from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, June 6, is free to the public and open to anyone who wants to participate, regardless of skill or experience levels.
Members of the Northern Fibres Guild and Yarn Bomb Yukon will be on hand to do demonstrations and assist participants. Arts Underground is also providing door prizes.
Local crafters are encouraged to share photos of their work with @etsy and also see what’s happening in other communities, via Instagram or Twitter at #craftparty.
The only rule, Church stresses, is to have fun.
“We’ll have tables set up, and tents. Lots of things will be going on, and we’ll have supplies ready,” she says.
“So just come out and join. It’s a chance to connect with your community, it’s a chance to do something with your hands, and a chance to sit by the river in the sunshine.”