Judges evaluate the projects by the 4-H Fibre Arts Club at a July show. (submitted)

The loom continues to shuttle through COVID for 4-H fibre arts

This did not deter our diehard 4-H weavers.

Cowichan 4-H Fibre Arts started this year as any other with selection of yarns in varying hues and textures for the weaving projects and carefully prepared each member’s table loom. But just after the looms went home, COVID-19 hit and all meetings were cancelled.

This did not deter our diehard 4-H weavers. They continued weaving and the leaders were on hand to coach by phone and occasionally in person, with distancing. Some 4-H members produced more than their two assigned projects, and others took a stab at needle felting.

In a typical year, the club meets twice a month for project mentoring and troubleshooting. The biggest impact our members felt from COVID-19 was the lack of meetings, as the enthusiasm they engender is a huge boon to motivation. It was a different experience for all of us this year. The 4-H slogan, “Learn To Do By Doing,” was put into effect for more than just projects this year — we all had to learn to navigate the new normal.

Our generous sponsors, the Tzouhalem Spinners and Weavers Guild, judged the members’ projects and awarded the ribbons this July. We had a small, successful gathering so that members could share with their peers what they had created, all the while taking care to abide by Dr. Bonnie Henry’s guidelines to keep our distance, wash our hands and stay outdoors.

The cancellation of regular programming for the Cobble Hill Fair and the Cowichan Exhibition was disappointing news for the club. These fairs are a culmination of our year’s work and a public opportunity for 4-H members to showcase their fibre arts. The good news is, the Cobble Hill Fair board has worked hard to prepare a virtual fair for the community to exhibit their talents and we will be in there. Check out our projects! (https://cobblehillfair.weebly.com/)

Please take a look at the Cowichan Exhibitions “UN FAIR-20” as you can see some of the valley’s crafts folks and weavers work, including some of our 4-H folks in the open shows.

Sincere thanks to the Spinners and Weavers Guild for their ongoing support and to the 4-H District and club leaders for their guidance, especially during these unprecedented times. Depending on health guidelines, we hope to have another outdoor get-together in August to hold our Showmanship Class. Right now, we are strategizing on how to move forward for next year with the new-normal operating procedures.

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