Net Loft Fiber & Friends: FisherFolk 2018

Net Loft Fiber & Friends: FisherFolk 2018

For commercial fishermen here in Cordova, the preparation for fishing may take many months in order to be poised for a good day or week of actual fish being caught in one's net. It may take days or weeks to have a net put together or repaired and ready to fish, or to get the boat in good working order and ready to set the net and haul them on board, even though potentially the actual act of bringing them in might at times only take less than an hour. 

The net goes out and comes back in the same manner with a load of fish as it does with a water haul.  One just has to stay at it and be prepared, for when the fish come, it may be for just a short window of time, in comparison to the many months it took to get ready. When the season is all over, it takes time and effort to clean up the boat,  put everything away, and make lists for the jobs that must be done in order to be ready for the next season. So whether one is bringing in a net, delivering a load, repairing a broken power block or putting it away, it is all called "fishing". 

Many months have passed since writing here, much of it spent “fisherfolking”,  as in preparing, doing, and then picking up the pieces following our FisherFolk event.  But alas, the silence of many months is  broken, finally ready to write again, and FisherFolk seems a good place to start. 

Months of preparation to be ready for a mere seven days, it was all FisherFolk... before, during, and after, and in the midst of it all, was my second gansey coming close to completion. My desire for the gathering was to create an event that not only dealt with fiber arts, but that also focused on taking time to appreciate our local natural wilderness surroundings, while spending time with friends, old and new. 

land & sea

As already mentioned, the  focus for the event was not only on the knitting and fishing connection, but also on our local region where land and sea are so closely connected to our FisherFolk lifestyle. 

We are not a fancy community, but more like the home of a friend who you visit, and with whom you can simply be yourself and still be loved and appreciated. As I get older, I feel I need more grace than ever from those who surround me. I am becoming increasingly forgetful, tire and become distracted more easily, and in addition, am often even more disorganized than ever. I have many ideas, and am amazed at how many actually come to life, often at the last minute or close to it, thanks to those who catch the vision.  For now, this is just hello again.  Thanks to those who joined us for FisherFolk, and for those who joined us vicariously by the pennants they knit and sent to us to hang in the atrium and for the kind letters and cards that wished us well for the week.  

I was trying to explain to someone how these events come to life. Some people are much better planners than I. I feel as though many of my plans are "gifted" to me. I am just willing.  Willlng to listen and willing to act  on short notice. Willing to try. Willing to look foolish should I fail. Willing and also blessed. Blessed by those who say, "What can I do to help", and thus manifest the many ideas and details for the week.

I would like to thank the many volunteers and helpers  who offered their time to help take all the components and prepare them for the week's activities. I could not have done it without you.



In regard to FisherFolk storytelling, I thought I would begin with our logo for the event. It was based on a painting by English artist, Debbie George. I had seen her illustrations on Instagram, based on her collection of mugs that she fills with flowers and stages in front of various landscapes. I love her work, and also thought it was perfect that she was from the UK, because of their rich history, origin, and deep connections between fishing and knitting.

I requested a painting that would represent our land and sea theme geographically as well as representationally. The landscape and sea scape were the literal geographical representations of the land and sea, while the mug with the gansey as the sea and the wildflowers as the land, represented what we hoped to experience during the week, knitting instruction, along with outdoor activities amidst the wildflowers, shared with friends which I thought seemed symbolic in the mug, as in a shared cup of tea or coffee. 

I was so happy to see her painted interpretation as pictured above.

This motif was on our name tags as well as the booklet we produced for the event.  For the event, the painting hung in the entryway to the Dutch Gansey exhibit in our local museum. Thank you Debbie George for your artistry.

For those who also like this motif, and the story it tells, we have cards, a small print, sticker, and a very limited number of the booklets available on our website for those interested. There is a great pattern in the book called the Grass Island Cowl by Valerie Covel. We are carrying this wonderful Merino, Cashmere, Silk from Sweet Georgia Yarns which is a dream to knit, in Cordova Land & Sea colors especially to go with this pattern, which is also available as a single pattern.

Personally, I love the forget me nots and buttercups.  Forget me nots, because they are the Alaska state flower, and a reminder to keep both old  and new friends, near and far, close in thought and deed.  Buttercups, because their bright yellow color on grey rainy days lifts our spirits.

 The reality of this visual image was the inspiration for  our special Three Irish Girls "Cordova Rainy Day Buttercups" yarn color way, which was the yarn used by Evelyn Clark for her Buttercup Shawl that she designed for the event and workshop that she would be teaching.

This pattern is also available on our website and in the shop .  All items available from the event may be found in the FisherFolk Collection.  Proceeds of the print are continuing to help offset the expense of bringing  Stella Ruhe and the gansey exhibit from the Netherlands to America. 

So there, I have begun.  A good place to start, and I will continue to share more on our week and the different elements that made for a special time very very soon. 

I appreciate all of you so much. You are the richness of my life.

Thank you for listening.  More stories, very soon...


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I missed Fisherfolk 2018! Is there any possibility of another such event in 2019 or later?

Nancy J Born

I am so happy to read your reflections on the best gathering of artists and friends I’ve ever attended, Dotty! Lois and I love reminiscing about our week in the special magical Cordova area. Sigh…thank you!


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