Although The Makehouse is still a very new fixture in Victoria, our space has already been enhanced by some very generous and enthusiastic souls! Some might call them fairy godmothers, others would say they are angels, but one thing for sure is that we are so lucky to have these people in our lives!
It all started with the first article that appeared in the Times Colonist, which led to the telephone ringing several times with delighted Victorians offering their sewing machines, fabrics and haberdashery to help set up our studio. I met with several people in person, including a stop in Chemainus for tea to meet a lady called Bea who is now sadly unable to sew due to arthritis in her hands. Bea told me that when she saw the article she was so delighted that she finally had the answer to what she could do with the contents of her sewing room!
The article also led me to get to know Marilyn Vallance [pictured above], the first godmother to The Makehouse. Marilyn [a lifetime seamstress and crafter and serial networker] began to bring round very useful equipment and materials to the studio including ironing boards, fabrics, patterns and so much more. Marilyn continues to bring happiness [and small gifts, which are sometimes edible] whenever she visits and will soon be teaching a workshop in rug-hooking!
Shortly before moving into our Fort Street shop front, I exhibited at the Vancouver Island Mini Maker Faire held in North Saanich. It was there that I met our next godmother Dela Wilkins – a nurse, knitter, sewer and lifecare coach. Dela has been very generous in her donations of both useful equipment, materials and books, but also with her time. In fact Dela has also given her time by running the ‘Stitching Parlour’ sessions to give me a chance to travel to a family wedding! Here’s what Dela says about The Makehouse…
When I first met Jenny at the Maker Faire, my first thought was “Wow, what a great idea”. My next thought was “How can I support this, in every way?”
As a lifelong sewer, who also knits and crochets, I have often been asked to make things for others. My usual response is: I will help you make it. We would work on the project together, either at their home or in my sewing studio. It was a great way to visit with friends or get to know new people. When I lived in a small rural Ontario town, this was comfortable, as I knew everyone. In a city, this is more difficult.
Everyone has the ability to learn how to make things. What most people lack is the confidence to do it alone or for the first time. The Makehouse offers a welcome space for people to work on projects together until they gain confidence.
Dela Wilkins – February 8, 2013
More recently we’ve been awestruck at the love shown to us by Ed George. Ed and his wife were previous tenants at 833 Fort Street for over 15 years as Angela Fashions. They ran a bridal shop together, which was based in Oak Bay for many years before. Ed came to see me just before Christmas to deliver the sad news that his wife had passed away. He later told me that he would like to bring over some of the materials from her sewing studio. We are now housing an immense collection of patterns, beads, feathers, silks, art supplies and the list just goes on and on. We are so grateful for Ed’s generosity and for sharing his wisdom and stories of their life in business together in Victoria.
We’ve also had random donations from excited souls including the ladies from Satin Moon [our neighbours] and some of our students who just can’t help sharing! I still can’t believe how lucky we are to have so much support in such a short while. With our 6 month anniversary coming up on Friday March 1st, I want to say thanks again to Bea, Dela, Marilyn, Ed, my mother and father [who has helped with so many of my handy man needs on visits to Victoria!] and all of you wonderful people who have helped to make my dreams come true!
What a warm welcome back to Canada! I am truly touched.