Skillshare Faire

Give as good as you get

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Got a skill? Want a skill? Got a thing? Want a thing?

Skill-sharing is about teaching and learning all kinds of useful, handy and practical skills. Bartering is about offering things you have and know to receive things you do not have and do not know.

“Years ago, lots of people knew how to repair and sharpen tools, make a braided rug, raise chickens, make soap, build a fence, make simple toys and much more,” Skillshare Faire organizer Terri Wilde says.

Now in its sixth year, the event sponsored by Sustainable Bellingham and supported by a number of other local organizations is designed to help revive lost skills, showcase some new ones, and provide a place where everyone can come learn from folks in the community with experience in these crafts and trades.

Among the many skill-sharing categories that will be highlighted throughout the last weekend of summer are self-reliance (living off the grid), food preservation (intro to seed saving and plant breeding), gardening (growing medicinal plants in polycultures, garden trellis weaving), health and wellness (traditional feng shui, Bhakti yoga, herbal tea blending), appropriate technology (electrical vehicle conversion), permaculture, emergency preparation, hands-on activities (weaving lavender wands, spoon carving), primitive skills (humanure composting in town) and community resilience.

“From knot tying and rocket stoves, to acro yoga and fruit wines, we have a very interesting lineup,” Wilde adds. “We will also be joined by the Northwest Mushroomers Association doing a foray and mushroom identification session on Saturday. Tree climbing, art from the Lookout Arts Quarry, great live music, swimming, camping and food will make for a family fun weekend adventure.”

The music lineup alone is worth the price of admission, with performances and a variety of dancing, songs and stories thought the day with bands and callers such as Hot Damn Scandal, Happy Valley Sluggers, Misty Flowers, Wild Ginger, Little Brown Mushrooms, and the SeaGoats.

The barter portion of the Faire allows folks to trade handcrafted, homemade, wild-harvested or self-cultivated items and tools that they have in surplus for things they need. If this year’s bumper crops are filling your larder to overflowing, consider swapping what you have too much of.

“I traded my excess organic meat for homemade jam, jewelry, yarn, dried fruit and more last year,” volunteer kitchen coordinator Naomi Siegel says, “and I just made a few dozen jars of rhubarb jam to bring this year.”

But even if you don’t have items or skills to share or barter, don’t let that stop you from experiencing all the event has to offer. If you want to get involved even further, consider joining the entirely volunteer-run event by signing up for behind-the-scenes tasks (for further incentive, volunteers get a free pass and a nourishing meal from the kitchen).

“We welcome people from all walks of life,” Wilde says. “The more diversity in those who present and attend, the more we can learn from each other.”

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