When Port Alberni fibre artist Jill Gibson opened an art studio and store in 2019, she wasn’t expecting a worldwide pandemic to close things down just a year later.
Now, with the world slowly re-opening after COVID-19, Gibson is hoping to re-open Raven Wool Art Studio for classes and events.
Gibson has been working with textiles for almost her whole life. Raised by a mother who knitted and sewed with wool, Gibson was inspired by seeing the different things her mother could create.
“With seven kids in the family, she would stay up late some nights to sew,” said Gibson. “She made hats, she sewed clothes and made rugs. She had a real passion for it.”
Gibson’s interest drove her to explore dying and spinning wool. She has now expanded her skill set to include felting, spinning and weaving. Her shop on Burde Street in Port Alberni is full of all kinds of felted creations, including dolls, felted clothes and hats, pillows, pincushions, decorations and even a cap shaped like a skull.
“Right now I like to felt,” Gibson explained. “I like creating new things from the wool. It feels good, almost like art therapy.”
Gibson left Port Alberni to study textiles at the Banff School of Fine Arts and apprenticed with Judith MacKenzie, a renowned textile artist and teacher. From there, Gibson opened a studio in Nanoose Bay and started teaching at an independent school in the Oceanside area that offered Waldorf-based learning and education sessions.
In 2019, Gibson opened her shop in Port Alberni, but she was forced to close for a while after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. The shop offers sales of wool, supplies and completed items, but as she re-opens, Gibson is also hoping to offer classes and workshops for both children and adults.
“I want to offer a place where they can come and do art,” said Gibson. “That’s what I enjoy doing—passing on the love of wool and sewing and what you can do with them.”
Raven Wool Art Studio is located at 4926 Burde Street. Gibson can often be found felting outside of her store. Although Gibson doesn’t have set hours for her store yet, she can be contacted by phone (250-735-4966) or email (email@example.com) to set up an appointment.