Nestled in the coastal town of St. Stephen, New Brunswick sits a small, unassuming art shop, inconspicuous from the exterior. The building is old. The paint is peeling a little. The steps are weather worn. You enter into a dim hallway and need to take a second door to the left.
That’s when the magic happens.
Immediately your senses are flooded with color: sights beyond your wildest dreams, and the sound of what is probably a peculiar podcast playing in the background. There’s an angry plush vagina hanging from the ceiling. A painting of an animal skull on one wall. Felted monsters on another shelf. Somewhere you can find cute little owl hats. Probably.
“Came about to support my habit of felting”
This is Ridgewood Fiber and this is the eccentric and wonderful brainchild of Mindy Cloney Harrison.
The store itself has been functioning for a grand total of one year, but Mindy has been doing Farmers Markets and Artist Co-Ops for the past four years on a steady basis. Every Friday she still attends the St. Stephen Farmer’s Market with her wild and wonderful brand of art: soft felt sculptures and wool paintings that are so far removed from the ordinary that one has to wonder if the craft was ever something that could be considered boring. I certainly couldn’t!
Mindy is a master of spinning yarn: a talent you need to see to believe. (At the bottom of this article I will be providing a link to the Ridgewood Fiber Facebook page. Please check it out for more information!) Messy work, spinning is an old craft but a rewarding experience that yields exceptional results in a variety of different yarns! But it doesn’t end there! She also weaves textiles, knits, crochets, sews and has recently started up ethical taxidermy (taxidermy not involving anything that has been shot or hunted).
Ridgewood Fiber offers a full range of classes by both Mindy herself as well as guest teachers from around the area, bringing forward everything from fiber sculpting and wool paintings to watercolor painting. Many students repeat classes, proving the joy and effectiveness of the experience: art is fun!
“Give artists a foothold in the community.”
Mindy and her shop also give host (and organizes!) the local charity Warm Hands, Warm Hearts, which gives focus to bringing children and those in need knitted mittens, scarves, socks and hats during the cold Canadian winter. Last year the charity donated to the local Elementary Schools and the Resource Center. Along with finished products, uncounted bags of yarn were donated last winter to the charity, assuring there were certainly a few warmer souls in Charlotte County.
With a reputation of good products, wacky designs and top-notch teaching skills, Ridgewood Fiber is a sure-stop for anyone making a trip around New Brunswick (or even Canada!).
“Encourage people to price their work appropriately.”
At the moment, the store hosts approximately 32 artists in-shop with such a variety that it’s astounding. There is every medium present, and artists send their work from as far as Toronto, Ontario. But one thing isn’t present: webcomics. That said, Mindy has expressed an interest in bringing indie comics as a new art medium into her shop. Are any of you lovely creators interested? Contact Ridgewood Fiber today!