I’ve been doing a lot of unpacking, listening, reading and discussing of the issue of accessibility and inclusion in the fibre arts community that has surfaced in social media and (hopefully) everywhere over the past two weeks.
The first thing that needs to be said is let’s practice patience, kindness and empathy in this discussion. This weekend the Baaad Anna’s staff came together, and what became quickly clear is that every one of us is at a different place of understanding and impact, but we spent the morning learning from each other and working through our different perspectives. Its only one step in each of our journeys, but a critical piece that took time to manifest.
Baaad Anna’s Yarn Store was opened specifically to provide an inclusive and accessible place in the fibre arts community. Here is the wording we have always stood by:
Baaad Anna’s provides affordable, diverse, and eco-friendly yarn, knitting supplies and classes. We strive to create a community space for diverse crafters, parents, artists and non-conformist knitters in the East Van Neighbourhood.
We carry a spectrum of yarns and fibres of different price points, fibre contents and intended purposes. Recently, an indie dyer that we have been an exclusive stockist of in Canada publicly entered this diversity conversation and posted statements that have hurt and encouraged hateful discourse to fibre artists in our community. I felt it was our duty to come together as staff to collectively work through this issue. It is not a simple issue, and there was a lot to unpack. But moreover, there is not a single obvious answer as to what action to take to create the greatest good. There are various options: pull the yarn, overdye, allow the remainder of the stock to be sold with proceeds supporting the community that was negatively impacted, to name some. We chose the following:
We will not be selling any more of Tuskenknits yarn. We will offer refunds to anyone who has a skein in their stash that they feel uncomfortable with. And personally I will be making a monetary donation to a local organization that helps newly arrived Canadians settle into their communities. This will be to an organization I have supported in the past, and will continue to support their amazing work in our neighbourhood bringing inclusiveness, life-skills, support and kindness to our community. And I welcome a continuation of this conversation, and encourage action in this issue that creates the fibre community that we can all be proud of.