Spotlight: Ali

Today we are spotlighting Ali!  We first met Ali as a client at one of our Knitting in Recovery classes.  Now Ali has been clean and sober for over a year, and she is one of our teachers for Knitting in Recovery!

Over the summer, Ali submitted several pieces to the Ventura County Fair and won three 3rd place, one 2nd place, and one 1st place ribbons!

Ali is currently teaching for Knitting in Recovery at one facility and will be starting at a few new facilities in the coming months.  We are also hoping to start a knitting and crochet group at the VC Arts Collective in the Pacific View Mall, which Ali will teach.

Ali has several pieces on display and available for purchase at the VC Arts Collective, including several beanies slouchy beanies and adorable clutch purses.

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She has finished several recent commissions including leg warmers, beanies, and blankets, and she is currently working on a king-sized blanket for a family friend.  She is already planning on making beanies in sports team and school colors to have for sale at the mall space, such as black and gold for Ventura High School.

Thank you, Ali, for helping our program grow and better serve our community.

 

Donor Spotlight: Deb Thompson

At Knitting in Recovery, all of our gracious donors mean the world to us.  They make what we do possible, so we wanted to take the time to highlight them and share our deepest gratitude.

Today we are spotlighting Deb Thompson.

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Like many of us, Deb learned to knit from her mother when she was young.  She mostly put her needles down until she walked into Anacapa Fine Yarns and was suddenly inspired to knit again!  (Who can ever resist gorgeous yarn?!)  Deb has also taken up weaving, in part as a means to use up scrap yarn, and has even ventured into spinning her own yarn.  She is part of the Ventura Weavers and Spinners Guild.

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Deb made a generous donation of vibrant wool yarn, including some that she had spun herself.  We are honored to receive this labor of love.

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Deb’s hand-spun yarn.

Thank you, Deb, for helping our program succeed in helping other women in our community.

Reentry through the Arts Grant

Knitting in Recovery recently received a grant for Reentry through the Arts (RTA) from the California Arts Council (CAC).

Reentry Through the Arts is a new, two-year pilot grant program rooted in the California Arts Council’s belief that the arts are a powerful vehicle for positive change in people, communities and society.  The grant supports high quality arts programs for people who have been convicted of a criminal offense and have served time in correctional institutions. The proposed grant project must have the arts as a central component of a holistic and integrated approach to reentry that also identifies other community-based support services including but not limited to job skills training, job placement, mental health and wellness, drug treatment, and/or case management.

Knitting in Recovery, in collaboration with the Ventura County Arts Council (VCAC), is using this grant to provide workforce training to one of our clients who is on probation and has been clean and sober for over a year.  She lives with her infant son and is a talented crocheter.  Now, she is able to serve others by teaching Knitting in Recovery classes at several of our facilities.

Through the grant, she is able to work at the VCAC Arts Collective in the Pacific View Mall.  At the Arts Collective, she is learning customer service, inventory, point of sale, merchandising, event-planning, and other valuable workplace skills.

Knitting in Recovery at the Pacific View Mall

For over a year, Knitting in Recovery has partnered with the Ventura County Arts Council (VCAC), a non-profit that serves the whole of Ventura County with arts education and advocacy.  VCAC runs a space in the Pacific View Mall called the VC Arts Collective.  The space acts as part gallery, part retail space, and part art studio and classroom.

 

Knitting in Recovery is very excited to be featured in this space.  Currently, we have a permanent display case full of work made by our clients.  We also have some pieces hanging along the display wall including a fantastic granny-square blanket and small pom-pom wall-hanging.  Our teachers and clients engage in workforce training and help to staff the space.

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In the near future, we hope to establish knitting and crochet classes in the space and have an Arts in Recovery exhibition (including reception) including work from our knitting and crochet classes, visual art classes, and poetry classes taught at recovery centers.

We are excited about the opportunities the Arts Collective provides for our program and our clients.  Many thanks to the Ventura County Arts Council for their collaboration.

The VC Arts Collective is located at:
The Pacific View Mall
3301 E Main St, Suite 2167
Ventura, CA 93003

Donor Spotlight: Celeste Matesevac and BookEnds Bookstore

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At Knitting in Recovery, all of our gracious donors mean the world to us.  They make what we do possible, so we wanted to take the time to highlight them and share our deepest gratitude.

Today we are spotlighting Celeste Matesevac, Marcia Doty, and BookEnds Bookstore.  BookEnds has hosted our Worldwide Knit in Public Day celebrations for several years now and has also hosted a number of community scarf baskets.  We asked Celeste and Marcia to share a little bit about themselves, the shop, and how they got involved with Knitting in Recovery.  Thank you, Celeste, Marcia, and BookEnds, for helping our program succeed in helping other women in our community:

BookEnds Bookstore & Curiosities is located in Meiners Oaks, the unincorporated area just outside of Ojai.  BookEnds is run by Marcia Doty and Celeste Matesevac.  Marcia began selling Antiquarian Spiritual books years ago and always dreamed of having a bookstore in a church.  Celeste had a career of working for non-profits in Ojai until retiring in 2017 from 14 years with the Search Dog Foundation of Santa Paula, CA.  The pair have run several businesses together over the years, but this one is by far their favorite, as they love meeting new people and sharing not only their books but also the town’s incredible history.

BookEnds’ mission is to keep the printed word alive through our “lightly read” treasures of mainly non-fiction books. The bookstore is a literary escapade, as you can browse in the church/bookstore to discover the History of Ideas, Fine Arts, Children’s Literature and especially the Spiritual Traditions.  Or go outside to Addendum 1, a retrofitted 1961 Airstream, to explore Travel, Adventure, the Great Outdoors.  It’s a bookshop on wheels that stays in one place.  Directly behind the Airstream is Addendum 2-Do, a homey hideaway tiny-house shed featuring Crafts, Hobbies, Gardening and inspired Everyday Living.

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Addendum 1, located in a refurbished airstream

The shop also features vintage bookends throughout the store, vintage cameras, and has a case of Vaseline Glass for sale.

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Vaseline glass on display at BookEnds
Fun fact: BookEnds is located in a 75 year old Church of Christ, built by George Biggers who was Ojai Valley’s bee/honey provider for years. He built the church, became the minister, was the Ojai Valley’s main honey provider, and traveled around becoming “famous” in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as the only person that could make a beard out of bees!
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Inside the old church.
Each year the knitting world, internationally, created one “Knit in Public Day” in June.  Lise Solvang had become a good friend of the bookstore, and as Marcia and Celeste got to know her, Lise shared her passion for Knitting in Recovery.  Three years ago, Lise asked if BookEnds outside garden area would host a Knit in Public Day.  BookEnds has hosted every year since.  What began as the only Knit in Public Day in Ventura County with a handful of knitters is now an annual event hosting over 100 people throughout the day.
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Worldwide Knit in Public Day!
BookEnds has so many wonderful new friends from that first day that continue to spread the word about the bookstore.
Thank you, BookEnds, for supporting our program!