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Skillshare Faire features lost arts, modern expertise

A woman spins wool into yard at the Skillshare Faire in 2013. The 2015 event is Aug. 29-30.
A woman spins wool into yard at the Skillshare Faire in 2013. The 2015 event is Aug. 29-30. The Bellingham Herald

Watch demonstrations and learn about pioneer skills and so-called “lost arts” that have practical modern applications during the fourth annual Skillshare Faire this weekend.

“We’ve had good entertainment and educational opportunities for the kids,” said Bill Sterling with the local Center for Self-Reliance, which is organizing the event with Transition Whatcom.

Popular demonstrations include shearing sheep and carding wool to spin into yarn. Visitors also can learn how to darn a sock, crochet and cross-stitch, and turn rags into rugs. Classes show the basics of beekeeping and butchering poultry, home brewing and wild fermentation, and how to make such foods as sourdough bread, kimchee and goat cheese.

Other skills include making fire with friction, using wild fibers for rope, and wilderness first aid. You’ll even find presentations on such 21st-century themes as yoga, running a crowdfunding campaign, and preventive auto maintenance.

“There’s probably 80 different skills related to homesteading and self-reliance, like making soap or making root beer, it’s part of the old homesteading or pioneer skills,” Sterling said. “All the way across the country, those skills were taught and shared.”

Sterling said such varied lost arts would be a good way to enhance the understanding of American history, especially the pioneer movement and western expansion in the late 1800s.

He’s teaching classes on cold storage of food, and winter gardening.

There’s even a class in how to whistle with your fingers, Sterling said.

“That gal is so loud! They must’ve had a lot of acreage for their claim. I’m impressed,” he said.

The Skillshare Faire is 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, and 10 a.m.to 6 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 30, at Fairhaven Park, on Chuckanut Drive south of Old Fairhaven Parkway. Parking is also available at Fairhaven Middle School.

Admission is $15 ($25 for a weekend pass) for adults; $5 for ages 9-15 with parent or adult ($10 weekend); and free for those younger than 9 and older than 70.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at http://whatcomskillsharefaire.org/tickets/. Register to volunteer and receive free admission.

Because of livestock at the fair, no dogs are allowed.  

Reach Robert Mittendorf at 360-756-2805 or robert.mittendorf@bellinghamherald.com. Tweeting @goMittygo and @DressLikeADuck.

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Find Robert Mittendorf’s Out With the Kids column online at BellinghamHerald.com/out-with-kids.

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