“I think this is slowly becoming very popular,” she said. “Look at the people coming here. They’re not on walkers.”
One of those not on a walker was Nicki Winkles, a 31-year-old vendor from Zionsville. She contributed the expansion of the annual workshop in part to the growing popularity of traditional arts among young people.
“I think handworking is making a massive, massive comeback with the younger generation,” she said, noting she saw kids as young as 14 coming in who wanted to spend their allowance money on handmade crafts. “People are really wanting to do their own thing now. They don’t want the mass-produced junk. They want pieces that are going to last a lifetime and that you can pass down to your family.”
Notaro said that was another aim of the Winter Woolen Workshop — to bring back the love, care and purpose that comes with making your own things and not depending on big box stores.
“This is something we don’t celebrate anymore as a culture,” she said. “Everything now is done by machine. If people saw where there $5 sweater came from and who’s making it, you’d really think twice about it. We need to put quality back into our lives.”
But it’s not just about trying to keep the traditional arts alive, Notaro said. It’s about people putting their own modern spin on their crafts, too.
“I think of this event kind of like a modern quilt circle,” she said. “It’s not just your grandma’s craft. We marry fine art and fiber, and people are stepping out-of-the-box all the time.”
Winkles was one of those stepping out of the box. At her booth, she was selling old frames, clothing and other disregarded antiques that she salvaged and turned into new, unique pieces. She called it “re-purposing.”