Friday, January 9, 2015

Honorary Ambassador Interview: Fawn LeClair


A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting
Fawn LeClair
for the first time.
She is a woman of interesting contrasts.
Long sweeping opposites.
She works in soft fibre 
and has a history of working as a mechanic.
She's a beauty with glowing feminine skin
and pumps iron for fun.
She spins the finest of art yarn
yet does not knit.

Fawn is funny and straight up smart.
Blunt and encouraging.
Inquisitive and friendly.
You would love her.

Ladies and Gentlemen
I give you
Honorary Ambassador, Fawn LeClair

Q: 
Your creative talent is mesmerizing. How did you get started?

A: 
Thank you! How I got started is kind of weird. Fibre has become a family affair. My sister, Christine, attended Sheridan College and fell in love with felting. She developed an absolutely beautiful felting technique and was chosen by Sheridan to represent the college in The One Of a Kind show. My mom helped her prepare for it and started playing with the fibre herself. My mother breeds Newfoundlands and a puppy buyer saw the fibre and gave my Mom an OLD spinning wheel that she had. So Mom learned to spin. And then bought two wheels for herself. I used to spend hours staring at her spinning because like you said, it is mesmerizing. One day 7 years ago, she asked if I wanted to try. I got that old wheel that was given to her years ago and taught myself to spin. She showed me the basics and I took that wheel home. To this day I STILL spin on that wheel. It is my baby. She is falling apart and my husband has to fix her and helps her limp along. It's loud, and ugly, and not what you think of when you think of a spinning wheel. But man, do I love that wheel. 



Q: 
What is the name of your business?

A: 
WikketyWackYarn. I do this for the love and the fun of it. I didn't want a pretentious or whimsical name. And... My yarn is wikketywack.


Q:
Tell us about your life journey that ended up present day, spinning.

A: 
Oh boy. That's a big one... Believe it or not, I went to college to be a car mechanic. Again... not a whimsical person, lol. I got sick of my car breaking down and needing to be rescued, so I went to college knowing NOTHING about cars and learned a LOT. I worked on cars from 2002 to 2007. I met my husband (Because I was a gearhead) in 2004. I moved with him to Thunder Bay and when he graduated we got married and moved to Wasaga Beach. At this time I decided I wanted a change. I worked at a local vet clinic as a kennel hand and quickly got promoted to become the vet's assistant. It was around this time that I taught myself to spin. After I got pregnant with my first baby, I stopped working. And I started putting a LOT of effort and time into my spinning. My Mom told me that I was talented and I should think about selling my yarn. So I did. I would dress up my little baby in a tiny suit and go to yarn stores and introduce him as my 'Business associate'. I have always wanted to be a stay at home Mom, like my mom was with my sisters and I. I ended up having my yarn in quite a few stores across Ontario. I had moved from just spinning 'yarn' to spinning 'art yarn'. That is where my passion is. In spinning art yarn. And when you look at my products you can tell. Aside from my OWN yarn that I spin for stores, I also work for 2 alpaca breeders, hand spinning their Alpaca. One is in Colbourne and one is in the Barrie area.


Q:
Where is your studio and what is it like?

A: 
My 'Studio' is my living room, lol. And it is a MESS. I'm not going to lie, I don't have a very big house. Yet, I have 3 spinning wheels in my basement and bags and bags of fibre. Fibre is messy, because when it isn't spun, it's just tiny hairs. So they get stuck all over the carpet and everything else they touch. It usually looks like I have sheared a VERY colourful sheep wherever I sit.


Q:
Is this a difficult skill to learn?

A: 
Difficult is all relative, isn't it? It is a skill. Yes. It has to be learned. Yes. Is it difficult? It can be. It is harder than it looks, for sure. However, I personally believe that having an open mind is the MOST important part of spinning. It's not co-ordination. It's not have strong legs and hands. It's being able to open your mind and trying something and not EXPECTING a certain outcome. A lot of my very best work happens when I am just...playing. I want to see what the fibre will do if I _____. How will it look? How will it react? What if I put more tension here? Now less here? I don't expect anything, I want to see what will happen. If you expect yourself to be able to spin a perfectly even worsted weight skein in the first try, then yes. It is very difficult and you are setting yourself up to fail and hate it.


Q: 
Do you teach and if yes, we’d love to hear more about this?

A: 
I DO teach. I have taught a few people privately and I recently taught my first 'class'. It was... amazing. The students had SUCH a great time. I taught the class at the Creativ Festival, Fall 2014. Honestly, I was nervous. After the class I think I had at least 15 people ask me if I had any other classes planned for the festival or if I taught in the Toronto area because they want to sign up. We had a total blast in that class. I tried to make it obvious in my Bio for the class that this was not going to be your typical spinning class. Because I am NOT your typical spinner. I teach completely backwards from what 'Master Spinners' teach. I don't want you to have a perfectly even spun single. We can certainly do that at some point. But that is not the goal for beginners. That is so much stress. When you paint, you don't make every line with a ruler. It's not supposed to look a certain way. It should look like YOURS. And that is how I teach spinning.


Q:
What do you think about when you are spinning?

A: 
Usually, I think about things going on in my life at the time... Family, friends, powerlifting, what to make for dinner, what I have to do next, what my next colours will be that I work with. Whatever!



Q:
Where can we purchase your yarn?

A: 
My yarn can only be purchased at Petals In Thyme. I actually pulled all of my yarn from every store that it was in. You can get my cowls at distill in the Distillery district in Toronto as well as Petals inThyme, but my yarn can only be purchased at Petals in Thyme or through me.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Be sure to see a notice about available studio space at the very bottom. 


Q:  Do you use social media? 


A: 
Do I ever. I am a social media addict. It's a problem. I have a WikketyWackYarn page on facebook where you can see cowls and some of the yarn that I have spun. Mostly it's just an avenue for people to place custom orders.


Q: 
Where does the raw materials come from and who dyes it?

A: 
The raw materials come from animals. 

Just kidding. I think I'm funny. My mother, since becoming a fiber addict bought a fibre mill. So she processes all of the fibre AND hand dyes all of the fibre that I work with. Farmers come to her with their dirty fleece/wool and she skirts it all, washes it, puts it through the carder, dyes it... She has a top secret dying process that is out of this world... She won't even tell me what she does. She is amazing. Her colourways are incredible. 


Q:  
Do you have a favorite colour?

A: 
I love reds and dark green.

Q:
Coffee or Tea?

A: 
Both. Coffee, tea, water, beer. That is all I drink and they all have their place.

Q: 
Do you listen to music while you spin?

A: 
I listen to the relaxing sounds of children’s television and screeching children.




Q: 
Do you knit or crochet?

A: 
Nope. I know... it's bizarre... I know how to knit a LITTLE. But I could never knit something worth keeping, lol.

Q:  
Any other hidden talents?

A: 
It's not a talent, but I powerlift. I am an avid 'lifter' and I deadlift, squat, overhead press and bench at least once a week for each lift.

OH! I do have something else I guess... I wood work. I make wooden jewelry that I LOVE to wear and I also make extreme knitting needles and crochet hooks. I call them my Knitting Nunchucks and Hecka Huge Hooks. They are all handmade by me. 


Q:  
Any advice for knitters?

A: 
Ummm... I don't have any advice because I don't knit, however I have been told once you use handspun you will never want to use anything else.

Q: 
What are the current trends with yarn?

A: 
There is a new thing with yarn called EXTREME KNITTING. It's super thick, special yarn that when knitted up on extreme hooks or crocheted with extreme crochet hooks it's like a big fluffy warm cloud. 


Q:  
Favorite cake?

A: 
I love ALL cake. If there is cake, I will eat it.



Q:  
Give us 3 words from your spinning glossary and explain them:

A: 
1) Niddy Noddy: A wooden tool that I use once I am done spinning the yarn to create a skein. I tie the yarn off on one part and then continuously wrap it around the niddy noddy to get the skein wound off of the wheel.

2) Worsted weight: This refers to the thickness of your spun yarn. It's basically the gauge of your yarn.

3) Plied: This is when you take two singles that you have spun (So you have 2 completed bobbins of yarn spun up) and then you 'ply' them together. In other words, you put them together and spin them BACKWARDS from the way you spun the singles. 


Q:  
How do you promote your business?

A: 
Well, I have a facebook page, I go to festivals and shows, I put it into stores... Word of mouth is always great.



Q: 
Where can we purchase your yarn?

A: 
You can purchase my yarn through Petals in Thyme, or through me directly.



Q: 
Tell us about your extreme knitting needles?

A: 
The extreme knitting needles are pretty different. They start out as just wooden dowels and then I drill and sand them down to needles. Once I have them smooth enough, they go through a 7 day process of being oiled. I use a tung oil and buff the needles until they are smooth and ready for knitting. Once they are completely dry, I put a tube into each end and create extreme circular needles.


Q: 
Favorite Artists?

A: 
I am a really big music fan. Music soothes my soul. Oddly, my favorite type of music is rap. My current favorite artist is SonReal. He's a Canadian rapper from a tiny place called Vernon in Vancouver. I've met him a few times and been to a few of his shows. He's really talented and has the greatest attitude towards life.



Q: 
Give us 5 words that best describe you:

A: 
Fiery. Outspoken. Different. Fun. Loyal.



Q: 
May we have all of your contact info and social media information?

A: 
Oh my... Aren't you going to take me to dinner first? Just kidding, I eat too much anyway.

Fawn LeClair-WikketyWackYarn and IDoItForTheWood
Home-705-888-7860
Cell-    705-888-9760

E-mail: Fawn_leclair@hotmail.com



Q: 
What are your goals for 2015?

A: 
My goals for 2015 are to get more cowls out there. I would like to have more choices for people. They are so different and interesting. I have had so many people love them.

I also plan to have multiple spinning seminars. I'm hoping to get classes going so that people can have a choice of 3 classes, or 1 class. I will be doing those in Wasaga Beach, Colbourne and Picton.

























Q:  
If you were to host a dinner party and could invite any 10 guests, who would they be?

A: 
Chef Lynn Crawford (She has to cook too... It's my imaginary dinner party, I'll do what I want) 






Thank You Fawn!

That was so entertaining....
just as I suspected it would be.

PFXO

P.S.
Here are my current available originals
at 
in Wasaga Beach





Patti Friday, Photojourno, reporting from inside 'The Art Dept.' at the international 'Embassy of Ideas'. Reading. Listening. Learning. Improving. Hanging out with successful people. Photographer. Pirate. Bubby. CANADA @pattifriday


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