Big­gest fab­ric mar­ket day

Bay News - - Front Page - By Re­becca Mauger

ETHBOWDEN­made her first dress at the age of 8. It had a drop waist­line and a gath­ered skirt with danc­ing scare­crows around the bor­der— young Beth felt like a princess­when­ever she­wore it. She wore it so­much she wore it out.

Like many women, Beth was taught to sew by her mother.

”She didn’t teach me how to make dolls’ clothes first, as many do. ‘You’re go­ing to start mak­ing some­thing you can wear your­self’, she said.”

Beth never stopped sewing and ven­tured into theatre and his­tor­i­cal cos­tume de­sign when she grew up.

”I be­lieve clothes are made to be worn and worn out,” she says.

She’s car­ried that idea with her and is now the founder and or­gan­iser of the big­gest fab­ric mar­ket sale in the Bay of Plenty, FASH (fab­ric, aban­doned stitch­ery and hab­er­dash­ery).

It al­ways sur­prises Beth just how much in­ter­est is shown in the fair— which has been held ev­ery year for more than a decade— and the amount of fab­ric stashes that are still out there.

Many peo­ple in­herit their mother’s stash and there are al­ways gems ga­lore to be found.

”I can’t be­lieve it, ev­ery year I thinkwe must run out of stashes, each year Iwon­der if I am see­ing the same fab­ric but no! It’s not the case at all, there’s al­ways some­thing new and special.

”As women, some of us have more fab­ric in their lives that we know what to do with, they may be down­siz­ing or­mov­ing and no longer have room for their stash, some­times peo­ple have in­her­ited fab­ric.. so this is where they can come to barter, buy, sell or browse.”

Beth feels hum­bled to be asked to take own­er­ship of fab­ric stashes of wom­en­who have passed away— which hap­pens a lot.

Beth de­scribes a re­cent encounter where she was asked to take a de­liv­ery of fab­ric of a woman who had died. It turned out it was a stash within a stash — of the woman’smother’s as well— and Beth found an Ed­war­dian em­broi­dered silk lace neck piece to dec­o­rate a blouse.

”It was tan­gled up in it, but it was just ex­quis­ite. Ev­ery now and then you find an ab­so­lute trea­sure.”

Beth says fab­ric can be ”poignant, and pow­er­fully so” to the in­di­vid­ual.

”That’s part of the fun of the FASH, that peo­ple do tell their sto­ries.”

The event is for char­ity, with pro­ceeds go­ing to the Te Puna Quarry Sum­mer Trust. Beth runs a do­na­tion ta­ble at FASH, dis­play­ing all the fab­ric trea­sures she has in­her­ited.

Beth says the idea for FASH

Photo / Andrew Warner.

Fash or­gan­iser Beth Bow­den. Fash is an an­nual fab­ric and tex­tile sale fundrais­ing for Te Puna Quarry.

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