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