Crafters in textiles have a new spot to frequent, with the opening of Indigo Hill Dye Studio in Vankleek Hill.

Located at 26 Main Street East, next to the Vankleek Hill Pharmacy, Indigo Hill is an art studio, gallery and shop that features textile-based works by Canadian artisans. Owner and artist Andrea Belcham, who has organized the popular Fibre Frolic festival in the village for the past two years, opened her new store on January 5.

Indigo Hill’s new location is a permanent retail outlet for Belcham – who has been selling her offerings at fibre festivals for several years – to display both her creations and the textiles she dyes, as well as for local artists to sell their designs.

“While I enjoy traveling and meeting the other textile artists and fibre farmers in our area, I also had always thought it would be great to have a spot where it is more localized and permanent,” Belcham says of her new venture.

A textile arts studio, supply shop and boutique, Indigo Hill will also offer classes in such topics as natural dyeing, visible mending, Sashiko stitching, weaving, felting, macrame, and many other fibre arts, with a focus on methods that use natural materials.

“We will be doing classes with me teaching, but with guest speakers as well – lots of workshops related to the textile arts,” Belcham explains.

The retail store stocks quality tools and materials for the modern fibre artist, including supplies for rug hooking, weaving, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, hand-spinning, felting, and more. Inside, shoppers will find finished textile goods by local artisans, as well as raw materials from local fibre farmers. Stock in the new retail outlet will be refreshed on a regular basis to keep up with new trends and styles in the textile industry.

“We want to keep new materials coming in and new ideas flowing, so it doesn’t become stagnant,” Belcham says, also emphasizing that Indigo Hill caters to everyone.

“It’s not just craft supplies, it’s also gifts that have been made by local textile artists,” she notes.

One of Indigo Hill’s main objectives is to help makers and consumers connect with the local fibre community. Belcham has particular interest in works made using raw materials sourced from the Canadian landscape, be they natural dyes used to colour and pattern the textiles, or the fibres used to create them. Workshops will include classes on many topics related to Slow Textiles (textiles made with intention, by hand, with respect for the humans and land resources that contribute to its making).

Indigo Hill will also host events, including future Fibre Frolic festivals, and plans are in the works to host drop-in craft nights, once public health regulations allow.

“It will be a night where you can bring in your fibre-craft-in-progress and work on it in the company of other makers,” Belcham says of the planned craft nights.

Of course featured at the store will be creations by its owner, who has a long and winding personal history of dabbling in the textile arts — including quilting, rug-hooking, sashiko embroidery, spinning, knitting and doll-making.

However it is natural dyeing that has captured Belcham’s heart. The warmer months find the artist crouched along the wayside, harvesting “weeds” to brew in her dye pots. She transforms her dyed fibres into unique accessories, dolls, ornaments and other functional/whimsical creations – all of which you can find in the Indigo Hill store in Vankleek Hill.

More information can be obtained by visiting the Indigo Hill Dye Studios webpage, or by visiting the company’s Facebook Page. Indigo Hill also maintains an Instagram page.