Updated: Nov 8, 2021
Todays Q&A is with Harmonique Fibre Arts Supply Inc. one of our amazing Canadian Felt Symposium 2016 sponsors and the Canadian distributor for Ashford Handicrafts of New Zealand, makers of quality, reliable and durable wooden textile equipment.
We hope you will enjoy learning about this exciting company as much as we did.
Tell us a little bit about Harmonique?
Harmonique Fibre Arts Supply Inc. is the Canadian wholesale distributor for Ashford Handicrafts, producers of wooden textile equipment, fibres, yarns, dyes, felting supplies since 1934. Simply put, we are the link between Ashford’s factory in New Zealand and the Canadian Ashford retailer or Dealer. We work hard to ensure that Ashford’s products travel safely & quickly from our warehouse in Victoria, BC, to the many registered Canadian Ashford Dealers across the country.We also provide training and product support to the Ashford Dealers. We also have an informative website that helps consumers learn more about Ashford products and where they can locate a Dealer in their area.
Do the people who work at Harmonique create with fibre?
Everyone at Harmonique enjoys working with fibre. How could we not when there are so many goodies to play with? We even have staff get-togethers where we learn new skills and try out new Ashford products. For example, last winter, inspired by an article in Ashford’s The Wheel Magazine, we made wet felted slippers. Some of the staff also tried their hand at needle felting for the first time and recreated the Harmonique logo that has pride of place on the office wall.
Why do you think there has been a resurgence in the fibre arts?
Perhaps the recent renaissance in fibre arts is due to people’s need to feel connected and the desire to disconnect at the same time. By making things themselves and sharing them with others, in person, at a guild, or over the internet, people feel connected. For some, creating textiles is a kind of meditation, it’s a chance to stop and disconnect and catch their breath before delving back into brisk modernity.
Another thing that drives interest in fibre arts is a passion for the environment and the fair treatment of animals. Knowing where raw materials come from, limiting impact on the environment, and using renewable, natural resources like wool are steps people can take to be kinder to the planet.
What are your customer’s favourite products?
Corriedale wool is our most popular wool product. It is a versatile fibre that has a defined, even crimp and is smooth and easy to spin or felt. The wool comes in four natural and 56 dyed colours and is produced to rigorous eco-friendly standards.
Ashford corriedale wool is 100% grown and processed in New Zealand. Ashford buys their wool directly from sheep farms and only from ethically-produced, grass-fed sheep. Ashford selects wool with good length (free from breaks), high bulk, brightness, very low vegetable matter and within the correct micron range. New Zealand has a temperate climate so the sheep spend all year in the grassy pastures resulting in wool that is free of dust, dirt and thistles. The wool is washed (scoured) with an eco-friendly detergent that is biodegradable and breaks down quickly in water. It is then dried and ready for dyeing using Oeko-Tex 100 compliant dyes.
The second most popular fibre, and perhaps the most loved among wet felters, is Ashford’s Silk Merino blend. This is especially popular with nuno felters. A delicious fibre blend in 15 beautiful colours made from 80% merino and 20% silk. The fine 22-micron merino and the lustre of the silk make this a truly luxurious blend.
Of course many felters spoil themselves with Ashford’s Wide Drum Carder that makes batts 30cm/12″ wide, or Ashford’s Blending Board which allows a direct ‘painting on’ of fibre to the board’s 30cm/12″ by 30cm/12″ face, and we also sell all the felting essentials like foam blocks, barbed needles, and hand carders.
What is your favourite aspect of your business?
We enjoy working with our many Canadian Dealers. It is always interesting to touch base with a dealer and hear about how their customers can’t get enough of a certain product or technique. We also love hearing from satisfied customers who have created something wonderful with their new Ashford product.
The great thing about working with Ashford is their dedication to quality in their manufacturing process and continual product innovation, so the equipment and fibre is easy and fun to use.
At fibre fairs and festivals, we get to meet happy customers whose enthusiasm is contagious, and we are so happy to be part of supplying Ashford products for their creative journeys.
Where can Canadian felters find your products?
To locate a Canadian Ashford dealer near you: