About

Find me on instagram and ravelry as workinghandstudio.

Venessa Bentley grew up knitting and stitching and now works as an instructor, designer, and consultant in the needle, fibre, and textile arts, and as a full-time elementary teacher in the Intensive Fine Arts Program of her school district. Venessa knit her way through a Textile Arts Diploma Program from Capilano University, and a Bachelor’s Degree, a Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Fine Arts Education, plus a Professional Teaching Certificate, all from Simon Fraser University.

She began teaching fibre arts programs in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver in 1992 and has been teaching spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting, dyeing, and stitching in a variety of venues ever since.  She taught knitting and crocheting programs at Wool and Wicker, Three Bags Full, 32 Books, and Urban Yarns in Edgemont Village from 1998 until 2010;  at Continuing Education Programs for adults at Capilano University, and in the Burnaby, New Westminster, and Surrey School Districts, and at The Act in Maple Ridge.  At Place des Arts Venessa established the first knitting and crochet programs for adults, and taught popular summer camp programs in knitting, crochet, embroidery, surface design and dyeing for children for several years.

In 2007 Venessa opened her own studio on Granville Island in Vancouver, where students kept seven looms weaving steadily in a small loft space, and knitters and crocheters happily sat in close quarters each evening and on weekends, making moving to a larger space in Fort Langley necessary.  Venessa’s summers were packed full, teaching fibre arts programs at Place des Arts, The Gibson’s Fibre Festival, and at the spinning and weaving booth in the Agricultural Department of the Pacific National Exhibition, where she worked each summer for 10 years.  

Venessa’s studio is now in her home where she continues to teach weekly and monthly programs in knitting, crocheting, spinning, and dyeing, while she teaches Grade 1 Fine Arts full time.  Venessa teaches music, drama, dance, and visual arts infused into the Grade 1 curriculum, in a fully integrated program.  A beautiful Swedish loom will be the next new member of the studio space, a gift from a generous couple on Salt Spring Island.  Venessa is a regular instructor at Penelope Fibre Arts’ Fibres West each year, and was part of the teaching roster at the inaugural retreat for Penelope Fibre Arts, collaborating with Kim McKenna of Claddagh Fibre Arts,  in the summer of 2014.  The second year of this retreat happened in August 2015, and Venessa will again be collaborating with Kim on the July long weekend 2016.  For more information about these events please see the Retreats Page

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Venessa is a practicing artisan, and member of The Circle Craft Cooperative, on Granville Island.  Her programs are focused on the creative process.  Building confidence and joy in hand work is as important as teaching the skills, she feels.  She has dedicated most of her life to this learning, and continues to explore and dissect each step of her fibre arts work, with a view to staying fresh and current in her teaching.  Venessa has enjoyed leading successful retreats, and enjoys collaborating with, and supporting her fibre arts colleagues in new ventures.  She is a member of The Langley Weavers and Spinners Guild.  

Venessa has done knitwear design and construction work for the film industry, designing and knitting the prototype for the red mohair sweater that Halle Berry wore in Cat Woman.  In 2015 Venessa was asked to work with Joanna Johnston, British costume designer, on Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s BFG.  Venessa was hired as an expert knitter, and did crochet work and whimsical hand-stitching.  The film will be released in 2016.  She has worked as a subject matter consultant in needle arts for a local publisher, providing technical support for Second-Time Cool.  She has served several terms on the Board of Directors for Circle Craft, and produces original pieces that she sells through the Circle Craft Co-operative, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC.  Venessa is also a musician, playing guitar(s) and singing in local choirs.  Lately, she has been plunking away on the ukulele and hopes to get The Firsties strumming away soon, too!