Q&A: ‘New Canaan Artisans’ Seeks New Members


One of the town’s best-established nonprofit organizations, the New Canaan Artisans—here on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest—is seeking new members as it gears up for a June 4 sale that benefits local charities. We connected with member Barbara Faris to get more information on the group. 

What follows is our exchange (those interested in learning more can visit the New Canaan Artisans website or email the organization at newcanaanartisans@gmail.com): 

New Canaanite: Please give us some background on the New Canaan Artisans group. When was it formed and under what circumstances?

New Canaan Artisans items at a recent sale. Source: https://www.facebook.com/newcanaanartisans/

Barbara Faris: In 1931 a small group of women gathered together to sew layettes, nightgowns and clothing for families under the care of the Visiting Nurses Association. By the mid ‘30s they branched out into other creations, and made things such as hand knits, needlepoint, aprons, bed jackets, et cetera. After some years of sewing flannel nightgowns, the group decided to sell their handiwork and donate the money to the VNA. They incorporated on December 15, 1938. They began to make hand knitted items, sacques and caps for babies. During the 1970s, a men’s auxiliary group was formed consisting of 18 husbands of members. They made foot stools, toys and Nantucket baskets. In 2015 it was agreed to change the name from the “New Canaan Sewing Group” to “New Canaan Artisans” as the new name better reflected the new wider range of crafts such as jewelry, painting and paper crafts. Since its inception, NCA has donated over 1.5 million dollars in grants to local charities, including, but not limited to AmeriCares Free Clinic, Arts for Healing, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Future 5, Family ReEntry, Family Centers, Getabout, Horizons, Laurel House, Meals-on-Wheels, New Canaan Museum & Historical Society, New Canaan Library, New Canaan Nature Center, New Canaan YMCA, Schoolhouse Apartments, Silver Hill Hospital, STAR, Staying Put, Visiting Nurse & Hospice and Waveny LifeCare Network.

What is the group’s situation now with respect to its membership?

New Canaan Artisans items at a recent sale. Source: https://www.facebook.com/newcanaanartisans/

Our group now has 44 members, 25 of whom are active.

What kinds of things do members of the New Canaan Artisans create? 

The knitting group has leaned heavily in the past on children’s sweaters, baby blankets, and children’s and adult sized hats. The group is now branching out into shawls, ponchos, and other more modern over the shoulder throws that have pockets to hold a cell phone. The sewing group makes a variety of items including aprons, placemats, napkins, napkin rings and bags. Some of these items are on specific New Canaan fabric. The “whimsey” group makes everything from jewelry to holiday ornaments, etched glassware, trays, painted picture frames, note cards, hand painted wine glasses, and holiday decor. We also have an American Doll section where we sell all aspects of the beloved American Doll.

Let’s talk about your biennial sales, which I believe support local charities. When is your next one scheduled?

New Canaan Artisans items at a recent sale. Source: https://www.facebook.com/newcanaanartisans/

Our next sale is scheduled in conjunction with the HIstorical Society’s Ice Cream Social. We are partnering with them and will have a presence for our June sale.

What would you say to one of our readers who is interested in learning more about the New Canaan Artisans but is on the fence?

Our group consists of friendly, kind hearted ladies who wish to pay some of their life’s gifts forward. Becoming a member of our group will be extremely casual and low key. We gather together and have fun coming up with new and unique things. Furthermore, we are seeking working moms. We know how busy you are, and we can work with your schedules.

One thought on “Q&A: ‘New Canaan Artisans’ Seeks New Members

  1. A lovely way to encourage and expand one’s creativity as well as channeling those efforts for worthy causes. In addition, a great way to meet new friends and be a part of this special community.

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