Venessa Bentley is a practicing artisan and fibre arts instructor. She is a full-time primary teacher in the Intensive Fine Arts Program of her school district.
Venessa’s studies include: a Textile Arts Diploma from Capilano University, a Bachelor’s Degree, a Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Fine Arts Education, and a Professional Teaching Certificate, from Simon Fraser University.
Venessa began teaching fibre arts programs in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver in 1992 and has been teaching knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving 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 learned 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 teaches weekly and monthly programs in knitting, crocheting, spinning, and dyeing. Venessa teaches music, drama, dance, and visual arts infused into the Grade 1 curriculum, in a fully integrated program. She is a regular instructor at Penelope Fibre Arts, Fibres West, and was part of the teaching roster at the three retreats for Penelope Fibre Arts, collaborating with Kim McKenna of Claddagh Fibre Arts.
Venessa is a practicing artisan, and member of The Circle Craft Cooperative, on Granville Island. Venessa has enjoyed leading successful retreats, and enjoys collaborating with, and supporting her fibre arts colleagues in new ventures.
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. Venessa was asked to work with Joanna Johnston, British costume designer, on Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s BFG, as an expert knitter, and did crochet work and whimsical hand-stitching. She 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.