Making great things possible

Personal interest and involvement have led to a successful business for Castlegar resident

Jean Schwan of Jean's Material Things

Jean Schwan of Jean's Material Things

In some circles materialism may have been given a rough ride, but not the Kinnaird neighbourhood of Castlegar. It’s there at 650 23rd St., right around the corner from Dawn’s Sunshine Café on Columbia Avenue, where Jean’s Material Things honours, respects… and celebrates materials and all that can be made with them.

There are a lot of folks who get a lot of enjoyment out of creating things with their own hands and imaginations – and a store like Jean’s Material Things is a depot bulging with supplies along with ideas and inspiration.

With eight years in her current location, Jean Schwan, a Terrace transplant, insists on carrying nothing but the finest in supplies for discriminating crafters and artisans who then turn the raw materials into such special items.

Jean started out with quilting as her focus but has since evolved and expanded. The finest quality 100 per cent cotton is a staple at her warm and friendly enclave, and, thanks to repeated requests and ongoing demand from a high number of “wonderfully talented people,” a wide assortment of yarn is a key ingredient in Jean’s inventory. She made a point to mention the full range of “DMC” embroidery floss she keeps in stock.

Always looking to adapt, Jean has plans to further expand her yarn presence and also up the ante in terms of fuel for the quilting crowd. “They need supplies,” she stated in a late January visit.

“I’ve been sewing for a long time,” related the helpful merchant/mentor, “and I won’t bring in something I won’t use myself. Anything to do with arts and crafts… I have an interest.”

Jean may be active but she doe’s not have the Schwan family market cornered in terms of output.

“My husband Ron (a Castlegar native, incidentally) does incredibly beautiful cross-stitch,” she informed.

One visit to Jean’s place demonstrates that her enterprise is a labour of love, her commitment, intense, and her knowledge – impressive.

Jean’s Material Things is a well laid out shop, a delight for enthusiasts looking to equip themselves for the work they enjoy so well and, as well as product, Jean often offers instruction.

“If I can’t lead a class that someone has expressed and interest in,” she says, “I’ll find someone who can.”

Whatever you may happen to overhear, whatever you do, don’t be too quick to rule out materialism…

Jean’s Material Things, that is… 250-304-2337.