Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Quick Look Back at 2009

It is already 2010 and we are about to fling ourselves pell mell at all the things before us. Before the opportunity is completely gone, I'd like to quickly summarize the fiber guild's 2009 year. It was a good one and deserves a nod before we move along.

Wendy Ross came to us in January for a jaw dropping program on her experience doing the Certificate of Excellence in Weaving through the Handweaver's Guild of America -- the national association of which our guild is an affiliate. Those of us who weave, went home promising to challenge ourselves a bit more -- even in small ways -- rather than to continue to do what we've always done.

In February, Catherine Lamkin and Cookie Washington took our breathe away again telling us about and showing their "story quilts." These two artists learned to sew at their mothers' knees, and now translate the events of their lives into beautifully, creatively embellished and crafted pictures that you can also wrap yourself up in. When we met them, their work had recently been featured in Charleston Magazine, Cookie had just delivered a quilt to a show in Washington in conjuction with the Presidential inauguration, and they were leaving our meeting to attend the opening of Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore that they were curating together at the Avery Research Institute downtown. In the picture to the left, Catherine is holding her entry in the show -- a quilt depicting the Gullah  legend of Sukey and the Mermaid. She had quite literally just made the last stitches in it before she stood up to speak to us. Amazing, inspiring women!

In March, Vera Hannaford spoke with us about how internet resources and tools, and particularly social networking, has transformed her experience as a "cronic crocheter." Vera's Crafty Blog started as a means to document her projects, and after a while, people she didn't even know were logging on to see what she was doing, what thread she had discovered and what patterns were catching her eye. Vera told us about a whole world of sites for people who love yarn and all it will do. Ravelry has been big for several years, now a similar site for weavers called Weavolution is just getting off the ground.

In March, Denise Spanos did a well received Open Studio with felted postcards for the North Charleston Cultural Arts Center. Heather Howell came in April and told us her fascinating story of living and working with indigenous weavers in a remote area of Costa Rica. At the left you can see a sample of the Barucan tribe's weaving. Heather's expertise in dying natural fiber opened the door for her to spend several months living and working among these traditional spinners and backstrap loom weavers. Also in April,  some of us helped out at Middleton Plantation's Sheep and Wool Show.

In May, our program was an introduction to the idea of weaving with materials taken right from our own yards and gardens. We were also introduced, through Carl and Linnie Trettin, to the Maseru Tapestry Cooperative in Lesotho South Africa and their need for support. Our Guild quickly mobilized and successfully raised over $800 to finance a weaving class for new weavers to increase the capacity of this tiny cooperative. We continue to have a connection with this group through the Trettins. As you can see to the right, their tapestries are just wonderful, but produced in what we would consider quite spartan and humble surroundings.

In June, Beth Parrott conducted a workshop on knitting socks and the Guild's program was a Super Show and Tell. Fun! Arianne King-Comer came to us in July and shared her journey from housewife to professional batik artist and expert on indigo. She is another treasure working here in the Charleston area.

In September, we brought in dried materials from our gardens and tried our hand at weaving with such plant material as day lily foliage, honeysuckle, and iris leaves. (See the sample on the loom to the right.) In October we were introduced to a Japanese paper spinning process and in November, Kelly Fort got us experimenting with hand felting to embellish jackets, sweaters, bags and to make 3 dimensional objects.

We ended the year with a holiday brunch at Lynn Holland's home and enjoyed a gift exchange where gifts were either handmade or selected with an awareness of what an avid fiber artist would like. Below you see how pleased Del is with her grapevine wreathe embellished with a felted poinsettia, inspired by our November program on felting and made by Liz Hoos. It was a grand year, lots of fun and very inspiring and good reason to look forward to 2010.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Brunch -- Saturday Dec. 19

Piedmont Fiber Arts Guild Holiday Brunch
Saturday, December 19  11:30 - 2:00
Lynn Holland's house 

Bring a brunch-type dish to share and -- if you'd like to participate in a "Dirty Santa" type of gift exchange -- bring a wrapped, fiber-related gift.  Spectators are welcome, but it's a lot of fun to jump into the fray!.

Our meetings are always so packed-full and busy, we rarely get the time to visit and get to know each other better. This is our opportunity to do that.

To protect Lynn's privacy just a little bit, we aren't posting her address and directions to her house here -- please refer to your Guild roster and Mapquest -- or get in touch with Sandy Hutchinson she'll help you out with directions.
Even if you haven't made one meeting all year, please join us for this. Can't wait to see you all on Saturday.