Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Connected by a Thread

The following press release was sent to local and state media outlets this week:

Fiber Art Exhibit -- Connected by a Thread

Charleston, SC -- July 15, 2011  The Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild and the Center for Women will con-sponsor an exhibit of photographs and woven tapestries entitled Connected by a Thread on display August 8 - Oct. 1 at the Center for Women.

The exhibit celebrates the three-year collaboration between the local fiber arts guild and the Maseru Tapestries Cooperative, a sustainable weaving operation in Lesotho, which is a small nation located in southern Africa.
Lesotho is an autonomous "kingdom" located within the boundaries of South Africa. It is a mountainous country whose residents depend on herding goats and sheep for subsistence income. Men raise the livestock and manage its sale and distribution in cooperatives. Opportunities for women who are "head of household" have been limited, but in the 1980s a half-dozen women-owned tapestry businesses were organized in Lesotho and local women trained to be spinners, dyers, and weavers. These businesses were sustained with involvement of European mentors until the 1990s when the local women took them over as cooperatives.
In 2009 the Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild raised money to train four women in Maseru as tapestry weavers and the students responded by sending the Guild a wall hanging entitled "Women's Meeting." This tapestry serves as the centerpiece for Connected by a Thread which includes several other large pieces woven by members of the coop along with a series of photographs taken in Lesotho of the weavers, their looms, and their work space.
Detail of Women's Meeting, given to Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild by the Maseru Tapestries Cooperative in 2010.
A public reception for Connected by as Thread will be held Thursday, September 15, 5;00 - 7:00 PM at the Center for Women located at 129 Cannon Street in downtown Charleston. August 8 - Oct. 1 the exhibit is available for viewing during the Center's hours of operation (Monday - Thursday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, and Friday, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM) except times when the meeting room is in use. To determine availability, please call 843-763-7333.
A photograph from Connected by a Thread:  Dressed in traditional Basotho finery, Me. Mesetumo Lebitsa, manager of the Maseru Tapestries Cooperative, demonstrates spinning wool on a spinning wheel made of wood and a tube-less bicycle wheel, commonly seen around the town of Maseru.
An affiliate of The Handweavers Guild of America, the Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild serves the greater Charleston area as a membership organization that promotes traditional and contemporary skills in a wide range of fiber arts including, but not limited to, weaving, spinning, dying, felting, basketry, quilting, knitting, crocheting, tatting and bead weaving.

The Center for Women is the only comprehensive women's development center in South Carolina. It offers programs and events aimed at making personal and professional success an everyday event for women in the Lowcountry.

To learn more about either organization, please visit their web sites at www.palmettofiberartsguild.blogspot.com and www.c4women.org .

For prior postings Maseru Tapestries Cooperative see:
www.palmettofiberartsguild.blogspot.com/2009/05/fundraising-for-small-south-african.html 

and  http://palmettofiberartsguild.blogspot.com/2009/06/upcoming-guild-meeting-june-20.html

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Hiatus for Guild Meetings

The Guild takes a hiatus from regular meetings in July and August, but that doesn't mean our hands aren't busy. Michaela recently reminded me that summer in the South is comparable to winter in the North -- the inhospitable weather makes it a good time to stay in and weave or spin or knit or whatever you most love to do.

I hope you are all doing just that because, as a Guild, we plan to participate in The Hand and Heart Project Oct. 14 - 15. This is an art show and sale co-sponsored by The Center for Women and benefiting the Charleston Area Senior Center. We will have a table at the show and hopefully each member will have at least a few items to sell. Our table will represent the wide range of fiber arts we love -- woven goods, hand-spun wool, knitted items, paper creations, dyed items, felted pieces, samples of bead weaving -- it's time to let your creative flag fly!

The coordinating committee will do all the promotional and set-up work. They will  provide publicity, print the program, host a reception Friday night, and provide and set-up tables. The Guild has had several meetings at the downtown location and it beautifully transforms for this annual art show.

The Guild will pay the $50 fee for our table. 20% of the price of each item sold will go to the support of Charleston Area Senior Center -- a good organization that serves our community's more vulnerable older adults. They do the Meals on Wheels and the Foster Grandparent programs and manage Ansonborough House, the apartment complex for lower-income seniors that is next door to the Center.

So start thinking about what you would like to put in the show and look for upcoming  e-mails that will help us organize our table at The 2011 Hand and Heart Project.

In June, two members showed us their recently completed shawls. Here's one Lynn's made with a luscious, rich-hued yarn she feel in love with:
And Kelly was celebrating the completion of her cotton shawl -- in the works for four months. She said the pattern was 20-pages long!
The progression of color change in this wrap comes, not from a variegated yarn, but from 4-ply thread where one strand changes color at a time. Kelly manipulated it to come out just the way she wanted it.