Friday, July 30, 2010

Connecting Threads

The past few weeks, I was busy chairing a free art camp for the children in my little town of Senoia. My friends and I managed to get two days of teaching fiber into the mix. I predict some future fiber artists or fiber art patrons in the group.

It took lots of individual volunteers, two organizations, the city, and a several businesses to pull it off. It was a clear example of the connections needed to accomplish a large project. Indeed, most projects outside of our individual creations take a certain connectedness to succeed.

That connectedness was in full view last Sunday at the color class taught by Rebecca Ewing and sponsored by SEFAA. Nancy Williams did a wonderful job chairing and setting it all up. The class was excellent and Rebecca was creative and engaging in her teaching. But the most interesting thing about it for me was the diverse group of fiber art people in the room.

I have taken numerous quilting and sewing classes over the years, but they have all been niche learning, with every participant being a quilter or “sewist” (the word coined in recent years to distinguish people who sew from a waste disposal system). The SEFAA classroom was different – full of fiber art people pursuing all sorts of different fiber tracks. There were knitters, weavers, quilters, crocheters and more. The connecting thread here was a love of fiber and a desire to learn. It worked really well.

Another opportunity for connectedness comes on August 22nd, when three talented teachers will combine their expertise in one fiber project for the SEFAA class, “A Taste of Fiber (Arts).” Students will learn fabric dyeing with Inko dyes, free-motion machine stitching and hand embroidery.

It’s unusual for three fiber professionals (Ray Pierotti, Leisa Rich and Jane Timmers) to teach collectively. I have seen the project example in person, and it is stunning! The cost for the all-day class (really three classes) is extremely reasonable. I hope we can post some of the resulting projects on the website or blog late next month. There is still time to sign up and make this connection. If you go back to “classes and workshops” on the website, you can download an application.

It is thrilling to see new groups joining SEFAA each month. We are establishing connections – connecting threads!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Berry Picking

I was picking blueberries last week at a peach and blueberry farm in rural Pike County, and I suddenly thought about SEFAA.  This may seem odd, but there’s a “thread” here.

First of all, I’m not an outdoor person. I’d rather spend my time indoors sewing, quilting, dyeing fabric, or pursuing any number of other fiber activities. So doing anything in the blazing sun is not really my idea of fun. But it was a beautiful day, and my kind husband, who puts up with lots of "fiber field trips," invited me to go.

The last time I had picked blueberries was in my college days on a family farm in Maine. The blueberries were that luscious, intense indigo color and they all seemed to be equally ripe. The biggest challenge was finding enough buckets to rake them into. Fast forward a number of years to the Georgia scene.

Rows of blueberry bushes covered a grassy field, but the berries were (eek!) all different colors. Some were magenta, some gold, some cream, some spring green, and some were indigo. Apparently, a number of other people had been picking before us, so the berries were in all different stages of ripeness, and each ripe berry had to be discovered and picked ONE AT A TIME!

After my initial irritation subsided, I really looked at the berries and noticed how beautiful the bushes were with the symphony of colors they displayed. Really, they were much more beautiful in their diversity than if they had all been the same lovely navy.

Here’s where SEFAA comes in … I think it’s wonderful that we have an organization that encompasses all the different fiber arts. I am primarily a quiltmaker, but I greatly admire spinning, weaving, knitting and other fiber disciplines I don’t pursue. When we work together to support each other and learn from each other's strengths, an uplifting sort of cross-pollination can occur.

We can also learn from, as well as teach, those fiber artists who are at different stages of “ripeness” from our own. This can be another benefit of SEFAA, and it’s the reason I am so excited that we’re talking about having a conference, maybe next winter, to bring us all together, face to face. What color blueberry will you be?


Friday, July 2, 2010

Future Fiber

The role of fiber may be more vital in our future than most of us realize. Now through August 14th, an exhibit at the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) is showcasing the future of fiber in its exhibit “On You 2.” This is the second show at MODA featuring wearable technology, using conductive thread and fabric manipulation. 

In her article in the AJC today, Catherine Fox noted that old world fabric techniques, such as smocking, quilting, pleating, and embroidery actually lend themselves to this new technology. How's that for relevance?

Imagine being able to wear your computer screen. I can't wait ...  For show hours and directions, visit the website at

A Search for Artisans

If your love of fiber tends toward mixed media, you may want to enter the “Artisan Search 2011” held by Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. They are looking for five fabulous artists/craftsmen in the areas of Mixed-media Stitch, Art Journal and Book Making, Printmaking and Silk Screening, Mixed-media Jewelry, and Collage and Assemblage. For more details, go to and follow the link to “Artisan Search 2011.” The deadline for receipt is September 13th.

I hope all you fiber friends have a wonderful Fourth of July.  Maybe some gorgeous fireworks will inspire a new woven, dyed, sewn, quilted, knitted, crocheted, knotted, or embroidered work of art!