There really IS a world beyond the classroom, I am discovering, and this weekend, this new world took me to my first fiber festival, the 11th annual Fiber Arts Festival of NY. Part of the adventure was representing the Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo by volunteering to table-sit and meet folks who were inquiring about the guild and, of course the other part was to explore the many tents of fiber artists and have fun.
My assignment led me to the ski lodge where tables were set up for vendors and guilds of all kinds to set up their wares and to share their craft with passers-by.
At the knitting guild table I met people with whom I’ve already had conversations with online on Ravelry! How great to align those conversations I’ve had to actual faces. Of course, there were the people with whom new alliances have been created. At the surrounding tables, I met others with similar passions of needle work, however in different genres. Such was the Embroidery Guild of WNY where I listened in and learned a bit about the history and craft of chicken-scratching. I was particularly taken with a granddaughter, about age 14, with her grandmother. As we all know this granddaughter could have been anywhere but there. Clearly, this art form will remain alive and well in that family. Chicken Scratch is a kind of embroidery that, when you follow a multi-stitch sequence onto gingham, that stitch work forms beautiful lace patterns.
I could not wait to be one of the patrons of the fair. And, it is always the animals that get my attention, first. So, it makes perfect sense that my first stop was at this exhibit
followed by an appreciation of these faces that greeted me once upon the grounds.
Champion llamas, of course! The breeder was so proud of his three month old, below, and the baby llama laying down is just two weeks old.
A fiber fest is going to have spinners; think I’ll leave that part of the knitting process to them.
and tents set up for yarn shopping of all kinds.
In one of those tents, I learned of a process called wet felting. I learned of Suzanne, CEO of ZanieCrafts (also, President of the Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo 2014/2015) who has created pieces that have won awards in this artistic technique. Well, suffice to say I could not walk by this great little change purse that matches my bag so perfectly.
Here is a picture of her collection, but believe you me, this photograph does NOT do her work justice. Follow the link to her shop on Etsy, and you will see what I mean.
I did attend the Festival with a purchase idea in mind. I have been wrestling with one particular sock yarn that is in my stash that has lost its original intended purpose at time of purchase. (Sometimes, as time moves along and life and needs change, this happens.) However, I have a new idea for it but my new thought involved a coordinating shade. Fiber festival? Certainly I could find that perfect match there. And, I did…. in a mobile yarn shop! What could be more fun than purchasing yarn off a truck! The Knit Buffalo Mobile Store. And, here that truck is, inside and out, complete with Buffalo spirit and yarn aligning both sides in just-right compartments, well lit, and fun, fun, fun. (Aside from yarn, don’t you think I thought for a moment what a great business idea this would have been for my retirement?)
Here is my purchase, a beautiful hand painted sock yarn in graphite, the perfect compliment to the rose that was in my stash. Both, now wound and on my needles.
The last table I visited is the display that still has my mind and creative spirit wandering. So inspirational is Arleen (Arch) Behrens of Hybrid Revivals, Wearable Fiber Art. She has developed her own line of outer wear using an artistic process of combining existing knitwear and/or the like, taking those garments apart, felting them, and reconstructing them according to her own aesthetic. Here is a piece I purchased. I call it my Inspiration Coat as, just by looking at it, reminds me of her creative spirit and the possibilities of design work that lie inside of me. I am not sure I will keep the coat as is. Maybe, I will wear it for a year, then modify it in my own way using her technique as a start point. Maybe, I will try some of Nicky’s embellishments and attempt appliqué. The coat of many colors . . . Oh, and I must mention Arch’s button technique of layering. What you see are three buttons layered on top of one another to give you the look you see. Just that alone is a technique to think about.
Here is Arch’s business card contact information if you are interested in learning more.
As I was leaving, I snapped these last two images that captured my attention and heart. There is something about a rustic barn, the smell of hay, people gathered deep in their own content, and a head full of ideas and thoughts of possibilities on how I might energize my creative spirit.
And, of course, I wished the llamas a safe trip back home.
12 responses to “Fiber Festival Inspiration”
Thank you Holly for your wonderful commentary on your travels through the WNY Fiber Arts Festival. I would like your permission to post it on our website.
oh! I would love that and I very much enjoyed the festival! I love my blog as it gives me time to reflect on life as I am experiencing it. Post at any time. Regards, Holly
Sorry–should be http://www.wnyfiberartsfestival.com
And this is a lovely account of your experience of the festival. And lovely photos also.
It was such a heart warming experience to see the origin and process of fiber right there.
Foe information on the 2016 festival, be sure to check this website:
WNY Fiber Arts Festival. com
Looks like you had lots to inspire you at the festival. Isn’t it amazing what creative people do with the same raw material? LOVE the jacket, by the way, and the thought that it is OK to change it up to make it uniquely yours.
Yes, that is a smaller event than the Common Ground Fair – looks more to be the size and scope of Maine Fiber Frolic, which happens in June, conveniently near my birthday. :-) Gives you time to really look at things and explore, have conversations and find just the perfect yarn
A mobile yarn store? I think that is a super idea! Wish there was one around here.
Inspiring as it was my first fiber festival but also because the people I referenced are from around here. Kind of like, one needs/wants to support one’s home team.
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I agree – buy locally and tell the world. :-)
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Looks like you had a great time. I saw a similar yarn truck at last year’s twist festival, it is such a great idea. And I’m also knitting with some Hedgehog Fiber yarn right now, beautiful hand dyed yarn. Are you planning a shawl with this dark grey and rose? They look beautiful together.
Not a shawl, Agnes but it would make a beautiful one. Something similar… a cowl which is really unusual for me but I am teaching a friend how to knit and thought I would knit this by her side. And, yes, the grey and rose together. Already on the needles. It was a great day.
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Looking forward to seeing this cowl.
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