Every two years, the Association of Northwest Weavers Guilds(ANWG) hosts a conference for the associated guilds. For 2015 there was no guild willing to host a full conference, so the Whatcom Weavers and the Peace Arch Weavers joined together to host a mini-conference and thus Fibre Focus 2015 was born, and took place from September 9-12 in Lynden, Washington at the Jansen Art Centre. My friend Susan and I decided to make a holiday of it, and stayed with her sister in Washington, rather than drive back and forth across the border each day.
Karen Selk, formerly of Treenway Silks was the keynote speaker, and presented a slide show of her travels along the silk trail in Asia and India. Her ability to travel to remote villages, and get up close and personal with the weavers, dyers, and silk producers brought the story of silk to life. The highlight of the evening was a fashion show of some of her many textiles gathered throughout 30 years in the pursuit of silk. Culture, geography, environment, politics and religion all become part of the story of the cloth.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday involved workshops, gallery visits, vendors and volunteering. I chose to attend a two day workshop on “Artful Embellishments”, taught by Karen Selk, and Susan took two half-day Workshops, and one full-day workshop on “Bow Loom Weaving” with Marilyn Romatka, “Papiersterne – European Paper Stars”, a form of paper folding, also by Marilyn Romatka, and “Paper and Stitch” by Catherine Nicholls. Each afternoon we had a mini show-and-tell to catch up on what each other was doing.
My workshop on Artful Embellishments involved adding embroidery, beading, buttons, mirrors and ribbons on a felt square that will be folded into a style of Indian Bride Dowery Bag, used by brides to carry their own personal treasures into the marriage. We also worked on making various types of tassels. After two days in class and a couple of hours working while volunteering this is how far I got:
So I definitely have some homework required to complete the bag, but no stress. It’s fun and relaxing, and a change from weaving.
Still, a good part of the fun of going to a conference is meeting new people with similar interests and being inspired by the work of others. This was a small and intimate conference which met those goals. Now I’m looking forward to the full conference in Victoria in 2017.