Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A fabulous Southeast Fiber Forum

After nearly two years of anticipation and planning it's hard to believe the 2015 edition of Fiber Forum, held at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, is now in the rearview mirror.  Kudos to Southeast Fiber Forum Association and to Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance (yes, they are two different groups!)  for pulling off a wonderful conference.  Over 100 fiber artists from throughout the Southeast U.S. and beyond gathered to learn, share, connect and re-connect. I especially enjoyed the chance to meet and to get to know better artists and teachers I have long admired.   Kay Faulkner, Australian master of woven shibori, gave a fascinating keynote address about the universal patterns she has discovered on her travels worldwide and how she has used them as inspiration for her latest woven work.  (Luckily for me her talk dovetailed perfectly with the themes we were considering in my class on design.)  Conference faculty taught 12 workshops and exhibited their work.  A number of vendors sold stunning yarn, handwoven garments, and a wide range of tools and equipment.  The weekend concluded with a fashion show of members' work that was both inspiring and hilarious.  You had to be there to truly appreciate how Cassie Dickson presented her stunning woven coverlet.  Remember Carol Burnett's classic version of how Scarlett O'Hara transformed velvet curtains into a dress?

Personally, I was absolutely thrilled with my students, with the stimulating class discussions we had and the hard work they did in their sketchbooks.  They work in media ranging from bobbin lace to quilting, weaving, and 3D felt.  They all plunged right in, gamely doing exercise after exercise to hone their skills in line, shape, value, color and composition, concepts that apply to all art media.  Based on the start they got last weekend, I can't wait to see the work they do. 
Here are Linda DeMars

and Myrriah Lavin at work.

And then there was Gatlinburg.  Arrowmont is truly an oasis

in a sea of

The great thing was we didn't really have to leave the Arrowmont campus at all to enjoy a blissful immersion in fiber and textiles.  We'll do it all again in two years.  I hope to see you there.

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