Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Mountain Fiber Fix

I attended the Winter Retreat in Asheville, NC held by Friends and Fiberworks yarn shop at the Biltmore Mall Saturday, January 19. They offered a variety of workshops and had several vendors in a unique setting... a mall! Actually the empty stores were perfect places to hold small workshops. The organizers even arranged for rooms at very reasonable rates at the adjacent Comfort Suites which included an excellent breakfast!

A Mokume Bark Felt workshop with well-known felter fiber artist Chad Alice Hagen of Asheville was just the ticket... Chad was leaving the next day to take a bookmaking workshop at Arrowmount where she often teaches. She is often on the teaching schedule at John Campbell.

Mokume is a Japanese shibori technique which creates a bark-like texture and look on the needle felted wool fabric. The seven participants felted, stitched and resist dyed the pre-dyed wool batts and created beautiful scarves. I was delighted with the scarf I created and I'm looking forward to doing more. I've deemed 2013 the Year of Exploration on Felt!

A quick reunion with Esther Rogers, who came to Savannah give us an art yarn spinning workshop a couple years ago, was a delight! Esther hopes to come back to Savannah this spring to do a workshop at Jen's Frayed Knot. A shopping spree at Friends and Fiberworks to get some novelty yarns for the Taste of Nuno Felting workshop I'm teaching in March for the Fiber Guild of the Savannahs was very productive.

Sunday, after the workshop, was time to explore southern North Carolina's fiber arts heritage. A drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Folk Arts Center was lovely and the work in the center was so inspiring! Weavings from traditional mats to fine tailored and funky textured clothing filled the shop and galleries. All of the work of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild: pottery, woodwork, quilting, glass, leather, was exceptional.

It was hard to leave... but on to Black Mountain for a walk around Lake Eden home of famous Black Mountain College (someday I plan to write the sequel to Woven: a Bauhaus Memoir where my alter ego Anna Werke winds up at Black Mountain College with the Albers -- so trips to the Asheville area must include stops at the college sites in Black Mountain) We then went into the town of Black Mountain for a visit to Nice Threads Fiber Gallery behind the red door... for more inspiration! (There are a great deal of talented fiber artists in this part of the world!) I picked up some yummy wool and bamboo top to spin and some colorful locks before heading back to Savannah.

What a wonderful weekend in the mountains with my hubby -- and a fiber fix, too!

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