Thank you everyone for an absolutely spectacular Fiber College 2008. More students took more classes than ever before, the hurricane gave us a break most of the time and vendors reported steady sales and plenty of contacts.
This was the first year we had a separate demonstration tent and we were lucky to share our world with quilters, Mlabri weavers, textile collections, Laurie Sim’s crochet clinic and Kathy Goldner’s knitting book collection on tape.
Speaking of quilters, Mary Ellen Kranz was the absolute diva of artist in residence! Her digital photography and quilt integration was inspiring and her commitment to teaching was un-paralleled…after listening to her talk on Saturday night, even non quilters were thinking about the quilt they were going to start. We join the throngs of people who think Mary Ellen rocks!
Thank you also to everyone who took the time to write with suggestions and accolades that will improve the College next year. Deborah wrote that she was disappointed in the Shopper’s Boulevard and liked Fiber Frolic in Windsor much better…you know, we understand that. If your primary goal is wonderful shopping, then Fiber Frolic and the Common Ground Fair are two fantastic destinations.
We have a small number of amazing vendors here at the College and they are individually selected by a committee because their focus is more on sparking your creativity than on selling finished products. Each of these
wonderful artists has agreed to spend their time in their booth with demonstrations at hand and ready to talk about their particular passions. Their primary goal is not to sell you finished products but to send you home with the materials and inspiration you need to make your own masterpiece. You’ll notice that most of the vendors are also instructors because these folks have been living their arts for years and decades and want very much to share with you the craft involved in their products.
You’ll also see that some people just come and bring their animals to share with you…these important heritage breeds have a place on our small farms and once you realize their unique traits, it’s our collective hope that you’ll search out their shepardesses and their products.
We spend a great deal of time discussing what makes Fiber College different from all of the other wonderful fiber events across New England and where we fit into the whole picture. Here at the College we made a conscious decision beginning with our name and followed by our tagline “educating creative expression” to focus our energy and efforts into strengthening the fiber arts community through education, exposure and fellowship. We strive to bring you the best and most varied classes we can find and then make the entire weekend so exciting that you couldn’t imagine coming for just one class.
We want you to share in the incredible potluck supper on Friday night…you’ll benefit the most if you sit beside someone you don’t know and just strike up a conversation. If you were here you quickly learned that the pool of expertise on the campgrounds is remarkable and even more important, everyone was approachable and friendly…Alice Seeger said we should have called ourselves Fiber Camp instead of Fiber College because the whole experience transports us back to those wonderful weeks spent at summer camp without a care in the world.
Maria Kovacs wrote that she loved teaching her class on Thursday and everyone had such a wonderful time…but couldn’t we do more to make Thursdays feel like part of the College celebration. Yes we can and we will work on that for next year. The full day, Thursday classes, were an expansion for us and we’re just figuring out how to make everything work. When our postcards were printed, the six hour sessions were still just a hopeful dream. The good news is that all of the classes were well attended and the feed back was so positive that you can consider Thursdays a done deal…we’ll strive to have five, full day classes next year spanning a variety of fiber arts.
So now it’s back to the paperwork…today we hope to get the compensation checks off to the instructors and I promise to dive into the e-mail boxes with re-newed attention. Please send us any great photos you may have taken and any thoughts or comments that have been weaving themselves in your mind. We’ll be putting out a call for new classes in January and if we should be contacting you or maybe a colleague, please let us know. At the moment we’re thinking the 2009 artist in residence should be a spinner, weaver, dyer…do you know anyone who’s style of work lends themselves to a weekend at the ocean?