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What I've been working on: Fiber Flurry 2024 - Friday!

Hey. Inconsistent, Avoidant Artist/Writer here.

2023 and 2024 have been a lot. As I grow as an artist and Blubird as an entity grows, so much is changing. We've opened a gallery. I was accepted as an Exhibiting Member of the Buffalo Society of Artists. I applied for, and was rejected from, some very large opportunities that I wasn't ready for, but provided a pathway for growth. I was juried as an Emerging Roycroft Artisan in Fiber, and I've expanded my teaching repertoire into series and academic venues; you can find me this year at The Castellani Museum @ Niagara University and at Cummins Nature Preserve @ Rochester Museum of Science this summer. Next month Blubird makes the transition from a private gallery space for my own work and will host a Capstone exhibit for Robert Winslow of Buffalo State University as its first official gig as a fiber arts gallery space, part of the East Aurora Artwalk.

I had a very brief (and unrealized) foray into international work that involved a dye immersive, a train to Toulouse and an abandoned and restored warehourse industrial turned art space (yes, very Eva Hesse canon, indeed). Oh, well. Maybe 2026. I've left an editorial position at a newspaper to take on an executive leadership role in the arts non-profit sector. I climbed up. and Up a bit more. and slipped, and climbed a little more. Tenacious is a much kinder work than stubborn, don't you think? (I'm still partial to stubborn, myself.)

There are exciting new larger things coming on the event horizon, and more importantly, a gentler, larger way of being, one that opens us up to more opportunities. I've also learned to parse down my speech, and through my work in journalism and refining the voices of other writers, learned to (I hope) more effectively communicate. At the very least, writing is exciting again, and less laborious, so I look forward to sharing more entries like this one, outside the quick-bite social media environment that we've become accustomed to of late.

While a lot of things have changed, some things stay the same; or, more accurately, circle back in a new form; we know, by now, that this is how these things work. So here we are:

The Fiber Flurry Fiber Arts Festival, traditionally held in Wyoming by the Arts Council for Wyoming County, has been a staple of my spring since 2017. It's through this community that I've met and connected with some brilliant fiber artists and supportive communities that have sustained me, supported me with fellowship and helped me grow as an educator, and now, an administrator as well. When I was approached last spring and asked to pick up the torch laid down by Linda Franke, I had no idea what I was getting into, but that is was important. This is what we do: we make sure that the art communities that support us are kept up and kept healthy. And grown and infused with new life when they need it.

Jackie Swaby, E.D. of the ACWC and I have met every Monday since last September, framing out and creating a reimagined Fiber Flurry - and now it's here! This weekend, April 26 + 27, the world of fiber will take over the council headquarters at 31 South Main Street in Perry. This year’s festival includes a slate of workshops on Friday evening in an expanded learning space and early private access Friday night for workshop participants.

In addition to expanding learning, this year’s festival includes a juried arts exhibition and skein competition, juried by yours truly. "Different Fibers," which opened on April 12, showcases fiber art and fiber-"adjacent" work from WNY regional artists curated around the council's 2024 theme of "Different."

This exhibition will be judged, with first, second, and third-place winners in each category to be announced at the Fiber Flurry Festival closing reception on Saturday, April 27, 2024. Work using traditional techniques to create nontraditional, unexpected, or modern results, work that surprises, or work that uses traditional materials to generate nontraditional results will be given priority when judging. The viewing public can cast their vote for People's Choice at the gallery up through 1 p.m. on Saturday. There is some truly exciting work in this show, and I am grateful to each and every artist that took the time to submit work to make this a success.


The festival opens Friday at 1 p.m. with an Artists forum made up of myself, Roycroft Master Weaver Kathy Cairns Hendershott, Pilar McKay of World's Smallest Wool Shop and Shepherdess and Artist Tammy White of Wing and a Prayer Farm out of Vermont. We'll discus practice, process, philosophy and all points of woolcraft in between in the exhibition gallery on Friday afternoon to start the weekend’s festivities. The forum will be followed by workshops and private early access shopping for attendees and workshop students.

I will be teaching three workshops this weekend: Weaving the Wheel, A technical Prep Primer for students looking to understand the fundaments of working with fiber and the always fun Needle Felt Amanita Mushroom class. Weaving kicks off the weekend's course load on Friday night. I hope you will join me in one of these workshops if you attend the festival.

Saturday’s festival keynote address will be delivered by a very cool Woman in Wool, Shepherdess and Artist Tammy White. White is a nationally regarded artist who has contributed to Taproot Magazine, Modern Farmer, and What/Where Women Create, as well as collaborations with Vogue. Her production fiber farm, Wing & A Prayer Farm, is located in southwestern Vermont where she raises 100 sheep, goats, alpacas, and various other farm animals. Wing & A Prayer Farm is home to Vermont’s first pure blood Valais Blacknose Sheep and some of the first Valais Blacknose sheep in North America. 

White uses foraged and found materials for luminescent, beautiful color on her flocks’ wool.  Through inspiring visuals, she will lead attendees on a journey of exploring the world of botanical color and her experience working with Chilean artist, Cecilia Vicuña, as part of her installation and interactive exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City in 2022. White will also hold two workshop opportunities for learning.

A blast from my personal past, Ellen McCarthy of Moonrock Farm, will be teaching Needle Felting embellishment and basketry, Polly Stapley will be teaching an immersive writing workshop for creatives, the very talented Susan Swanson will be teaching a wet felting workshop and Tatianna Monet is joining us from the Syracuse creative community to teach modern macrame.

Bringing something of this scope and scale to life has been a labor of love and a major learning curve. This winter has truly been a heads down, eyes on the work time and I can't wait to bring it out into the open and share. Please consider signing up for a class and saying hi, and coming in to see some of the work that we've assembled. Follow @fiberflurrywny for updates and highlights this week as we countdown.

After Fiber Flurry on Saturday, I will be joining Tammy White and my other fierce friend in fiber, Missy Singer DuMars at Crown Hill Farm on Sunday, April 28, for a day of learning and ground zero for fiber: a launch of our new collaborative project, Women in Wool. More to follow on that: but for now, you can read more here, on the Crown Hill website. I hope if a drive to Wyoming County isn't a fit for you, that you will join us there for a day of rest, learning, simple graceful food, and sheep.

Questions? Get in touch. I'm around. Thank you for being a part of this ride!



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