Craft Arts

Fiber Connections at the NC Arboretum

Fiber Connections at the NC Arboretum

Judi Jetson, artist. Photo courtesy of The North Carolina Arboretum

By Natasha Anderson

Visit The North Carolina Arboretum now through January 6 to enjoy the 2018 Blue Ridge Fiber Show, an international biennial competition in weaving, spinning and felting. Entries are on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily inside the Arboretum’s Education Center. Sponsored by the Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild, the purpose of the exhibition is to encourage and support fiber artists at all levels and to increase public awareness of their work.

“Western North Carolina has a long history of incorporating fiber arts and nature,” says Arboretum senior director for mission delivery Clara Curtis. “We are excited to help continue this tradition by hosting the Blue Ridge Fiber Show.”

This year’s exhibition, titled Fiber Connections, highlights the relationships between artists and their work. Emerging and experienced fiber artists as well as junior exhibitors enter the categories of accessories, yardage, tapestries, garments and home décor using the mediums of weaving, spinning and felting. Cash awards are given to competition winners and sales opportunities are available for entrants. A portion of the proceeds from sales benefits The North Carolina Arboretum Society.

Fiber Connections at the NC Arboretum

Susan Zakanycz, artist. Photo courtesy of The North Carolina Arboretum

“We want people at all levels to feel accomplished and proud to share their work with others,” says show organizer Joan Berner. “This event is not pre-juried so as long as pieces meet category criteria they are accepted.” Exhibition visitors will see a hanging yardage display inside the building’s entrance and a collection of garments from throughout the US and Canada. In addition to these larger works, a range of sizes and shapes are represented, including intricate felted pieces small enough to hold in one’s hand. Many of the entries have been previously exhibited in prestigious shows across the country.

“Many people seldom see this type of handwork today,” says Berner. “The Arboretum lends itself as a lovely backdrop from which to appreciate them.”

The Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild hosts monthly meetings, sponsors study groups and workshops, and offers scholarships to members for fiber-related classes. Current members live in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, and represent a wide range of fiber interests, including weaving, spinning, dyeing, felting, crocheting, knitting, rug hooking and basketry, as well as fiber production and animal husbandry.

The North Carolina Arboretum is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., November through March, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., April through October. A standard $14 per vehicle parking fee is required for nonmembers. For more information, visit To learn more about the Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild, visit

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