Arts Craft Arts

Fiber Day at the Folk Art Center May 14

Artist Dede Styles, natural dyeing

The Southern Highland Craft Guild will host Fiber Day on Saturday, May 14. Fiber Day is part of the Guild’s Education Event Series, which includes full-day celebrations of various media in craft. At this particular event, visitors to the Folk Art Center will be able to learn the process of fiber art from Guild makers as they demonstrate a number of techniques from sheep shearing to creating wearable textiles. There will be interactive demonstrations, and community members are invited to bring their own handiwork, as well, from crochet to embroidery.

Fiber artist and Guild member Sandra Rowland will be at the activity table on Fiber Day, where she will provide a fun activity teaching folks how to mend their jeans with denim squares. “Making things with the hands and mind is satisfying and anyone can do it,” she says. “Fiber is all over—think fabrics, paper, string, yarn, plastic produce bags and bottles, wood strips, even pet hair. Take a break from the attention economy and put something together.”

Dede Styles will also be present at Fiber Day, coloring wool yarn with a dye she made from a common, locally gathered plant. She will also have a variety of samples of naturally dyed yarn in a wide range of colors, all made from local dye plants and ancient dye sources, as well as her spinning wheel on hand. “There are several related things I hope people learn from watching me do my craft,” Styles says. “Because I get my dyes from common native plants that most people think of as weeds, I hope that people will see how useful those plants can be and begin to appreciate them more and take more notice of what is growing around them.” She adds that the early Appalachian people had a much keener awareness of the plants around them that she hopes to inspire in modern visitors. “I think this event helps people have a better understanding of how things are made,” Styles says. “When an artist is making yarn or fabric, the artist can slow down the rate of work so people can see exactly what is happening. It will give them a new appreciation for the culture of the Southern Appalachian mountains.”

SHCG is a nonprofit, educational organization established in 1930 to cultivate the crafts and makers of the Southern Highlands for the purpose of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation. The Folk Art Center is at Milepost 382 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Learn more at SouthernHighlandGuild.org.

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