Fiber Arts Festival a Popular Success



Carys Thompson, 5, poses among a birch tree tapestry. Photo: Krisa Bruemmer, KP News

Thirty-two artists gathered at the Longbranch Improvement Club Oct. 5 to demonstrate, exhibit or sell their unique, high quality fiber artwork for the 12th annual Fiber Arts Festival, “Threads Through Time,” which has been part of the KP Farm Tour since 2007.

Signs welcoming visitors to the show described the array of craftsmanship on display as “artistic to utilitarian, traditional to modern.” Handwoven baskets, quilts, wall hangings, embroidery, hand-tooled leather craft, wearable art and more filled the clubhouse.

The LIC buzzed with conversation, as Farm Tour visitors and fiber arts enthusiasts visited the 15 vendor booths. Folks shopped and discussed techniques. Some artists offered demonstrations, including weaving, spinning and cross-stitch. Large, colorful quilts filled the LIC stage.

Visitors had the rare opportunity to see featured artist Cecilia Blomberg’s tapestries in person. Surrounded by sketches and tapestries, both completed and in progress, Bromberg’s exhibit was bustling with admirers of her work all day.

Vaughn resident Maureen Riley of Knee Walker Fiber Arts showed off intricately woven bags and handcrafted wearable art.

“This is wet-felted alpaca and silk,” Riley said, pointing at a table covered in scarves. “I have seven alpacas. I breed them, raise them, shear them, everything. It keeps me away from the TV.”

The Embroiderers’ Guild of America had the largest group of artists at the festival, with seven women representing their Evergreen Chapter, including former Home resident Barbara Hougaard. Former summertime Allyn resident, Dinny Brones, a nationally certified needlework judge who has been doing embroidery since 1973, added glittery fibers to a piece in progress. Beside her sat Sharon Barrea, a nationally certified needlework teacher and designer with over 30 years of experience. At the end of their table, Carol Buchmiller demonstrated how to use a fringe twister as she put the finishing touches on a scarf she had woven using a rigid heddle loom.

Four-time festival participant Elizabeth Purvis of Gig Harbor has been making soft sculptures for 25 years. She had cute and creepy items, including clothespin dolls, painted muslin black cats and skulls, and primitive stuffed gingerbread men with whole clove eyes and buttons. Purvis describes her “Tallydoodle Toys” as figurative fiber arts.

“It’s an extension of something I did as a kid. My mom taught me to sew when I was little and I would make up patterns and sew things,” said Purvis. “I like using natural elements when I can. And I like tweaking traditional forms.”

Peggy Ingraham and Pam Murray of “Two Chicks Dyeing” displayed hand-painted and -dyed silk scarves and tie-dyed socks. The sisters have been honing their craft for seven years and often melt wax on silk as part of their dyeing process.

“The silk where the wax is doesn’t get dyed but the rest does,” explained Murray.

“The wax keeps the color from going in, and when you steam it, the wax melts away,” Ingraham said. “Depending on how detailed the artwork is, it can take eight hours” to make a scarf.

Sarah Martin from Nancy’s Quilt Shop in Gig Harbor showed off her grandmother Nancy’s work.

“She sells completed quilts and all the supplies you could possibly need,” Martin said. “She also teaches classes and will longarm the quilt for you.”

Outside the LIC Clubhouse were another 20 community informational and vendor booths. There were antique tractors on display, and yard art, furniture, wood sculptures, ceramic art, local honey and more for sale. Live music filled the air throughout the day.

“We have a great committee to do this event,” said LIC Fiber Arts Committee Chair Nancy Carr, who quilts, makes doll dresses and does machine embroidery. Carr volunteers with Carolyn Wiley, Cheril Allen, and LIC Events Committee Chair Bob Green on fiber arts functions.

“There are about 36 other folks that deserve credit and we could not have pulled this off without them,” Carr said.

Additional support for the event was provided by the Longbranch Foundation, the Angel Guild, Bruce Titus Automotive Group, Friends of Pierce County Library and the KP Farm Council.