Fiber Arts Festival returns during farm tour


Sara Thompson

Patty Carroll of Longbranch will be the featured artist at the Fiber Arts show held at the Longbranch Improvement Club during the popular KP Farm Tour, Oct. 3. Courtesy photo

All things fabric are featured at this year’s Fiber Arts: Threads Through Time, a show that is an integral part of the Key Peninsula Farm Tour on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The definition of fabric truly runs the gamut — from silk, rags and oil cloth to crochet and duct tape. And the range of fiber arts on display will also run the gamut — from traditional techniques to modern adaptations, from utilitarian uses of fiber to the purely artistic.

Eight years ago, the Longbranch Improvement Club was asked to open its doors and perhaps show a few quilts during the first farm tour. What has come to pass is a far cry from that initial request.

Twenty-four artists will display their work indoors. Outside, Creighton Cheney will show his willow-and-maple furniture and Fred Leenstra will display his antique tractors. The Girl Scout Troup 40956 will host Weave-a-Wikki — demonstrating how to use yard trimmings to build compost bins.

Patty Carroll of Longbranch is the featured artist this year. Working with fabric for the past 15 years, she now describes herself as “retired” but she still creates work for friends, family and special commissions. She shows her work at exhibits once or twice a year and in 2014 was chosen as a participant in An Occasion for the Arts, a juried exhibition in Williamsburg, Va.

Her path as an artist was a winding one. After starting a career as a nurse and then becoming a homemaker, she found herself creating costumes for her daughter in school drama productions.

“I had been sewing since grade school and took design classes in high school,” Carroll said.

She took a class offered by a shop in Seattle and, in her words, “got hooked” on silk. She began designing silk flowers and fell in love with the flow and color that silk offered.

As time went on, Carroll began to incorporate ribbons and kept introducing new materials and techniques to keep herself and her customers engaged.

She saw soutache at a museum exhibit and was intrigued. It is a quarter-inch, flat braid used to trim clothing such as matador costumes. Carroll said it took a year to find out more about it — she then took courses, started working with it and began to create jewelry, wrapping the braid around stones and pearls.

In the last year, she has expanded yet again, combining soutache with ribbons and silk into kumihimo, a Japanese form of braiding used in such things as samuri costumes.

Her creations are time-consuming.

“You have to love sewing,” Carroll said. “I may work over a period of weeks on a given piece, considering the color and design.”

Delia McGinnis, LIC events co-chair; Robin Gould, LIC fiber arts committee chair; and Carolyn Wiley, Key Peninsula Farm Council president, all thanked those helping to make this show a success. They also thank the sponsorships of Angel Guild and Bruce Titus Automotive Group that make it possible to keep the event free to the public.

Fiber Arts will have something for everyone. There will be food including tomato bisque, corn chowder and Peg’s famous apple crisp. Everyone is invited to enjoy the exhibits, meet local and regional fiber artists and watch them demonstrate their work.

“You may find the perfect hat, scarf, jacket, basket, rug or adornment,” McGinnis said. “Or maybe you will learn how to make a duct tape billfold, tie flies or build furniture — after all, wood is fiber, too!”