It’s been a busy fall with many fiber festivals and events but the highlight of the season was celebrating the culmination of our first Sustainable Cloth: Farm to Home and Closet Challenge. The event was held at Shepherd’s Hey Farm in Comus, Maryland, among rolling hills and vibrant autumn colors. The farm was the perfect backdrop for a day that included a delicious potluck lunch, a gallery show of the beautiful work, and a fibershed producers marketplace where attendees could find local farm roving, yarns and fiber goods. After a year of making, mostly keeping in contact via Zoom, you could feel the positive energy as everyone enjoyed being together and sharing their making journeys.
The year long challenge to make textiles using local natural fibers or upcycled materials brought together fiber producers and artisans who created beautiful fiber work. Some worked solo, others in teams and in addition to fine fiber work, they all created friendships and connections that will last.
The entries in the challenge varied widely in both size and fiber content: from a pear-shape face cloth made from cotton that was home grown, hand spun and knitted by Kathy Reed, to a lavish woven wool cape and matching fingerless gloves made by a team of artisans from the Weavers Guild of Greater Baltimore that began as three raw fleeces from Hollow Hill Farm in Maryland. There were handwoven rugs, sweaters and scarves knitted or woven from hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns, a shirt made from linen, eco-print felt pillows, a quilt, and even some finely detailed Victorian doll clothes – all using wool, linen, cotton and upcycled cloth found within our fibershed. We even had locally raised silk to admire. It was truly a celebration of what can be made from local fiber and local talent.
Everyone was so enthusiastic that we’re ready to start again. This Sunday, at our Chesapeake Fibershed Online Meet-Up, we’ll have a slide show of the entries and photos of the celebration so you can see what was accomplished and be inspired by the talented makers and their work. We’ll be kicking off another year of the Sustainable Cloth Challenge so come learn about the challenge and start thinking about what you can make for next year. It’s never too early to start thinking about local fiber, local dye and local labor.