Thursday, July 23, 2015

A fiber bash

MAFA scores 10 out of 10 for instruction and inspiration 

Rainforest evening bag
Charlene Marietti
It was a fiber extravaganza! The MidAtlantic Fiber Association (MAFA) represents nearly 60 guilds in eight states and the District of Columbia. Its regional biennial event, also known as MAFA, is organized and managed solely by volunteers. The workshop weekend, which was held July 16 to 19 at Millersville University (Millersville, Pa.), drew 306 attendees.

Keynoter Jennifer Moore set the tone for the two-and-a-half day event with an inspiring retrospective, "Weaving my way through life." Like many fiber artists, she was 'called' to weaving. Trained as a medical illustrator with a minor in pipe organ, she sees her loom as another string instrument--but one that allows her to create color and design instead of  sound. And she excels in the space.

When Moore hears music, she visualizes colors and images. Look at a musical score, she urges, then compare it to a weaving draft. She is an expert in the ancient technique of doubleweave pick-up, which she often works on hand-dyed fibers. 

To understand see why I'm so awed and inspired, look at her wall piecessilk scarves and shawls, and her Chromatic Fantasy series inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach's 'Chromatic Fantasy' for the harpsichord.

Learning, doing, networking

Internationally-known fiber artists led 34 workshops that focused on broad categories of dyeing, felting, spinning, weaving, learning garment construction, ply-splitting, tablet weaving, tapestry, or temari. I say 'broad' because some of the workshops combined techniques. Mine did.
My Ikat warp

My workshop focused on Ikat as a design tool and involved both dyeing and weaving. Polly Barton, a silk weaver from Santa Fe, N.M., was the instructor. My warp was first dyed with shibuki (wild peach bark), which gave a yellow-gold color, then over-dyed with indigo. I came home with a gorgeous green/blue/yellow warp on my loom--a warp that is purely experimental. I dyed some mini-skeins with different patterns, but the indigo bath was spent and the effect is muted. I'll weave them up any way. Although I have long vowed that I was not interested in maintaining an indigo pot, I've changed  my mind. Now I just need to find a place for it. 

Two not-to-be-missed scheduled events 

A beautiful shawl at the MAFA Fashion Show
Friday evening was called a "Fashion Show," but it's really a show-and-tell. Anybody can participate and--I'm estimating here--40 to 50 people did. It was great fun and some fabulous work was displayed. I shared my 'Rainforest' evening bag (above) and was pleased with the reception.

Saturday evening was 'Open Studio.' This was a chance to see what all the other classes had been doing for two days and talk to the instructors. It took us nearly three hours to do the rounds. IMHO this is a 'not to be missed' part of the event. Workshop highlights included Amy Tyler's spinning and plying; Inge Dam's tablet weaving on a loom; and Anita Luvera Mayer's dyeing and embellishments. Oh, and I drooled over the groups that learned fabric marbling and shibori and.....and many others. Below are three examples of works in progress plus a tapestry by instructor Kathe Todd-Hooker.

And I would be remiss not to mention a very important part of the weekend--and that is meeting and talking to other fiber people. Dorm life is far behind most of the attendees, including me, but staying and eating onsite is a very valuable part of the experience. 

Oh! And I nearly forgot another valuable resource: The vendor hall! Nearly three dozen vendors offered yarn, tools, and equipment.

And last, but not least: Thank you to the MAFA volunteers!

MAFA volunteers did an amazing job and I am grateful to each and every one of them. 

Fabric marbling
Tablet weaving on the loom
Tapestry by Kathe Todd-Hooker

Color work for iridescence

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