Boothbay fiber festival celebrates plants, cloth

Posted Sept. 27, 2010, at 7:41 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:54 p.m.

A recent press release is yet another indication that the fascination and interest in fiber production in Maine are growing and apparently have no end, I am happy to say:

For anyone who ever has wondered how plants in a field become a favorite T-shirt or sweater, Maine Fiberarts and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens will have the answer at the first-ever Maine Fiberarts Festival at the Gardens 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-3, at the Visitor Center at the Gardens, off Barters Island Road in Boothbay. The event will include demonstrations, displays and storytelling that explore the connection between plants and cloth.

Entry to the event is included in the regular gardens admission fee of $10, $8 ages 65 and up, $5 children 3 to 17. Gardens members and children under 3 are admitted free. Boothbay residents receive free admission on weekends.

At the event, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Maine Fiberarts will collaborate to bring to life the relationship between plants and cloth. Visitors will be invited to touch and feel fibers and cloth from different plants and animals. They can try their hand at spinning and weaving and take home a list of local plants and simple recipes for dyeing fiber and cloth.

There will be separate areas for dyeing, spinning, weaving and sources of fiber from animals and plants. Displays will include woven scarves, knitted wire, felted books, woolen hats, paper journals and other items made by Maine artists and craftspeople.

The storytelling schedule is:

• Saturday: 11 a.m. “Spider Woman,” a story from the American Southwest, and 2 p.m. “Three Spinners,” Europe.

• Sunday: 11 a.m. “Creation Spindle,” Columbia, and 2 p.m. “The Brocade Cloth,” China.

Dyers Sheila Shanti and Rachel Bingham will introduce visitors to natural dyes. The plant and animal dyes in Saturday’s demonstrations will include goldenrod, old man’s beard, cochineal and overdye indigo. Sunday’s will include food products such as onion skins and black walnut hulls, as well as madder, logwood grey and a variety of fustic — a tropical American tree of the mulberry family valued for its yellow wood dyes — combinations.

Ursula Smith will demonstrate weaving on an inkle loom and a four-harness table loom, and visitors may try the table loom.

Katharine Cobey and Christine Macchi will provide ongoing demonstrations of spinning on a Rio Grande wheel, as well as the use of a collection of spindles.

Sue Arnold will show the many sources of fibers suitable for spinning, and Anne Williams will bring a display of everything from silkworms to woven silk cloth.

For information about the event, call 633-4333, or visit MaineGardens.org. For information about Maine Fiberarts, visit mainefiberarts.org.

Snippets

• A.C. Moore will hold a fundraising and craft supply drive and creativity events for Boys & Girls Clubs of America members through Saturday, Oct. 16, at its stores, including the one in Bangor.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a national network of some 4,000 neighborhood-based clubs, serves more than 4.2 million young people annually through membership and community outreach. Customers can add $1 or more to their bill at checkout and drop off new or gently used craft supplies to be donated to local Boys & Girls Clubs.

For information, visit www.acmoore.com.

• The Keeping Room at Hannibal Hamlin Plaza, 56c Main Road North in Hampden will hold its grand opening Friday and Saturday, Oct. 8-9, and Monday, Oct. 11.

In addition to antiques, the rug hooking shop will offer supplies, wool, classes and a gallery. Owner Toni Philbrick also can fit new lampshades to lamps, or custom-make lampshades.

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