In 2011, the University Museum, working with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, hoped to create coordinated exhibits that would reach beyond the museum walls and into the community. The partnership focused on an upcoming exhibit of Gees Bend Quilts, identifying community partners in the local quilters guild and Oxford’s curated fiber shop, Knit1.
This coordinated effort launched the Oxford Fiber Arts Festival showcasing exhibits by local fiber artists, a fiber market, workshops and demonstrations. It was an immediate success and a welcomed addition driving out the winter doldrums with an energetic gathering of fiber fans.
The 9th Annual Oxford Fiber Arts Festival will be held at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center in Oxford this week, from January 24-27.
In 2016, Patsy Englehart and Lynn Wells of Knit 1 passed the baton to local fiber artist and regular vendor in the fest, Andi Bedsworth, who is now coordinating the festival through the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.
In its nine years, the festival strives to bring cutting edge contemporary and traditional fiber arts to the Powerhouse for a multi-day event that includes lectures, demonstrations, classes by experienced teachers and children’s activities.
In its mission to educate, inform, and inspire fiber enthusiasts, practitioners and visitors, the festival has become a yearly favorite among locals and visitors who come from surrounding states to join in the festivities.
“I am excited about the festival this year as we have some great partnerships with the University Museum, Pop Up Oxford, Oxford Board and Brush, Oxford Treehouse Gallery and the Oxford-Lafayette Public Library all of whom are hosting events associated with the festival this year,” Bedworth said.
In conjunction with the festival, Ann Svenson, textile conservator, will be lecturing at the University of Mississippi Museum, on Wednesday. She will present a follow-up talk and program, “Ask The Conservator” at the Powerhouse at 9 a.m. on Friday.
The festival opens officially the night before, Thursday, with a preview market at 3 p.m. and an opening reception at 5:30 p.m. More than 20 classes are being offered over three days including courses in weaving, felting, knitting, crochet, quilting, rug hooking, dyeing, tatting, and more.
Other activities include an open studio tour of weaver Stephen Threlkeld from 7-8:30 p.m. (maps provided at the powerhouse during opening reception), the Fiber/Yarn Swap on Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Powerhouse, a reception at The Oxford Treehouse Gallery on Friday from 5-8 p.m.
The market hours will continue on Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m; Saturday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. with children’s activities until 3 p.m. that includes a visit with a llama and other events:
* 10-11:45 am – Children’s Activity – Make Molas with the University Museum (free)
* 11 am-12 p.m. – Board & Brush – family-friendly Valentine’s Day activity at Board & Brush! ($15) Registration required.
* 12-1:45 p.m. – Children’s Activity – Come make T-shirt necklaces and God’s Eyes with Woodson Ridge Homemaker’s Club ($1 per project)
* 2-3:45 p.m. – Children’s Activity with Magnolia Montessori School, yarn braiding and pennant banners – free but donations accepted.
On Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. classes and limited vendors will be open.
Create for Good is a special program where volunteers can come and sew or knit for charity. Special door prizes/raffle and free mimosas will be offered from 12-4 p.m. Sunday.
“Sewers and knitters can come and sew and knit to donate to charity including for Oxford Special Needs Creations and another group that accepts hats for those who need them,” Bedsworth said.
Admission is $2.00 a day or $5 for the whole festival.
Class registration is separate and all course descriptions and schedules can be found at: http://oxfordarts.com/events/fiberfest.
Hottytoddy.com staff report