New Fibre Arts Forum
In celebration of the many textile traditions within this area, a new Fibre Arts Forum has been created. The forum is an umbrella group of guilds, organizations, artists and individuals who are involved in fibre arts. This broad area includes spinning, weaving, quilting, tatting and lace making, knitting, crocheting, rug hooking, embroidering, metal and paper arts.
The forum sees itself as a “museum without walls” with a mission to share information among the various groups while increasing public awareness of fibre arts. Members come from Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Elora, Fergus, Stratford and surrounding communities. The group plans to display a variety of works in different venues throughout the region in order to demonstrate to the public the many facets of this art form.
The inaugural event will be a show at the Walper Hotel in Kitchener on February 24, 2000. It will include fibre arts demonstrations, displays and workshops as well as lectures by internationally-renowned fibre artists such as Sally Melville
and Debbie New. “This is a wonderful way for many different people and groups to connect,” says one of the organizers, Judith Butterworth. There will also be an exhibition of fibre arts at the Walper Hotel for the entire month of February.
Forum member Martin de Groot comments that this region is steeped in textile traditions. Not only do we have a plethora of fibre artists and organizations but there are also many textile industries in the region, says de Groot, adding that the Cambridge Gallery specializes in textiles. The Fibre Arts Forum will indeed provide a wonderful infrastructure through which everyone can connect. Butterworth says that fibre artists tend to specialize but sometimes they need to acquire different skills. Another benefit of the forum is that it will facilitate information sharing among members.
Following the event at the Walper Hotel, the Fibre Arts Forum plans to organize more events, exhibits and themed shows. They even have plans for a juried show in the fall of 2001. Stay tuned for updates!

For more information on the Fibre Arts Forum, contact Guelph Arts Council at (519) 836-3280.