Inaugural Many Hands Fiber Arts Festival

Photo by Joe Skalsky

Inaugural Many Hands Fiber Arts Festival

Photo by Joe Skalsky

Kathy Green’s fantasy flowers on gold sarong batik on silk, Photo by Joe Skalsky

Shake your head in disbelief. Or clap your hands for joy. Makes no never mind. Telluride does indeed have one more festival, this one artfully woven into town’s packed summer schedule.

Welcome to the 1st annual Many Hands Fiber Arts Festival, which features juried exhibitions in knitting, textiles, quilting, needlepoint, and mixed fiber media. The event takes place Friday, August 9 – Sunday, August 11, in the Telluride High School gym (Festival Center), 725 West Colorado Avenue. Friday and Saturday hours are 10 a.m.– 5 p.m. On Sunday, visit 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Many Hands Fiber Arts includes:

•    Shopping Mall at Festival Center
•    Live fiber-bearing animals (Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.)
•    Classes and demonstrations
•    Raffle for handmade award-winning* raffle quilt (Just $1.00 each ticket, available at Festival Center)
•    Exhibit of Antique Quilts and Textiles From Private Collections

(*Quilt, handmade by the Placerville Quilt Guild, just won first place (Group Quilting) at the
2013 Montrose Black Canyon Quilt Show)

The mission of Telluride Fiber Arts is to bring together fiber artists of all ages to display, share, educate, and learn about the diverse creative aspects of every fiber arts discipline, including knitting, quilting, textiles, weaving, needlepoint, embroidery, felting, crochet. The list goes on as far as an artist’s imagination can stretch the thread.

How Many Hands Fiber Arts came about. (Yes, with Many Hands):

Telluride Fiber Arts is the brainchild of Val Levy Franzese, a multi-talented artist (and owner of Black Bear Trading), who tells the story of her inaugural event.

I am a new, but avid quilter. Being so enthusiastic about this art-craft, I thought about starting a quilt show in Telluride. But there were so many really good “just quilt shows” in the  area, Montrose, Silverton, Ouray, Cortez to name a few. Then I started identifying the truly gifted fiber artists we have around town: Kathy Green with her batik textiles; Nancy Craft with her Japanese kimonos; Ginger Snip and Ann Kennedy with knitting; Jenny Sullivan with perfect needlepoint; Cari Malver and Ginger Snip with weaving; and the idea of a Fibert Arts Festival bloomed organically. I figured it would  be a low impact event and different from all other festivals. Also, having it take place the first weekend of Chamber Music, well, I figured it was the same demographic I called all of these women, plus Lynn Black, Bettye Nowlin and Lois Sackman to a meeting in September 2012 and shared my thoughts. We were all “IN.”
Though it is nice to showcase the work we love to create, the more important mission is introducing these art-crafts to kids.  To that end, I talked with Paula Ciberay, director of the Wilkinson Public Library Children’s Library. Her enthusiasm triggered a kid’s summer needlepoint class, taught by Jenny, which drew an enrollment of nine (yes nine, with three on a waiting list). Students show up early and don’t want to leave the three-hour class on Thursday afternoons. We are also doing a Kid’s Quilt Day, which is Tuesday, August 6, at the library, starting at 10 a.m. All of the work done by the kids, from the needlepoint class and Kid’s Quilt Day, will be displayed and juried at the festival.
Art-crafts are part of Telluride History. Wives of the miners made quilts and knitted hats, scarves, sweaters and mittens to keep their families warm through the long, cold winter months. Weaving is a core element of the Navajo nation just south and west of us.

In addition to the quilting, weaving, knitting and textile entries, we showcase an exhibit of vintage and antique quilts and textiles from area private collections. We are also featuring fiber-bearing baby Yaks. Merino sheep, Angora rabbits and Llamas  on the lawn in front of the High School, Saturday,10 a.m.– 3 pm. We thought it was important for kids and adults alike to see where the natural fibers that make our hats, sweaters, and scarves actually comes from.
The gifted quilters of the Placerville, CO Quilt Guild, led by Deree Brand, created our gorgeous raffle quilt, “Telluride Sunset.” The quilt, which won First Prize at the 2013  Black Canyon Quilt Show in Montrose, will be on display at the festival entrance. Raffle tickets will be available for sale for just $1.
We have invited vendors in the fiber arts from Colorado and as far away as New Mexico and the Navajo Nation in Arizona to show and sell their beautiful handmade wares at our Festival Shopping Mall. Other events include a two- day rust-dyeing class led by Kathy Green, a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception at Azadi Rugs and a wine reception and lecture at Between the Covers Bookstore on hemp. (Times and dates available at festival check in.)

Timing is everything:

Hats off once more to synchronicity.

In April, our big sister city, Denver, announced it received a $1.75 million gift from the Andrew W, Mellon Foundation for its textile arts department.

The grant to the DAM follows a $3 million gift for textile arts from the Avenir Foundation of Lakewood, announced January 2012. That and other gifts endowed a textile art curator and paid for expansion of DAM’s textile art galleries. In a statement to the Denver Post , DAM director Christoph Heinrich said:

“Textiles are triggers of cultural exchange and creative expression around the world. The DAM is devoted to exploring, preserving and presenting this underrepresented art form.”

Beginning this summer 2013, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) took a wide-ranging look at textiles, from pre-Columbian weavings to modern fiber art, Navajo blankets to an examination of clothing in art and photography. Drawing on curatorial collections throughout the museum as well as loans and interactive on-site creations, “Spun” will be museum-wide in scope with a full slate of programming to complement the various textile art-related exhibitions. A drop-in textile studio, collaborative projects with artists and creative groups and new in-gallery components supported byagrant from IMLS will encourage visitors to join in the exploration of this ancient and still-vibrant medium.

This exhibition coincides with the opening of the new textile galleries and its inaugural exhibition, “Cover Story.” Expanding the current textile gallery space more than six times, the new galleries also feature a textile art studio where visitors can be inspired by the creativity of textile artists and their materials and a special PreVIEW area offering glimpses into the behind-the-scenes work that fuels exhibitions, from study and examination to preparation and conservation of the textile art collection.

“Spun” runs through September 22.

Not making it to Denver? Don’t miss Telluride Fiber Arts.


Kids at the library enjoying needlepoint class

Kids at the library enjoying needlepoint class

Schedule of events:

Tuesday, August 6   

Kids’ Quilt Day! at the Library 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free All Kids Welcome!

Friday, August 9, Festival hours 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Festival Center (Telluride High School Gym 725 W. Colorado Ave) Admission $3.00 for Adults. Kids 16 and under FREE

Shopping Mall features fabulous fabrics, yarns, textiles and weavings from Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

Vintage and antique quilt and textile exhibition

Needlepoint demonstrations and tutorials, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Drop spinning demonstration, 2 – 2:30 p.m. at the Mora Cooperative Spinning Mill booth

Wine and hors d’oeuvre reception at Azadi Fine Rugs, 217 W. Colorado Avenue, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 10, Festival hours 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.,Festival Center, Admission $3.00 Adults. Kids 16 and under FREE

Shopping Mall at Festival Center, 10 am-5 pm

Live fiber-bearing animals, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Session 1 of 2 of rust-dyeing class, Kathy Green’s studio, 227 E. Gregory, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Needlepoint demonstrations and tutorials, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Drop spinning demonstration, 2 – 2:30 p.m. at the Mora Cooperative Spinning Mill booth

Wine reception and lecture on Hemp at Between the Covers Bookstore, 224 W. Colorado Avenue, 5:30  7 p.m.
Sunday August 11, Festival hours, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. . Festival Center. Admission $3.00 Adults. Kids 16 and under FREE

Session 2 of rust-dyeing class at Kathy Green’s studio,  227 E Gregory 9 a.m.-11 a.m.

Raffle Quilt drawing, 12:30 p.m.

Festival ends right after the drawing, 12:30 p.m.

For further information, call Valerie Franzese, 970-708-3882

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