AMHERST, N.S. - Five days of fun with fibre has officially kicked off.
The 11th Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival began Monday with a series of classes at various locations around Amherst and will continue through Saturday with fibre artists not only learning more about their skills, but also showing them off to the community.
“I was around to various businesses today and talking to people and they all say they’ve been busy, which is good because Monday is usually the quietest day. It’s only going to get busier,” organizing committee chair Denise Corey said. “People are coming into town and hopefully they’ll stay for several days and spend their money.”
Corey said several hundred people annually attend the festival that attracts participants from across Canada and the United States and has also seen people come from as far as Australia and New Zealand.
Along with the courses that are happening everywhere from church basements and meeting rooms to the Amherst Stadium, there will be several shows including by featured artist Brenda Clarke in the lobby of town hall.
On Friday and Saturday, there will be several quilt and fibre shows including the Cumberland Quilters’ Guild on both days at First Baptist Church, the Sunrise Quilt Guild at Holy Family Parish, Individual Community Artists & Makers Show at Trinity-St. Stephen’s United Church and All Things Fibre at Christ Church.
Also back this year is the popular, Zonta Bazaar at the Col. James Layton Ralston Armoury on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There’s also the juried Fibre Arts Creations show at Focal Point that runs until Oct. 21, the Atlantic Fabrics Creative Showcase Quilt Trunk Show with Ken Grantham and Nicole MacKenzie on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and pop-up shows by Spruce It Up Quilting at Holy Family Parish on Friday and the Atlantic Fabrics store at First Baptist Church.
Friday and Saturday, the final days of the festival, will include a Hooked Rug Show at the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the first day and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second.
“Even if you’re not a craft person, there’s lots to see and do,” Corey said.
Phyllis Cameron, a fibre artist who is a former chair and longtime participant, said she’s surprised at how big the festival has gotten since beginning as a rug-hooking course featuring Deanne Fitzpatrick.
“Initially, starting out, we thought if local people came out and participated that would be wonderful,” Cameron said. “As years went by, people began coming from afar. That’s rewarding.”
Cameron said an example of how well known the show has become is the story of an Amherst woman who was vacationing in Florida. She was sitting by the pool when someone asked her where she was from. When she said Amherst, the woman she was talking to said ‘oh, that’s the town that has the fibre arts festival.’
She said the show is an opportunity for people to learn to do the things they want to do, to improve their skills and to see the workmanship.
“Depending on where you live you may not have the opportunity to be part of a group or take a course. This festival provides it,” Cameron said.