Sep 27, 2017
By Lynn Noble
In Sonoma County during the last decade there has been a growing movement surrounding the creation of quality textiles that is earning the title “slow”. Slow Fiber…what does it mean? Many people are aware of the Slow Food movement that has influenced the culinary world with a focus on quality cuisine and balancing where and how our food is produced, and at the same time, steering a course away from fast food living. The Slow Fiber movement looks at the quality and origins of fibers and how they are used to create garments, scarves, textiles, linens, rugs and other home furnishings as well as wall hangings and other works of art. A concept called Fibershed (similar to watershed) has sprung up. Fibershed develops regional and regenerative fiber systems on behalf of independent local working producers. Our local Fibershed (fibershed.com) supports local growers of fiber animals and plants within the region.
Both the Slow Food and Slow Fiber movements have strong roots in Sonoma County. Here you will find active members of the Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts who meet regularly to share their knowledge and enthusiasm, and to find out what is going on in the thriving textile world. The works by these individuals are breathtaking. Using tools and equipment that have been around for centuries; looms, spinning wheels, knitting needles and crochet hooks, their creations go well beyond what is typically seen. Now, computer-aided design, locally-sourced fibers for spinning and felting and luxurious yarns in multicolored hues are fashioning the “slow fibers” of today. No longer are these artisans willing to compromise their creations with the common supplies of the past; there are simply too many avenues to explore.
To support the growing number of fiber artists in Sonoma County instruction on spinning, dyeing, weaving, knitting, and felting is being offered in several locations throughout the county. The Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts hosts several workshops throughout the year. Study groups for spinning, weaving, knitting, felting and other fiber arts have formed and are meeting on a monthly basis. In addition classes are being taught at the West County School for Fiber Arts, the Sebastopol Center for the Arts and Cast Away and Folk in Railroad Square. More information about these activities is available on the Guild’s website: redwoodgfa.org.
Sonoma County residents and visitors will have an opportunity to admire and acquire unique creations by members of the Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts just in time for holiday shopping.
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