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Guild weaves Uncommon Threads together

By BETTY FREEMAN Whidbey Examiner Staff
October 25, 2012 · Updated 1:44 PM
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Linda LaMay weaves an alpaca and silk scarf on her 24-shaft AVL loom. / Linda LaMay

“I just love walking into the Uncommon Threads event on the first day,” said weaver Linda LaMay of Clinton.

“Uncommon Threads” is Whidbey Weavers Guild annual event that will be held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3 at Greenbank Farm’s big red barn.

According to guild organizers, this annual showcase of fiber artist talent represents “millions of hours of work.”

“It’s mind-boggling to see all these artists together and see all the incredible work they’ve done,” said Whidbey Weavers Guild president Ann Smith of Coupeville.

“It’s a labor of love for us all,” said guild member Lynn Sheffield, who owns Olympic Mist Alpacas in Freeland.

The entire Whidbey Weavers Guild participates in staging the Uncommon Threads event, which attracts fiber art enthusiasts from all over Whidbey as well as off-Island. In addition to offering handmade items for sale, the guild also presents hands-on, interactive educational activities covering an array of fiber arts including Japanese Kumihimo braiding, loom weaving and spinning. Fiber artists will be available throughout the event to talk with customers about their designs and techniques.

The weavers guild embraces all fiber crafts that use “interlacement” techniques, Sheffield said.

“We’re offering hand-spun yarns, dyed spinning fibers, rugs, braided or felted jewelry, baskets, clothing and housewares,” Smith said. “In addition we’ll have silk painting and batik as examples of surface design, and woven Japanese temari balls.”

The guild also offers numerous educational opportunities to the community throughout the year. Guild meetings, which are open to the public, are held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the first Thursday each month at Pacific NorthWest Art School, 15 NW Birch St., Coupeville.

“We have incredible ‘show and tell’ at our meetings,” said LaMay, who acknowledges the generosity of fellow weavers in sharing their crafts.

“We represent a wealth of cumulative weaving knowledge and there are several gracious mentors among the membership,” said LaMay.

“The guild is collaborative rather than competitive,” Sheffield said. “Our purpose is  to educate the public about fiber arts.”

Guild members participated in several “Sheep to Shawl” demonstrations at the Tilth Sunday Markets over the summer, which started with sheep-shearing and ended with the creation of three shawls from the spun wool.

A tri-fold educational board about the Sheep to Shawl project will be on display at the Uncommon Threads event.

Fiber artists will realize 75 percent of the sale price of their items sold. Twenty-five percent of sales will go to the nonprofit weavers guild to fund community outreach and demonstrations of fiber arts, such as Sheep to Shawl, the Whidbey Island Fair, classes at local libraries and Boys and Girls clubs.

Another big educational event is the annual “Spin-In” at Oak Harbor High School in early April.

Uncommon Threads will be open Friday, Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. to coincide with First Friday evening activities at Greenbank Farm. Saturday hours for the show are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information, go to whidbeyweaversguild.org.

 

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