Last year's fiber crawl was a big success, according to Denielle Rose, media coordinator for the Española Valley Fiber Arts Center. "This year, Albuquerque has jumped on board. It's because New Mexico has a great fiber arts scene with cultural importance and contemporary movements," she said.
The New Mexico Fiber Crawl is Friday through Sunday (May 18-20). Throughout Northern New Mexico, the number of participants has expanded to Albuquerque, Española, Los Alamos, Mora, Santa Fe, Taos, and Tierra Amarilla. A complete list of all participating stores, galleries, farms, artist studios and museums can be found at nmfibercrawl.org. Admission is free to all locations and open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. over the three-day crawl.
Fiber artistry encompasses weaving, felting, yarn dying-spinning, knitting, sewing and crocheting. In New Mexico, fiber arts is a particular point of pride as Native people have been stewards of the medium for millennia. In addition, the Spanish introduced churro sheep to the area a few centuries ago. This hardy breed flourishes in our rough Southwest conditions while also producing a lustrous fleece.
Fiber enthusiasts don't just stop at wool, however. They also work with mohair, cotton, cashmere, angora, alpac, and silk, to name a few. On the fiber crawl, these materials (and others) can be purchased as well as myriad craft tools, accessories and ultimate fiber art creations, such as clothing and household items.
"The idea of a fiber crawl is something done nationally, like in Chicago, Portland, Oregon, and New York. In New Mexico, fiber is more than knitting and crocheting. This event is something we'd like to do annually," Rose said.
The New Mexico Fiber Crawl is a registered New Mexico True event. Indeed, statewide interest is picking up. Rose said she's already received calls from southern New Mexico locations interested in participating in next year's event.
"As a fiber artist, I'm really fascinated by what's happening in New Mexico. There's so much cultural input. It's historic. The crawl is bringing together the old and the new. The art form hasn't been lost like in so many other places. The dialogue here is so huge and vast," Rose said.
The crawl is a self-guided tour at your own pace. At any participating site, visitors can pick up a "passport," which can be stamped at each visit during the weekend. "We have two raffles: one is on social media for users posting with the hashtag #NMFiberCrawl. The other is mailing to us your stamped passport page at the end of the crawl," Rose explained.
The Española Valley Fiber Arts Center is the sole organizer for this massive event. A nonprofit organization, EVFAC was established in 1995, initially as a rallying cry to ensure that the art of weaving would be passed on to future generations. Since then, the center has flourished and blossomed into an educational and artistry hub that celebrates fiber. People come from all over the world to visit its location on Paseo de Oñate in Española.
In and around Taos County, about a dozen sites are participating. As of press time, these include Artemisia, Artisan Felts, La Hacienda de los Martínez, Life Source Studios, Métier, Taos Adobe Quilting, Tres Estrellas Design, Vortexyarns, and Weaving Southwest.
Owner Merce Mitchell of Vortexyarns said, "The crawl has grown. It has more people. It's like a resurgence for local people. In New Mexico, fiber people get activated. That's how much variety, opportunity, art and different kinds of fiber are going on just here in the state."
Vortexyarns has two weaving shows on display from Alise Anima and Jim Scott. Both fiber artists will be present during the crawl to meet-and-greet and demonstrate weaving techniques. Perla Kopeloff will demonstrate paper-making on Saturday. Call Vortexyarns for more information: (575) 758-1241.
Mooncat Fiber is located in the John Dunn Shops on Bent Street. It is a designated hub, meaning the store serves as the Taos region information center for the fiber crawl.
Owner Cathy Book said, "It was a good success last year. We had a lot of people from multiple states for the fiber crawl. It's going to be an exciting weekend."
Mooncat will host an opening reception Friday from 5-8 p.m. Colleen Yarbrough of Heartwoven designs will be demonstrating weaving on Saturday. In addition, there will be spinning demonstrations throughout the weekend. Call Mooncat Fiber for more information: (575) 758-9341.
Anne Podlesak of Wooly Wonka has designed shawls specifically for Mooncat. In addition, Theodora's Pearls from Colorado will have a trunk show of hand-dyed yarns, multiple fibers, and silks.
Ann Kaufman, a Mooncat employee said, "We'll also have a raffle for a beautiful knitting bag. We have upcycled knitting bags from Three Green Sisters. One, frankly, is more fabulous than the next."
For a map to all locations, visit nmfibercrawl.org or call (505) 747-3577.
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