Updated: Nov 5, 2021
This week our spotlight is on Manitoba, a province where craft has always played a significant role in creating a diverse and rich cultural heritage. From the indigenous people to the European settlers, each cultural group in Manitoba has produced crafts that still influence modern artisans.
With this kind of legacy, it’s not surprising to discover that Manitoba is home to one of Canada’s finest fibre festivals.
The Manitoba Fibre Festival is a celebration of all things fibre related. It’s a dream-come-true event for fibre lovers that includes amazing demonstrations, fabulous vendors and fantastic workshops. It brings together fibre producers, spinners, knitters, weavers, and felters from all across Manitoba in an attempt to create a strong community and build bonds.
The 2016 festival featured vendors such as: Burton Alpacas known for their alpaca fibre, rovings & yarns, Creature Comforts Cottage known for their mohair locks and Generation Fibreworks who supply raw alpaca fibre, roving & combed top wool, alpaca, mohair, silk.
Recently we interviewed Margaret Brook, Festival Coordinator, to learn more about this exciting event.
What will felt makers love about your festival?
What everyone loves about our festival is the sense of having found their fibre tribe. People stay for hours enjoying the camaraderie and inspiration that comes with a room full of wool and creative ideas. Anyone who works with fibre will appreciate making the connections between our live sheep display, the shearing demonstrations, and their chosen craft.
What are your top fibre picks for felt makers?
I am partial to the infinite range of natural coloured Shetland wool as that is what I raise myself! Several of our vendors offer fantastic carded batts in mixed fibres and colours that add greatly to a felting project. And felters really should try mixing in some alpaca fibre for its unique texture.
Any classes or demos for felt artists? Any exhibiting felt makers?
Our classes and demos for 2017 have not yet been confirmed, but there will certainly be classes in felting and dyeing included. Our vendor applications opened on March 1st.
We hope to welcome back several local felt makers, including Helga Schulte-Schroeer (Fibre Artistry), Janice Charko (Flights of Fibre), Heidi Hunter (Runs With Scissors), and Cathy Sutton (Nepenthe Studio).
What is exciting about your job at the festival?
The best thing about being the Festival Coordinator is discovering all the creative people in our community and tapping into their enthusiasm to make this event happen.
Are you a fibre lover? If so what is your craft?
My love for fibre, especially spinning and dyeing, led me to being part-owner of a flock of Shetland sheep. With an abundance of fibre on hand I have fallen in love with felting. I am making the trip of a lifetime in May for a felting retreat in Shetland with Fiona Duthie.
What do you like best about the festival?
What I like best about the festival is the incredible community support and ownership of the event. The Festival grew out of a desire to build connections between our rural producers and local artisans; and to share skills and resources through workshops and demonstrations. People understand and embrace these ideas with enthusiasm! We feel we are making a real contribution towards developing a locally based ‘slow fashion’ movement while supporting small farmers and creating a market for high quality craft.
What are you looking forward to most?
This year one of our volunteers is curating a pattern collection featuring local yarns, designers, dyers and spinners. It will launch in mid summer so people can knit the pieces before the Festival. I am really looking forward to seeing the results being worn at the event!
The FIFTH Annual Manitoba Fibre Festival
Friday September 15 and Saturday September 16, 2017
Red River Exhibition Park
3977 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
To learn more about the festival see: https://manitobafibrefestival.com