Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002 Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002
Sandpoint Magazine

Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002

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Baskets made by students in Kim Spencer's cass at the "Baskets of North Idaho" camp. Photo courtesy of Fiberarts Guild.
Out of fiber comes their art
Artists of today share fiber arts of old

The third Tuesday of every month, a group meets in the basement of the Gardenia Center in Sandpoint to celebrate some of the oldest crafts and skills on earth. The 6 p.m. gatherings are noisy, joyful, playful … and bawdy, from time to time. The Sandpoint Fiberarts Guild is a colorful bunch of yarn spinners, felters, knitters, crocheters, wool carders, weavers, beaders, basket weavers and, goodness, the list goes on.

If it has to do with the thousands of permutations of the uses of natural fibers for purposes mundane or sublime, artistic or utilitarian, someone in the Guild is probably interested in it. On meeting nights, they bring conquests, consternation, questions and their latest creations. “Show and tell” time is a melange of woolens, weavings, well-timed one-liners, spinning wheels and special projects. While a little business is done on one end, food is partaken on the other.

The organization is efficient, but not a stickler for Robert’s Rules of Order. “We’ve scared off people for being too official,” says President Sharon Gunter, “and we’ve scared them off for being too loose.”

The Guild, composed of about 40 members, was formed in 1984 by a group of like-minded women who wished to encourage fiber work in a diversity of mediums at all levels of experience. Throughout the year, they offer workshops on spinning, weaving, knitting, basket weaving, dyeing, papermaking, felting and other fiber-related skills. These workshops are open to the public, and are often instructed by Guild members.

For example, a weekend-long camp in September, “Baskets of North Idaho,” allows up to 50 people to unleash their creativity surrounded by the natural beauty of the University of Idaho Clark Fork Field Campus.

The bond between the members of the Guild is strong, healthy, dynamic, energetic and obvious. Their common interest is in natural strands and how to put them together into beautiful, useful pieces of art.

“It’s like going to church,” Gunter says, “getting the fix of people doing the same thing for the same good reasons.”

– Sandy Compton

Summer 2002

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