By Judy Maddox with Mimi Loutrel

FIBER_ARTS_FESTIVAL._1Lost arts? Folk Arts? Ancient arts? These terms have been used synonymously to include all kinds of crafts, arts and activities surrounding what used to be everyday functions for centuries ranging from weaving to furniture building. Are these activities truly lost? Are they being used daily somewhere on this planet? Let’s examine some of these and where one can learn such things.

Speaking from a personal view, I grew up on a very small goat farm in Kansas with a hillbilly father and a loving hillbilly extended family. Crocheting, knitting, embroidery, furniture restoration, sewing, butter making, bread making, quilting, canning, preserving, down home instruments such as the juice harp, mouth harp, kazoo, with the mandolin, pump organ, banjo, fiddle were all an integral part of my growing up. We were not in the Appalachians - we were just outside the city limits of Kansas City, Kansas. So, my view is that these activities are not lost but perhaps not widely known or used. “Lost arts” is now the buzz word for such things and is emerging as the “way” to describe them.

Growing up in such an environment and spending an enormous time at my paternal grandmothers afforded me a hands-on approach especially to fiber arts. My grandmother was an excellent quilter and at her knee I was quilting in elementary school. I learned to crochet before I was ten at my mother and her mother’s knees. If any of us wanted anything, we made it. If there was a birth, marriage, death, anniversary, or birthday, we made or baked the gift. I value these activities because they are not much in use in today’s high tech world.

FIBER_ART_FESTIVAL_2Where, today, can one learn these things? There are various guilds that play a major role in teaching and maintaining various parts of the “lost arts”. In the fiber arts area there are weaving guilds, basket guilds, gourd guilds, embroidery guilds, knitting guilds (machine and hand), quilting guilds, spinning guilds; just to name a few. These guilds function throughout the country and the world. Some are interconnected, others stand alone. These guilds can be a valuable resource for anyone who wants to be a part of the fiber arts scene and be connected to the thousands of fiber people in the area. Usually, one can find an area guild by searching the internet. Museums are also a resource for finding a local connection.

FIBER_ART_FESTIVAL_4A really good place in Southern California to begin learning at least weaving, spinning, blacksmithing, furniture restoration is the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum, 2040 N Santa Fe, Vista, California. They have a weaving barn of over 4,000 square feet with over 50 looms and spinning wheels. There is a large blacksmith shop. There is a farm house and a one room school house. They host classes and workshops on a regular basis. But the best part is the Fiber Arts Fiesta that the Museum Weavers host which happens on October 13th and 14th 10:00am-4:00pm. The Fibre Arts Fiesta allows area vendors and guilds to show their stuff, sell things, and just have a good time. The Gem and Mineral Show is held simultaneously at the Museum. For more information check out the Vista Fiber Arts website or Vista Fiber Arts Fiesta group on Facebook

Last year, coordinators Mimi Loutrel and Judy Maddox reported that over 2,000 people attended. There was and will be music (last year it was bluegrass), food for sale and lots to see and buy. There will be alpacas to please everyone in the crowd. There will be demos of spinning, drop spindle and needle felting (a mini-class for this is scheduled). This year we have already the maximum vendor spaces of 40 filled. The event and parking are free.

Come see what we have to offer!

Judy Maddox is a crocheter, quilter, knitter, weaver, basket maker, embroiderer- gourd artist; In the corporate world she was a technical writer, Public Relations/Marketer, technology/art teacher and a school librarian. She is active in the Museum weavers. Palomar Handweavers Guild and the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum as well as coordinator of the Vista Fiber Arts Fiesta

Mimi Loutrel is a weaver, spinner and long-time knitter. Her background in business management makes her great at organizing events, such as the Fiber Arts Fiesta