Fiber Tent at Fair features artists, producers


Fiber enthusiasts will have more opportunities to delve into fiber than ever before this year at the Macon County Agricultural Fair, Sept. 11-14, at Macon County Fairgrounds in Franklin. Fiber artists, producers and animals will be located inside the Fiber Tent each day during the Macon County Fair, just outside the goat and sheep livestock area. 

Fair goers are welcome to join a knitting or spinning circle each day in the Fiber Tent. Fiber workers and groomers may bring their tools, from scissors to shears, by the Fiber Tent this year to take advantage of daily sharpening and repair services offered by Spirit Fiber Works of Cleveland, Ga.

Daily Fiber Tent offerings include demonstrations from shearing and carding to weaving and spinning. Fiber producers and artists will have products for sale in the Fiber Tent ranging from raw fleece to roving and yarn as well as finished fiber products, including clothing, dryer balls and equipment such as weaving sticks.

A different focus on fiber will be featured each day in the Fiber Tent, which opens at noon Wednesday, Sept. 11. 

Wednesday’s opening day focus will be an Introduction to Fiber. Daytime activities on Wednesday include demonstrations of wool applique by fiber artist Betty Cabe, spinning by Kathleen Marshall and Theresa Stenersen, and stick weaving by Judy Tallent along with a display of various types of animal fiber. Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 p.m., fair goers will find local author Claire Suminski in the Fiber Tent with Suminski Family Books. She will talk about raising angora goats and the role a Great Pyrenees plays in keeping farm animals safe from predators. “Cowee Sam” books will be available for purchase.

Thursday’s Fiber Tent focus will be on Dyeing and Felting. Cowee Textiles owner Teresa Bouchonnet will lead felting activities. Yarn shop co-owner and master fiber artist Virginia Murphy will be working over her dye pots in the Fiber Tent to demonstrate how colorful fiber is dyed. Spirit Fiber Works will produce felting batts on a drum carder for use in the felting demonstrations and for sale. Wool artist Gail Rynex will demonstrate rug braiding.

Spinning and knitting circles will be ongoing during day and evening activities inside the Fiber Tent, with fiber artist Kathleen Marshall and artist and Spelling Tuesday farm owner Theresa Stenersen. Stenersen, who raises Icelandic sheep, will also have her fiber products available for purchase inside the Fiber Tent.

Friday’s Fiber Tent focus will be on Weaving. Virginia Murphy, co-owner of Silver Threads & Golden Needles yarn shop will demonstrate traditional use of a rigid heddle loom and will give tapestry weaving demonstrations. Spirit Fiber Works will demonstrate spinning of art yarn for use in weaving. Wool artist Gail Rynex will demonstrate rug braiding.

While some fiber animals will be present each day in the Fiber Tent area, Saturday’s Fiber Tent activities will focus on Fiber Animals and the Processing of Fleece. Spirit Fiber Works will demonstrate harvesting the fleece off the animal through shearing while spinners will be on hand to demonstrate how the fiber shorn from an animal becomes yarn used in creating art and clothing. Demonstrations of fiber processing will illustrate the process of skirting the fiber to remove waste and sorting out the finest fiber, demonstrated by Mountain Meadow Farm Pygoras owner Beverly VanHook-Schrey. Picking the fleece to remove guard hair and remaining debris before carding begins as well as carding the fiber will be demonstrated by Virginia Murphy. 

Fair visitors interested in learning more about fiber production, watching demonstrations of fiber use or purchasing fiber products are encouraged to visit the Fiber Tent at the Macon County Fair Wednesday, Sept. 11 through Saturday, Sept. 14.