Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
Hello, my name is Jami Moore and I am the director of programming at Winnsboro Center for the Arts in Winnsboro, Texas. We are a small art center in a small, rural, agricultural town in East Texas, but we have a big mission! Part of our mission is to engage the community in arts education, and an ever-popular children’s art program at WCA is our summer camps. This year we had four art camps and two theater camps.
The kids were so excited for the art camps! What was even more exciting for me was to watch the transformation of these kids and the expansion of their horizons as they were exposed to many different mediums, including fiber arts!
At the beginning of each week with each new batch of campers I would get a room of blank stares when I asked them if they had ever done any fiber arts before. Even though there is a huge and growing number of various fiber arts not many of the kids could list examples. Every Tuesday my friend, Christine Miller, came with her big bags and boxes of wool, yarn, and foam pillows for fiber arts day! By the end of the week, I would ask the campers what their favorite thing about art camp and there was an overwhelming majority who said FIBER ARTS! They loved the embroidery, 2D and 3D needle felting, weaving, and wet felting.
It was the most focused and engaged I saw the campers all week. As adults I think it can be easy to not try new things like needle felting, embroidery, or weaving with kids of various ages. We get afraid that it will be “too messy”, or we don’t trust the kids with needles. But if you provide certain parameters, expectations, and guidelines when doing new, interesting, and “messy” mediums then your kids will surprise you with how focused, responsible, and creative they are.
There is something so special about fiber arts, too. The tactile nature of the fibers, the meditative quality of doing something repetitive, the satisfaction of being able to stab something with a needle! The world of fiber arts is full of fun textures and comforting textiles. And there’s something about fiber arts projects like embroidered badges and felted necklaces that is so completely perfect for summer camp with a group of new friends!