Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
There are many fiber organizations that we can join to support our growth as fiber artists. In fact, the Explore Fiber resource page, Fiber Organizations, has a growing list that can help you find an group that will fit into your own explorations. Check out the Surface Design Association; they are at the forefront of promoting fiber as an innovative, fine art material in art and design. Consider attending SDA’s 2019 biennial conference in St Louis for, Beyond the Surface, a long weekend of fiber October 3-6, 2019. They are partnering with St Louis-based Innovations in Textiles 2019, a regional event showcasing more than 30 textile exhibitions in the St Louis metro area. Open to members and non-members of SDA. Registration is now open.
The biennial conferences are outstanding, and have been life altering for me! I was one of three art educators from around the U.S. that were awarded scholarships to attend the 2011 conference in Minneapolis with a purpose of extending fiber arts experiences into art education curriculum. Read more about Our Story as conference attendees, and the birth of a mission for Explore Fiber to promote fibers as a fine art material. That conference, Confluence, rocked my world and inspired me to take my fiber arts advocacy to a broader platform – the world!
In 2017, the Surface Design Association hosted their 40th anniversary conference in Portland, Making our Mark. I was selected to present a Pecha Kucha about the birth of Explore Fiber from that 2011 conference. It felt like a coming out party! Explore Fiber had been growing and expanding since it’s inception in 2014, and it came full circle as it was introduced to the conference attendees. (You can view the Pecha Kucha presentation below.)
The Internet has certainly broadened our connections to fellow artists, learning experiences, exhibits, techniques, processes, and fiber trends. But virtual networks do not replace the powerful involvement with people when they come together to view each other’s work and discuss the past, present, and future of fiber art. I encourage you to attend one of the conferences! If you can’t make this one, bookmark the next; join the Surface Design Association and become a member of an thriving community of fiber advocates.
Surface Design Association’s mission since 1977 is to promote awareness and appreciation of textile-inspired art and design through member-supported benefits including publications, exhibitions, and conferences.
SDA provides a platform for the exchange of ideas, methods, and materials. The SDA community is expansive: from makers and artists to academics and enthusiasts. We celebrate their successes and failures as they work toward sustaining traditional techniques or adapting production strategies in radical new ways, such as realizing fiber arts as activism or performance. The shared affinity of our community is a sincere love of textile media and fiber arts.