So, I guess I've been known to coin a phrase or two..... many folks look at our banner at various fiber shows, etc., and comment that the word "flerd" isn't really a word. Well it is, although I can't take credit for inventing it. I can't recall where I first heard the phrase, but I must have heard it somewhere. In any event, the time has come for a new word - so here it is: Fiberista.
What, you may ask, is a fiberista? Well, you've heard of a barista, right? (barista: noun: a person specially trained in the art of making special coffee drinks). We needed a word for this, apparently because it is in the internet dictionary. The word "fiberista" is not in that dictionary, so I just made it up. hahah
A fiberista is a person trained, sometimes at the school of hard knocks, sometimes with formal training, in the art of working with fiber - wool, mohair, angora, alpaca, quivet, silk, whatever type of fiber you can think of! A fiberista will create art from fiber, either spun, felted, sewn, woven, knitted, crocheted, or tatted.
A fiberista is usually pretty creative, and not willing to go to Target or Wal Mart and buy a scarf for $5.99 when she can spent $75 on materials and three months of her time, to make one herself. These fiberistas are mostly women. Once in a while you will find a man at such gatherings, and I suppose they should be called fiberistos.
Fiberistas tend to gather together in herds (or flerds) at places such as guild meetings and fiber festivals, little yarn shops, educational workshops, and even sometimes at farms where special events take place such as shearings. I understand that when they gather at guild meetings, or in each others houses or studios, many times there are chocolate treats available, as this seems to be a food that they all are drawn to. This could be a clue as to who might make a good fiberista, but that's way over my head right now.
Right now, I'd like to tell you about a little group of fiberistas that I know. Thrown together by their diversity and also by what they have in common, my very own wench, and two of her fiber buddies, Vivian Thompson and Nancy Liebrecht, have formed this co-operative of fiberistas, and they call themselves BLUE RIDGE FIBERWORKS.
Blue Ridge Fiberworks starts at the beginning.
First to the farmer: Blue Ridge Fiberworks can provide a market for your fine wool. If you have fiber animals, and would like to learn more, get in touch with one of our fiberistas and she will explain how they can help.
Second to the mill: As you know, wool can be spun into yarn by hand, but, let's face it, none of these fiberistas is a spring chicken, and, even if they were all named Rapunzel and lived in a tower, they couldn't spin it all in their lifetime. Blue Ridge Fiberworks is using local, boutique mills, (dependent on your area) to mill fine yarns from local sources.
Next to the consumer: yarns in every shape and size. Custom yarns for your yarn shop! A website should be up and running within the next few months, and local yarn shops are getting in line to have their own exclusive blend made.
Lastly, a legacy: The Blue Ridge Mountains are rich in history, and textiles are a big part of that. Today you will find a few mills still in this area, spinning cotton or polyester or blends, making fabric for t-shirts, to be shipped overseas and made into garments. It seems that over the past ten years or so, a lot of the mills have left town. We'd like to change that. We'd like to build a mill to support the farmers, create some jobs, and make some pretty yarns for the future fiberistas out there.
So, that's what's happening around the farm. No grass growing under their feet, those fiberistas... always busy busy busy. Last week, wench and Nancy went to a local farm and attended a shearing - selecting the finest fleeces for the season:
Nancy talks with the farmers and looks over the fleeces.
Into the car they go. (this is one bag of three)
If you are out and about this coming weekend, and live in the Raleigh, NC area, stop by the Got to Be NC Food and Wine festival. Wench and Vivian will be stationed outside the rabbit barn, spinning and weaving, and selling the shirt off my back, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They can tell you all about Blue Ridge Fiberworks. The following weekend (June 4th) be looking for them again, at the Local Cloth fiber extravaganza at the Western NC Farmers Market in Asheville - yarns, fleeces, raw fiber, etc., will be for sale there, and all of them (the three fiberistas) will be in attendance. These chicks get around.
Thanks for reading Frankly speaking!