Handmade in America’s Farm to Fashion Exhibit

Visiting Farm to Fashion Exhibit

Did you know that there are nearly 500 fiber animal farms in western North Carolina and 400o fiber artists? I didn’t either until reading about Handmade in America’s new exhibition, Farm to Fashion in a recent Asheville Citizen-Times article. Yesterday I had the opportunity to check it out at HIA.

The show, which is sponsored by Echo View Fiber Mill in Weaverville, explores the fiber community in North Carolina, raising awareness about the importance of handmade clothing and bringing to light the networks which are being created to bring the raw materials of fiber arts into the hands of craftspeople. The exhibition not only highlights the final product, but the raw materials from which the art begins including sheep’s wool and plant materials used in natural dyeing.

Objects featured include coverlets, shawls, scarves, hats, and handbags using felt, wool, cotton and repurposed materials. Styles range from traditional to contemporary, all showing a mastery of skill and design. Many Southern Highland Craft Guild members are active in the locally sourced movement and have work in the show. The list includes: Mary Nichols, Teena Tuenge, Edwina Bringle, Eileen Hallman, Cassie Dickson, Dede Styles, as well as Haywood Community College and the Crossnore Weaving School.


Here is more information from Judi Jetson of Handmade in America about the network of suppliers and artists working together to build the local fiber economy:

The WNC Fibershed Initiative's Mission:

To sustain and encourage the growth of the regional fiber and textile arts economy and professions through collaboration, education and innovation.

Approach: A group based in Asheville, North Carolina has started an initiative to grow the regional fiber economy, focusing on craft artists, fiber animal farmers and emerging fiber mills and processing businesses. Based on strategies of adding value to locally harvested materials and substituting local products for imports, they have identified 8 areas for attention:

· Develop an on-line directory of sources, makers & users of fiber, including

o Fiber Artists

o Guilds and associations

o Research and trade organizations

o Schools and colleges with fiber programs

o Retail stores and boutiques carrying local fiber and locally crafted garments

o Fashion & home furnishing designers

o Local manufacturers and custom mills

· Develop an online calendar for events and classes

· Estimate and track the size of the fiber economy

· Organize textile shows and tours

· Start a Textile Study Group

· Study feasibility for a Community Dye studio & Textile Center

· Support Fiber Entrepreneurship and identify $ for new fiber-related ventures

· Advocate wearing & making garments from the local Fibershed

Interested in Joining? contact Judi at [email protected] or call 828-252-0121, ext 304

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