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Guild adds fibre to Foothills’ diet

Dozens of like-minded fibre artists have weaved their way onto the gallery walls in Turner Valley’s library. The Sheep River Library is displaying the work of dozens of knit, woven, spun and felt clothing and art pieces this month.
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Sheep Creek Weavers
Laurie Bullock with the Sheep Creek Weavers in front of their work on display at the Sheep River Library on Sept. 8.

Dozens of like-minded fibre artists have weaved their way onto the gallery walls in Turner Valley’s library. The Sheep River Library is displaying the work of dozens of knit, woven, spun and felt clothing and art pieces this month. Some are available for purchase. “It covers a gamut from whimsical puppets to elegant clothing, scarves and some beautiful felted garments,” said Laurie Bullock, Sheep Creek Weavers Fibre Arts Guild member. “The art of knitting has come so far since my grandmother’s days. It was more based on making a sweater and less about art. Now it’s much more about art and there’s some really creative knitters that explore techniques and variations to create incredible stitch patterns and garment shapes.” Bullock said members from across the Foothills, Calgary and Cochrane have been meeting at the Millarville Racetrack to create and share their talent since the 1970s. The membership is currently at 85. “It started with about five or six weavers,” she said. “Over the years it has expanded to include any type of fibre arts. We do have a few exceptions. We have a woman that does woven baskets using reclaimed metal.” Being a part of the guild provides a combination of socializing and sharing one’s skills, said Bullock. “We’re organized as a teaching guild,” she said. “We have programs, workshops, we share our skills with each other.” Having their creations on display in the library gallery is an opportunity for members to share their work with a broader audience, educate people about what fibre arts is and showcase the various styles available. “There’s a passion behind it,” said Bullock. “Many have had their art displayed around the province. There’s definitely the aspect of expressing oneself through their art.” For Bullock, an avid knitter of 40 years who has two shawls displayed at the library, it’s a hobby. “Most everything I make is wearable – baby blankets for grandchildren, shawls, scarves, hats, sweaters, ponchos,” she said. “I’m constantly challenging myself to learn new techniques.” Some members are self-taught while others have taken certified courses at colleges, Bullock said. “They become a master weaver with the intention of bettering their skills and potentially making a living off of it teaching or selling their goods,” she said. The Turner Valley display is among five fibre art exhibits in the Foothills this month. The remaining four are in High River. The Chinook Country Quilt Shop is hosting the Fibre Art Network’s show Conversations while The Merchantile at Aisling Interiors will feature the network’s show From a Tiny Seed from Sept. 14-23. The Highwood Gallery is hosting Abstractions by Spectra from Sept. 14-23 and the Heritage Inn is featuring the Studio Art Quilt Associates’ travelling show Sept. 19-23. An opening reception of the Fibre Art Network starts Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. in the Chinook Country Quilt Shop. Joyce Brown, a High River fibre artist who helped to organize the five fibre art exhibits, said it’s a great way to increase exposure around fibre arts. “It’s really nice for people to see what’s happening in the fibre and art world,” said Brown. “There is lots of artists that paint but there is not that many who do work with fabrics.” The Sheep River Library is open Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for those wanting to view the guild’s work.





Tammy Rollie

About the Author: Tammy Rollie

Tammy Rollie is a staff reporter at OkotoksToday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper, focusing on Wheel's West, local arts and culture and entertainment. For story tips contact trollie@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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