Fiber Arts Students Attend Sheep and Wool Festival
On Saturday, May 5th, a group of Grier students accompanied Mrs. Abby Curtis to the 45th Annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in West Friendship, MD, where they could enjoy learning about sheep, see demonstrations of folk arts, listen to live music, and enjoy festival foods.
Students attending the festival were immersed in the world of Sheep, Wool, and Fiber Arts. From the feel of the wool, the taste of the fresh cheeses, the sound of the live music, the smell of the straw, and the sight of the fiber art pieces, the festival was a delight for the senses! Students could tour barns showcasing prized animals like sheep, goats, and rabbits. In the Folk School Demonstration Tent, they observed artisans spinning wool, dying fibers, weaving yarn, producing basketry, and making brooms. Fiber artists displayed their finished pieces of art and wearable garments. Vendors sold raw materials and finished products. Attendees could enjoy festival foods and goods purchased from the Farm Market, which included several sheep’s milk cheeses. Fiber artists provided hands-on crafting opportunities, gave lectures, told stories, and even demonstrated lamb butchering and cooking techniques. The festival included several competitions including a youth spinning contest, photography contest, and a garment competition. For Mrs. Curtis and her fiber arts and knitting club students, this was certainly the place to be.
Mrs. Curtis has taught history classes at Grier for decades and has demonstrated the folk art of spinning to her students. She has also led a Knitting Club at Grier, to help interested students learn to knit. This year, Mrs. Curtis also teaches three Fiber Arts classes in the Art Studio.
In the Fiber Arts course, students in mixed-grade classes learn the skills of several fiber crafts, including: knitting, crochet, hand-spinning and weaving. The students demonstrate creative self-expression and mastery of skills learned by creating finished products.
The Handspinning course is an introduction to craft and art of making yarns from raw materials. Students learn primarily how to work with various types of wools, from the raw lock to skein. Skills include washing, combing, hand-carding, machine-carding, dyeing locks and roving, drop-spindling, wheel spinning, plying and skeining. Students design their own yarns and choose projects to demonstrate their skills.
The Knitting course is an introduction to the many ways of creating 2- and 3-dimensional ‘fabric’ art and craft by knitting. This course allows students to learn the basics of knitting, as well as, more advanced techniques. Students explore diverse knitting materials, colors, and patterns to create exciting fabrics and useful, wearable items along with works of art.