Thursday, 11 October 2012

Cathy Crowell : Label Making Demonstration

This afternoon at Festival Headquarters Cathy Crowell demonstrated her method of making beautiful labels for quilts or mats. 
The labels look hand painted.
Cathy used the simplest of supplies with great effect.  The crowd of onlookers was wowed when she hauled out her cheese grater to speckle the background.  Fabulous!

Fibre Arts Festival Tote Bags

This year to mark the 5th anniversary, these special canvas tote bags are available for purchase at Festival Headquarters.  Made in Nova Scotia, these roomy bags are perfect for class projects.  

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Clock Tower Building at 50 Victoria Street is Festival Headquarters.  There are all kinds of things to see...

 ...demonstrations to watch, such as this binding and border one by Sheila Hopper... well as things to buy.
It's fun to leaf through photo albums from past festivals.  You might see yourself in one of the pictures!
 Be sure to check out the Festival Photos tab at the top of this page to see pictures from some of this week's events.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Let The Festival Begin!

Doors open at Festival Headquarters, 50 Victoria Street Amherst, N.S. at 10 am today.
Remember to check the Daily Events page on this blog to see all the activities taking place.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Accidental Landscapes Quilting Workshop

Projects that include machine quilting & handwork embellishments are promoting increased interest at the 5th Annual Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival.

If you always felt you had a landscape inside waiting to be expressed, you will have  opportunity to learn a simple technique of layered topstitching to feed your muse.

Mary Farrow Sinclair instructs students in the unique approach to designing landscapes which evolves from choosing a focus material & expanding on its color theme
to develop realistic or imaginary landscapes.  “Creativity just outside the box”. 

The Accidental Landscape workshop is being held on Tues. October 9, 2012,
from 9 am – 3 pm at the Masonic Hall, Amherst. 

Cost of workshop is $60.  To register call (902) 667-7401 or e-mail Mary

Northumberland:  Mary's entry in the 2012 Trend Tex Challenge at Quilt Canada

The Hills are alive........


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Fibre Art Walking Tour

Feature Festival Event:
                Fibre Art Walking Tour

                             By: Joan Beswick


Downtown Amherst is ready for the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival. Festival flags fly all over town, and windows display festival signs.

Businesses and offices are also participating in the Fibre Art Walking Tour - their windows are adorned with the work of regional fibre artists.

A donation of $5 to the festival will give you a walking tour ‘passport’. This passport is your guide to all of the featured fibre art. It includes brief biographies of the artists, descriptions of their work, and a map showing locations.  Your name will also be entered on a ballot which gives you the opportunity to win one of several festival bags, a piece of fibre art,  
                                                                  Festival Bag
Beaded Infinity Scarf by Phyllis Cameron

 Quilted Bag by Karen Neary

or the grand prize basket filled with fibre art supplies from Deanne Fitzpatrick’s studio.

Come to the festival headquarters. Make a $5 donation and receive your Fibre Art Walking Tour Passport.

Relax and enjoy  ....  walk around beautiful downtown Amherst, stop and view our artisans’ creations, and savour this visual feast. You can do this walking tour anytime during the week ... you may even want to do it several times just to get your fill of fibre.

And keep your fingers crossed ... you might just walk away with a wonderful prize as well.

Cathedral Windows Workshop

Quilting is one of the many fibre art disciplines at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival and there are workshops offered which appeal to both hand and machine quilters.  Phyllis Cameron’s Cathedral Windows Workshop is unique in that it is designed to accommodate both.   Phyllis gives her students instruction on three methods of creating this traditional block: totally hand sewn, some machine and hand work, or totally machine done.  The beautiful quilt below is an example of machine piecing:
This pillow is made partially by machine, partially with hand stitches.
The Cathedral Windows workshop is being offered on Friday, October 12, 2012 from 9am - 3 pm at the First Baptist Church, Amherst.  Cost of the workshop is $45.00  To register call (902) 667-0876 or email Jennifer

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

 Only a few days left ...

the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival begins on Tuesday, October 9th and continues through Saturday, October 13th.

 If you haven’t registered for festival events, now is the time.

Register by calling or e-mailing - use the contact information in the festival brochure.

And don’t forget the ‘Dinner and Exhibit at Bella’s Cafe’ on Thursday, October 11.  Call now to reserve and plan to attend the exhibit and presentation by Joanna Close as well.

Check out Bella's menu for this festival dinner.

Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival Dinner

Thursday, October 11, 2012

6:00 pm 

Bella’s Café and Bistro

           117 Victoria Street East

          Amherst, N.S.


Fancy Greens served with Toasted Walnuts, Goat Cheese and a HomeMade Raspberry Vinaigrette


Roast Pork Loin Stuffed with an Apple Corn Bread with Sauce Robert


Grilled Salmon with a Fresh Basil and Lobster Butter


Black Forest Cake

Price: Thirty Five Dollars Plus Tax Per Person

Reserve your Seat Now


Sunday, 30 September 2012

Victorian Fibre House Tour


 Feature Festival Event

                   Victorian Fibre House Tour
                                     By: Joan Beswick

 Amherst’s prosperous history is reflected in the stately homes lining its main streets, and a highlight of the Christmas season has traditionally been the ‘Deck the Halls Christmas House Tour’.  This year, the fifth anniversary of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival, Amherst’s First Baptist Church is hosting a three-home tour on the afternoon of Saturday, October 13, the last day of the festival. And this tour offers something special – an opportunity not only to tour the three most popular homes from the Christmas tour, but to also see them bedecked with quilts, rugs, embroidery, knitting and all things fibre. 
The Van Snick home was built in 1907 in a Queen Ann style. It features round towers, oval windows, cobble stone work, and a large stairwell with Newell sculpture.  The home will feature the work of local fibre artist, Janet Moses, and is a perfect setting to showcase her vibrant colour palette. 

The Duvar home was built in 1875 and has been lovingly restored with impressive results. The decor of this home, a tasteful blend of Victorian and Traditional taste, offers a fitting canvas for the creations of Cumberland County’s talented fibre artists. For those who love Christmas, this home will also offer a Christmas Fibre display. 

Bent Cottage is the oldest home in Amherst, dating back to 1770. It was built on 500 acres granted to Loyalist blacksmith, John Bent. It is filled with heritage pieces, including antique samplers, early hooked rugs, and many primitives. Bent Cottage was the childhood home of Canadian artist, Alex Colville, and the tradition of creativity continues with its present owners. Daniel G. Walker’s exhibit ‘Pear Shaped’ and Rev. Don Miller’s ‘one-of-a-kind birdhouses’ will be featured. 
The Victorian Fibre House Tour runs from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 13. It begins at First Baptist Church, 90 Victoria St., Amherst. Tickets are $5, and can be purchased at the church. The three houses are close to each other and within a short distance from the church. Since participants will be walking through all three houses, they are encouraged to wear slip-on shoes or bring slippers.

Oh, and not to be forgotten ... tea and cookies.
When you’re inclined to rest and reflect, ‘tea and cookies’ will be served at the church all afternoon between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m.  

Please join us in celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival. Come and tour three of the most beautiful homes in Amherst, a community steeped in heritage and ‘obsessed with fibre’.



Thursday, 27 September 2012


Festival Feature Event:

Kumihimo – Art of Japanese Braiding

Instructor: Brenda Trafford


                                                                By: Joan Beswick

We’ve had many questions about ‘Kumihimo’, the most frequent being ‘how do you say it?’ So we asked instructor, Brenda Trafford.  


Brenda is a multi-talented fibre artist – felter, knitter, crocheter – who will be offering a full day workshop on Kumihimo at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival this year. Last year, she won the  ‘booth award’ at the Zonta Fibre Arts Bazaar.

Brenda said to say the word phonetically - it sounds like it spells - /koo me he mo/. She then described this ancient and very functional art form as ‘the Japanese art of braid making or interlacing strands of fibre such as cord or ribbon’. Historically, the kumihimo cords were used by samurai to lace their armour and their horses’ armour. Historically and currently, they are also used as ties on jackets and kimono sashes.



Today, fibre artists find many other uses for kumihimo braids. Brenda makes kumihimo handles for her wonderful felted bags and creates kumihimo necklaces to hold beads and pendants.




In fact, she was first introduced to this art form at the conference of the International Society of Glass Bead Artists in Louisville, Kentucky about five years ago.



So just how difficult is this ancient art? According to Brenda, it’s quite easy to get started. She said ‘we’ll wind ribbon on a bobbin, work the braid down the middle, and go from there’.


At the festival workshop, Brenda will provide the necessary tools and materials: a hand-held disc with a hole in the middle and grooves on the outside, bobbins, and enough ribbon for two cords. She will also have additional bags of ribbon if people want to gather more supplies. She suggests that participants bring lunch, as well as a clip like the one below to use as a weight.


‘Kumihimo – Art of Japanese Braiding’ will be offered on Thursday, October 11, 2012, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It will be held at the Cumberland County Museum, 150 Church St., Amherst. The cost is $40, and all supplies are included. To register, call 902-667-2561, or contact

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Knitting – the Very Beginning

Feature Festival Event:

Knitting – the Very Beginning
                           with instructor, Carol Oram
(and a bit of history on famous knitter,
                           Eleanor Roosevelt)

                                By: Joan Beswick

I just came back from visiting Campobello Island, New Brunswick, as well as parts of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.  Now since this is not a travelogue, but rather the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts blog, I’ll not ramble on about the wondrous scenery and fall foliage. However, being away last week prevented me from interviewing a fibre artist and posting that information on this blog. But all is not lost ... because fibre artists, past and present, are always with us.  And in a visit to the Roosevelt Cottage on Campobello, I discovered that Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of U.S. president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was not only a teacher, writer, and human rights activist, but also an inveterate knitter. As you can see above, her love of knitting is commemorated in her statue at the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park.
Eleanor knit on the beach ...

on planes ....

and at the United Nations where she was actively involved in drafting the universal declaration of human rights.  In fact, Eleanor’s knitting needles were so ubiquitous that Douglas Chandler’s 1949 oil painting is a composite of portraits showing her with pen in hand, glasses in hand, head in hand, and knitting needles in hand.

My visit to Campobello included ‘tea with Eleanor’, a twice daily event wherein park staff serve tea and cookies, and acquaint visitors with the life of Eleanor Roosevelt, a multifaceted life in which she played many roles - parent, writer, teacher, political spouse, and human rights activist. Nevertheless, despite the many demands on her time and a hectic travel schedule, Eleanor continued to knit.

Now, fibre artists who read this will know why Eleanor knit ... knitting is productive, relaxing, creative  ... it keeps your hands busy and out of the munchies while watching TV ... it allows you to make beautiful things. Why, oh why, then, have some of us never learned to knit? Oh, we have excuses ... too busy, too clumsy, no talent, no teacher ... but these excuses really don’t hold water. My friend, Carol Oram, is a consummate craftsperson, but her first love is knitting. She assures me it requires no talent and is easy to learn .... even those of us who are ‘all thumbs’ (she means me) can do it.

To the rescue comes the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival committee – it has come to their attention that there are ‘wannabees’ out there - non-knitters - people like me who for some reason or other, just never learned.  So the festival committee has convinced Carol, a retired educator and versatile fibre artist, to offer a very basic introductory course entitled ‘Knitting - the Very Beginning’. This will be a friendly affair lasting approximately 90 minutes. It will take place at Deanne Fitzpatrick’s Studio, 33 Church St., Amherst, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, October 12. The cost is $30, and all materials will be provided.  To request more information or to register, call Carol Oram at 902-667-2656.

Carol will teach us how to ‘cast on’, do the ‘knit’ stitch, and ‘cast off’.  Those are the basic skills required to go from ‘non-knitter’ to ‘knitter’, and after that, as they say, 'the sky is the limit'. Who ever knew that 90 minutes could witness such a transformation?  Eleanor would be so pleased.