Art on the Prairie to celebrate Fiber Art Month through May
A one day Fiber Art Fair has been expanded through the month of May.
The Fiber Art Fair started in Perry in 2017 as a way to highlight local artists and give demonstrations. COVID-19 canceled the 2020 event and had organizers make changes to this year’s fair. Art on the Prairie will be celebrating Fiber Art Month throughout May with featured artists, pop-ups, demonstrations, workshops and more.
“It’s cool when you can come into La Poste and the Hotel Pattee and look at the different vendors, but we want to live through COVID one more year,” said Jenny Eklund, with Art on the Prairie and Atelier at 1109. “If we do this on a much smaller scale and change artists out, the activities out, it keeps it fresh.”
“I think it’s more amenable to the varied schedules of the artists,” added Joanne Warnock, president of the Perry Piecemakers Quilt Guild.
The guild has a number of quilts on display through May 12 in the Hotel Pattee ballroom. Quilt guild members hosted open sew events on May 1 and 8.
“We like to be a part of it, we have been for a couple years now,” Warnock said of the Fiber Art Fair. “We love to show our quilts. It’s a great opportunity for that.”
Quilts aren’t the only fiber art medium to be showcased during the month. Atelier at 1109, which opened in November of 2019 and features Perry-area artists, also features a number of knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers and more on the fiber side of the shop. One of the artists in the shop makes tie-dye dresses and Eklund said more fiber artists will be bringing in their creations during the month.
The front of the shop also features fiber as the bench, trash can and window displays are covered in yarn.
“Since our shop is fairly new, we decided to do a big yarn bombing project. We had a lot of our fiber artists participate in that,” said Ashley Anderson, who helps run Atelier at 1109 and does online marketing for the shop. “It’s a big showstopper when you drive by. We’ve had a lot of people drive by and stop and look and take pictures.”
Light poles down Willis Avenue and Second Street have also been covered in yarn. Eklund said they also plan to finetune the crocheted hula hoops that have been featured in past years and place them in the Josh Davis Memorial Plaza this month.
Eklund enjoys the chance to highlight the fiber arts, an area she considers a lost art.
“It’s kind of uncommon. When you think about art, a lot of people think about ceramics, painting, the standard stuff you see everywhere in galleries,” Anderson said. “Being able to showcase fiber arts is kind of awesome, especially for our Millennial generation that’s just getting into that.”
Helen Bell started knitting 3 ½ years ago and has some of her pieces for sale at Atelier at 1109.
“I have really appreciated seeing these folk arts that people are saying there is actually beautiful art that comes from this,” she said.
Bell added that she enjoys the accessibility of the fiber arts.
“You can go and pick up things to sew with, you can get a crochet hook, you can buy yarn and needles,” she said. “I really like that it’s accessible, that someone can pick it up and turn this little hobby into something that means so much to them.”
Warnock added that anyone can go into Ben’s Five and Dime in Perry to pick up supplies.
“It’s inexpensive to pick up yarn and a knitting needle and a crochet hook and experiment. YouTube has everything to teach you, it’s accessible,” she said.
Art on the Prairie will be featuring pop-ups, demonstrations and workshops with fiber artists for community members to learn more about the different mediums. Follow Art on the Prairie on Facebook for more information about upcoming activities throughout the month.
Eklund has enjoyed seeing the Fiber Art Fair change and grow over the years.
“What I like about it in four years, even though COVID interrupted it, is how many more people are getting involved in it from our community and are really proud of it, and that makes me proud of it,” she said.
“It’s been awesome to see people come together and have this grow and get to be part of something that’s so important and awesome for Perry,” Bell added.
Upcoming workshops during Fiber Art Month
5/15 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Stitch Social with Happy Bird Homestead at Perry Perk
5/15 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.: Mindful Stitching Workshop with Sew in the Moment 365 on Zoom
5/16 2-3 p.m.: Mindful Stitching Workshop with Sew in the Moment 365 on Zoom
5/18 & 5/20 6-8 p.m.: Needle Felting Cone Flower Class with Art Grows Wild on Zoom
5/23 3-6 p.m.: Rag Rug Weaving Potholder Class with Purple Star Studio at Ben's Five and Dime - Perry
5/30 3-6 p.m.: Hairpin Lace Crochet Coozie Class with Purple Star Studio at Ben's Five and Dime - Perry