Fiber College of Maine is an annual festival celebrating fiber arts in all forms. Fiber College comes alive each year, the week after Labor Day, in historic Searsport, Maine. The sun is warm, the apples are ripe and we gather in the beautiful natural setting of Searsport Shores Oceanfront Campground. This unique, accessible park provides fiber artists, crafters and students with opportunities to spread over 40 acres for nine days of learning and sharing skills that cross time, place and cultures. We watch, talk, experiment, make beautiful handcrafted items, and take pride in our accomplishments and communities within its organic gardens, fiber animals paddocks, studios, concert spaces and on its private beach. When we’re not pursuing the joy of making, we’re enjoying delicious local food, traditional music, and gazing over the ocean into the star studded night.
(1) Fire and Glass
Taught by: Amanda Coburn
Using vitreous enamel to create colorful jewelry and other beautiful accessories.
Vitreous enamel is powdered glass fused to metal and we’ll begin with the basic fundamentals of torch-fired enameling. Over the course of three days, we’ll move on to more sophisticated techniques like sgraffitto and cloisonné. You’ll be able to make earrings, necklaces, brooches, buttons and more, with plenty of time to create your own designs for beautiful personal pieces or unique gifts.
(2) From Ewe to You
Taught by Marty Elkin, Mary Ann Haxton and Wendy Morgan
Watch while a sheep is shorn and take the "raw" wool through all the processes including washing, fiber preparation and spinning to make your own hand-spun yarn dyed with flowers from the garden and blended with natural colors. Learn felting (wet and needle) or take your knitting skills to a new level while knitting a pair of Norwegian Mittens.
(3) Wood and Water
Taught by: Ken Wise
Shaping and finishing a canoe or kayak paddle using traditional hand tools including a spokeshave, block plane, rasp, and refine final surfaces with sandpaper. We will explore paddle design, good woods to use, and all the necessary tools and techniques. You don’t need any previous experience, but the work will require moderate physical effort.
(4) Put Your Best Foot Forward
Taught by Molly Grant
Make yourself a beautiful pair of custom leather shoes. Yes, really! You’ll trace your own feet, cut, sew and finish the leather, add soles and heels, and step out with enormous pride
Challenging ourselves to extend our skills and do something new can take a bit of courage - but it also helps build confidence, in ourselves and in the future. And when you think about it, the ability to make footwear and protect our feet from injury, weather and unkind surfaces was one of the skills that set humans - quite literally - on the road leading from prehistory to now.
(5) No Banjo? No Problem
Taught by Benjamin Foss
During this retreat each student will build a traditional fretless gourd or tackhead banjo from scratch. You don’t even need to be a banjo player, but if you are, there’ll be the opportunity to customize your instrument to your own specification and to suit your playing style. You don’t need to be a woodworker either: just comfortable using power tools.
We’ll start with tool safety and some of the basic woodworking skills required and then
focus on carving a neck, preparing a gourd or hoop rim, mounting a hide banjo head, finishing and setting up a banjo. By the end of the class, your banjo should be ready to play.
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