Baddeck Fibre Festival
at the Community Centre,
Baddeck, Cape Breton
(5-13 October 2012)

For anyone who loves fiber arts, the Baddeck Fibre Festival is a feast for the senses. Featuring local artists, the show has been put on for the past three years by the Southwestern Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers, according to president Diane Quimby. (Previously it was run by another organization.)

Here you can find everything from knitted pom-pom scarves to heirloom quality quilts.

An enchanting first stop was Lynn Moore's fabric collages, made from piece-worked high-quality cotton into highly detailed land and seascapes. Going by the name Sew Moore Fabric Creations out of Howie Centre, Nova Scotia, you can see a sampling of Moore's work on the cover of the book Discovering Cape Breton Folklore by Richard Mackinnon.

Moving on I came across a knit-covered guitar, worked in various colors and stitches, by Australian fiber artist Judy Lincoln. Selling under the name Hillsdale Mohair, among Lincoln's more standard creations were many-stitched knit sweaters, mittens, shawls and hand-dyed yarns. "I don't buy any dyes," she said, adding, "I just use what's around the yard." Two examples were a mint green and golden yellow, both produced by the goldenrod plant at different times of year.

The most numerous collections were the quilts made by various artists. My favorite was the "Celtic Colours Quilt" by Vi Abraham, featuring a brilliant red fiddle bordered by Cape Breton tartan bias on a cream base surrounded by enormous piece-worked fall leaves. Just stunning.

Another pick was a unique oriental-themed quilt, heavily flowered, featuring cranes flying against a stark black background, simply titled "Cranes" by Jeanne Miller.

Rounding the corner I met Nancy Lacroix and her hand-tatted jewelry. Tatting is basically "knotted lace," piped up Lacroix's husband, Pierre. In addition to knotting the lace, Lacroix works in Swarovski crystal, adding a bit of shine to the styling.

The offerings at Lacroix's stand were varied, from hand-smocked baby dresses to mittens. Featured were "Bingo Babies," little tartan dolls with a penny sewn to the bottom rumored to bring good luck at bingo. "Do they work?" I asked. "They're a big seller," said Pierre. "They work depending on what you believe in...," he added with a wink.

The Fibre Festival is a "group effort, a guild effort, really," Diane Quimby said. Quite a successful one, I would say.

And on the way out, a little surprise: a hand-knit covered bicycle, multi-colored spokes and all.

music review by
Katie Knapp

1 December 2012

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