Wyoming Arts Council

Fiber Festival Offers Wyoming Area World-Class Workshops & Demos

WyoFiber LIVE! is a weekend-long event that aims to demonstrate all things fiber, including crocheting, dyeing, felting, knitting, quilting, spinning, upcycling, and weaving. It will be held on September 18-20 at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site in Laramie.

WyoFiber LIVE! is a cooperative effort between the Wyoming Territorial Prison and the Wyoming Women’s Business Center to promote fiber producers, artists and suppliers as an important part of Wyoming’s culture and heritage.

The Territorial Prison grounds were selected for this Fiber Festival because of the site’s history with Sheep. In 1903 when the prisoners were transferred out of the Laramie Prison to the new state penitentiary in Rawlins, the University of Wyoming’s College of Agriculture Experiment Station moved onto the grounds.  Its studies included sheep research.

“For almost 86 years the University of Wyoming conducted numerous scientific research studies on genetics and breeding healthier sheep. A wool laboratory was used to teach, gather and distribute research findings on how to achieve cleaner, thicker, and better quality wool.” says Deborah Amend, WTP Site Superintendent.  “Sheep were a huge part of this historic site’s history.”

The fiber festival offers a wide variety of demonstrations, workshops and vendors, including multiple nationally-recognized speakers/presenters.

“We are very excited to have a number of experts joining us right here in Wyoming for this event,” says Debbie Gorski, Executive Director for the Wyoming Women’s Business Center. “Not often will people in the field have the chance to learn from and interact with such experts. It’s a great opportunity.”

Internationally-known workshop presenter Deb Robson, author and speaker will be offering workshops on Marketing Your Fiber, Getting Started in the Business of Fiber, and Broadening Your Horizons, a look at primitive and rare wool fiber and its uses. Nationally-known presenters Barbara Assejew of Amber Studios is a refashioning diva, who will conduct workshops teaching her techniques for restyling upcycled garments, and Annette Kennedy, fiber artist and quilt designer, will present a day-long, course From Photo, To Pattern, To Quilt. Finally regionally-known presenters Deb Tewell, owner of The Felting Source, will conduct a felting workshop on the basics of 3-D felting by creating a felted scarf embellished with unique surface design, and Doris Florig, tapestry weaver and fiber artist will provide a weaving demonstration.

Additional highlights include stock dog sheep trial competitions, a day-long demonstration on how fibers go from sheep to a completed shawl, fiber animals (alpacas, llamas, cashmere goats and different breeds of sheep) on display, loom weaving and broom making demonstrations, the Hoffman Challenge premier quilt, clothing and doll trunk exhibit, a Sheep Wagon historic presentation, plus a number of fiber demonstrations.

Gorski adds that the event is not only for experts in the industry, but a unique experience for the general public right here in the Wyoming region. “The event is exciting for people in the fiber industry, but there are activities all throughout the weekend that the general public should have on their radar as well,” says Gorski. “The demonstrations, stock dog trials and just seeing some of these fiber animals are a great chance for people to come out and view activities they may not otherwise get to see.”

For more information on the workshops, vendors or schedule of activities visit www.wyomingwomen.org/wyofiber-live or contact either Debbie Gorski at 307-460-3943, DebK@uwyo.edu or Deborah Amend at 307-745-3733,Deborah.amend@wyo.gov

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