TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fiber Focus Goes Social on Ning!

I noticed that several of the bloggers and textile artists I admire were part of a social networking site called "Stitchin' Fingers".

Visit stitchin fingers

I took a look, was impressed by the work there, and thought it would be fun for my own work (which I haven't had time to do in months!). So, I joined, loaded my photos and people started commenting. It was nice to receive questions about technique and find that there was some serious interest in the things I've made.

Then, I thought about how much I love ethnic textiles and fiber work and all the social dimensions these pieces evoke for me. Morna from Bittersweet suggested another fiber art site on Ning which was also beautiful, but I decided I would like something that had more of a global focus. I searched around and didn't see anything that really grabbed me.

My muse bonked me on the head and I realized that I could start my own site on Ning that would complement the wonderful direction this blog has taken. The blog is getting good traffic and I am told that people love reading it, but few comments are left and I often feel like I am sending things out to outer space. I stayed up late and did it, finishing by sending off a bunch of invitations to fiber friends. I woke up this morning pleased to find that several had joined. And, so far, these are all wonderful artists with fire in their bellies. I'm ecstatic!

The concept, then, is that Fiber Focus, the blog features fiber-related articles. Fiber Focus on Ning personalizes this theme into a place where members can promote their work and businesses, discuss topics, share what's going on them, suggest books, films, music, and recipes that inspire them, and so on.

Several contributors are writing regularly for Fiber Focus. They come from varied backgrounds and share their insights with us in their own way. Click on their names to see each one's articles all on one page.

Catherine Salter Bayar lives with her husband Abit in Selcuk, near Ephesus, Turkey, where they own a vintage textile shop and a water pipe & wine bar. Catherine is working on a book about Turkish textiles. Her articles for Fiber Focus look at symbolism in design and at the textile trade in Turkey.

Visit them at www.bazaarbayar.com or www.bazaarbayar.etsy.com

Diane Gerlach, AKA the Yin-Yang Knitter, is a long-time friend of mine. She is an avid charity knitter for two organizations that support orphans in Afghanistan and soldiers in that same region. I have also benefited from her knitting and own hats, neck-warmers and fingerless gloves made by her expert hands.

Erin Stoy of La Chapina Huipil Crafts is an American whoʼs lived in Guatemala for over a year, caring for the daughter she and her husband are in the process of adopting. During her time in Guatemala,she has developed a passion for Mayan textiles. She has been selling arts and crafts she makes from used huipiles (traditional, hand-woven Guatemalan blouses) since October 2007. Her blog is http://huipil-crafts.blogspot.com and her Etsy shop is http://lachapina.etsy.com.

California quilter, Donna Hussain, has exhibited in major quilt shows around the country and authored books. Her articles on Fiber Focus explore techniques she has developed that have often been inspired by Islamic designs.

Each of these brings a fresh perspective and unique voice to Fiber Focus. Many others have also contributed articles on their work, on fair trade, on green trends, and on other topics. The common denominators are fiber and an interest in our place in the world. Fiber art and traditions are the spring board that connect us to one another. I would love to grow this platform with more regular contributors and have a dynamic platform where we can really learn from each other.

Explore the blog and the new site on Ning. Like what you see? Come on in! Add your voice and expertise. We would love to meet you!


  1. You are a busy woman. This blog is great and I would imagine the new site to be great too. But you have to take some time off and make some art!


“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth.”

“Whatever you say, say it with conviction.”

(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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