Fibers Through Time 2000

In Pursuit of Excellence

On a warm April day in 1997, nearly 150 weavers and spinners from nine different guilds gathered at Beardsley Park in Sun City West for a one-day fiber arts celebration. The celebration, complete with numerous demonstrations — including discharge dyeing, bobbin lace, tapestry, double weave, etc. and a spin-in — was held to coincide with the annual spring business meeting.

During the course of the meeting, a motion was passed to hold a workshop conference. The suggestion for the conference had come from two long-time members of the Federation – former president Cynthia Broughton of Telarana Weavers and Spinners Guild and soon-to-be-president Shelby Adams of Green Valley Guild. How rewarding it was that three years later Shelby Adams should be the Federation President and Cynthia Broughton should manage the Workshops at this conference which they had requested.

Sharie Monsam, Telarana Guild, suggested the nearly new Central Arizona College at Coolidge as a site. Vice President (and Conference Chairman) Larry Coveney, Weavers West Guild, invented the wheel. Larry and the members of his committee stood, shaking their heads in dismay, as Dean McLaughlin and Tom Belden, Arts Department Chairman, showed them holes in the ground, promising that buildings and classrooms would be ready within the year.

A all-Arizona instructor staff was chosen. Prize ribbons were handwoven. The theme Fibers Through Time – In Pursuit of Excellence was chosen. Patricia Springer of Weavers West Guild developed the infinity symbol with fibers running through it. The colors of black, lavender, and maroon were chosen.

Cynthia Broughton wove 24-harness tray mats and Lois Mueller wove summer-winter keychain inserts in a cactus pattern as hospitality gifts for each of the nearly 130 registrants. Joann Willis and Joan Dye of Grand Weavers and Spinners created nametags. Members of the Weavers West Guild wove rosepath lunch bags filled with artificial flowers to be used as centerpieces. Members of Artistic Weavers and Sun City Handweavers wove neck scarves and put out publicity.

Reasons for having a website became apparent as Webmaster Ed Koharik began to upload workshop descriptions and instructor bio material, plus downloadable forms for registration and participation in the hung shows. The word soon went out nationally: check out the Arizona Federation website for an upcoming workshop conference.

Committee members also included Lynn Silberschlag, Linda Finkelstein, Marjorie Hobkirk-Frerichs, Sylvia Fitzgerald, Jo McCaulley, Jean Doig, Georgene McKenzie, Michelle Sbraga, Terry Neal, Ed Koharik, Gary Terlisner, Trish Boone, and Phyl Cipolla.

Hanging the show was a challenge. Building M, which now houses student services was referred to as the “Clocktower Buiding.” Larry Coveney created two dozen manequins, and the college Arts Department scrambled to find and install sundry hooks. The entire college staff took delight in their first-ever Arts Show and a number of faculty came to view it.

Carol Shinn served as jurist for the show of members’ work. A gallery show of work by the workshop leaders and committee members was hung nearby. Dr. Barney Burns of Tucson presented the keynote speech “Native Weavings of Northwest Mexico” at the banquet.

President Shelby later wrote for the Woven Word newsletter, “Three years ago when I first conceived of a high quality/low fee conference, in which more of our people could afford to participate, it was just a goal. Now, thanks to the hard work and efforts of the conference committee, that idea has come to fruition in a most splendid way, exceeding my expectations. You know you did something right when people left the conference saying, “When are you going to do this again?”


Fibers Through Time 2002

In Pursuit of Excellence

By March, 2002, Chairman Larry Coveney, Weavers West Guild, was now president in his own right. It was decided that – having invented the wheel — he should continue to help drive the car as well. The buildings promised for Fibers Through Time-2000 had arrived just in the nick of time for that conference, but now there were more new rooms to choose from and a larger campus as well.

Instead of a car, Central Arizona College Security handed Larry the keys to the college golf cart, and gave him free rein to the campus. Larry and his Vice President (and Chairman) Lynn Silberschlag, Tucson Handweavers and Spinners Guild, set about matching classes to appropriate rooms.

Cynthia Broughton, Telarana Weavers and Spinners Guild, coordinated education. Twenty two workshops were offered and fourteen were presented. As noted previously, the need for a website was ever more present. The instructional staff was international. Therefore some of the names and respective bodies of work were not as familiar to the registrants as at the prior conference. Webmaster Ed Koharik included instructors’ website links, as well as pictures of each instructor’s work, whenever such pictures were supplied.

Patricia Springer, Brenda Archambault, Rebecca Fabos, Shirley Jarvey, Jean George, Anita Bellinger, Jean Doig, Gary Terlisner, and Phyl Cipolla also served on the committee.

“Fiesta!” was the theme selected. Brilliant colors of greens, turquoise, hot pink, yellow, orange and coral were used. Rebecca Fabos and other members of the Tucson Handweavers and Spinners Guild wove individual neck purses, in a perfect size for keys or credit cards. Gary Terlisner and members of Weftover Fiber Art Guild created colorful drop spindles which were placed in a centerpiece filled with Mexican crepe flowers.

Weaver Diane Mortensen, of Salt Spring Island, B.C., presented the keynote address “Weaving a Life.” Patty Haberman of Mesa, AZ, served as juror for the juried exhibit. A non-juried gallery was featured as well.

In addition to Best of Show, first, second, and third prizes, plus the Jean Gardner Memorial Awards for Excellence in Spinning and Excellence in Weaving, a new prize category was offered. Tucson Handweavers and Spinners Guild introduced and presented the first $100 award for Viewers Choice. The Handweavers Guild of America award was also presented.

Commercial vendors from five states were appointed space by Jean Doig. All expressed a positive experience with the conference, and indicated their desire to come back another time.

Anita Bellinger organized tableloads of raffle items. Anita later wrote, “The donations are wonderful and the outpouring of generosity of our members has been overwhelming!” And, just as at the prior conference, the response to the raffle was enthusiastic and made it all worthwhile.


Fibers Through Time 2004

In Pursuit of Excellence

Fibers Through Time 2004 represented the third conference in six years. President Lynn Silberschlag and Vice President (and Conference Chairman) Rebecca Fabos, both of Tucson Handweavers and Spinners Guild, no longer had to invent the wheel.

Because he knew his way around, Becky handed the golf car keys to Past President Larry Coveney, telling him, “Site is yours.” Meanwhile, Becky coordinated Workshops in addition to chairing the conference. An international instructor staff was assembled and fifteen workshops were presented.

Once again, the campus at Central Arizona College at Coolidge had expanded. Each succeeding conference was being offered more rooms with new facilities. Matching classes needing a water source, i.e., batik, dyeing, basketry, and gourds, with classrooms calling for numerous outlets, i.e., sewing, computer design, etc. became a serious study. Somewhere in the middle were standard classrooms whose tables could be rearranged to accommodate weaving and spinning.

A Southwestern-colored palette was chosen for this conference. Past President Shelby Adams, Green Valley Guild, donated a tapestry featuring a Joshua tree silhouetted in an Arizona sunset. The tapestry was woven by Shelby, using yarns handspun and dyed by his late wife, Zoe Adams. A picture of the tapestry was then silk-screened onto canvas aprons and one was given to each registrant.

Lynn Silberschlag coordinated the seven different meals offered across three days, including the Saturday night banquet. Helen Harrison and members of the Telarana Weavers and Spinners Guild, dressed each table with a centerpiece of cotton blossoms in a hand-dyed, surface design scarf. Past and present Presidents were honored with a special ceremony. The national Complex Weavers Guild added its own award to those being presented.

Curt Dornberg, Tucson guild, coordinated the Juror’s Choice show. Lin Fife, Professor of Fine Art at the University of Colorado, served as juror. Curt also arranged for the speaker. Dr. Laurie Webster, a noted textile consultant and author, presented the keynote address on Southwestern textiles, Southwestern archeology and culture.

Publicity coordinated by Margaret Coe and coupled with website management by Ed Koharik introduced the conference to an ever-growing audience. Registrar Eileen Glennon, Tucson guild, was kept busy serving as Registrar, as attendance grew over prior years. Registrants came from as far away as Virginia and seven other states besides Arizona.

Cheryl Busha of Surprise Grand Weavers and Spinners Guild coordinated the space needs for the 13 commercial vendors. Joan Ruane, Bisbee Fiber Arts Guild, managed the Federation Raffle – another tremendous success, just as in prior years.

As she welcomed all guests, instructors, and registrants, President Lynn Silberschlag remarked, “Little did we know back in 2000 that our conference would be so widely accepted and attended.”


Fibers Through Time 2006

In Pursuit of Excellence

“Freedom!” was the theme of our 4th conference and our website www.azfed.org echoed this theme with Old Glory and music.

President Esther Federman, Weavers West Guild, followed suit of prior presidents by turning the golf car keys over to Past President Larry Coveney. Larry chaired the conference while co-managing Site with Past President Lynn Silberschlag. Central Arizona College, while still growing, had filled out in administrative scope, so room assignment was straightforward and the wheel ran smoothly.

Anita Bellinger, Arizona Desert Weavers and Spinners Guild, smoothly handed registration as 14 workshops – each coordinated by Esther – were offered to almost 180 registrants. Bee Lancaster, Pinaleno Fiber Arts Guild, brought in 12 commercial vendors, 2 of whom said they found our conference information through our publicity and website.

Lura Moore, Tucson Handweavers and Spinners Guild hung the Juror’s Choice Show. Georgeanne Fimbres, on the faculty of Pima Community College in Tucson, served as juror. In addition to that show, an additional exhibit was introduced: the Collingwood 2005 Follow-up Exhibit. Throughout the previous March, 2005, rugweaver/instructor Jason Collingwood had conducted eight classes in six cities across Arizona. All participants in those Collingwood classes were invited to bring work for an non-juried exhibit. Said work could be the class sample or new work utilizing techniques learned during his classes.

Hospitality chair Phyl Cipolla was joined by members of Weavers West Guild, Surprise Grand Weavers and Spinners Guild, Artistic Weavers Guild, and Arizona Desert Weavers and Spinners Guild in weaving more than 225 dishtowels and placemats – one for each instructor, registrant, and guest attending the banquet. A sea of red, white, and blue greeted everyone on banquet night. The centerpiece featured a red lace placemat woven by Georgene McKenzie, Artistic Weavers, topped with a coneholder made by Harold Federman, a Pendleton Mills bobbin, an American flag, and individual dishtowels and placemats for everyone.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Ann Hedlund, noted curator, author and founder of the Gloria F. Ross Center for Tapestry Studies at the University of Arizona.

A new dimension was added. Three scholarships to the conference were presented to the Central Arizona College. These were to be awarded to students in the Arts Department as determined by the chairman of the Arts Department.

A very successful raffle was coordinated by Webmaster Ed Koharik and Treasurer Gary Terlisner, both of Weftover Fiber Art Guild. Other members serving on the conference committee were Jan Crane, Weavers West Guild, and Charlotte Webber, Telarana Handweavers and Spinners Guild.

President Esther Federman summed it up in her welcoming address, “How very exciting to see such growth of just such a simple idea…a germ of an idea. Each conference has grown in every possible way. The Arizona Federation of Weavers and Spinners Guilds provides scholarships and grants, as well as speakers and workshops. All Arizona guilds welcome visitors and new members. We invite you to contact them.”