Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Fair Question (pun intended:)

So a coworker saw me sitting in the store one day working furiously to meet a deadline.  I have been a bit out of touch this month because I was writing a state grant for promotional dollars for the 2nd Annual Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair.  The grant really has taken every bit of my "extra" time at work and at home and my Type A personality really doesn't allow me much in the way of room for error or C+ work.  Nope.  Guess I'd rather go for the A+ and put in twice as many hours as I probably needed to...

Fair Planning Committee
Cher Maybee (Barn Anew Bed and Breakfast) and I last Oct. at the fair
Not pictured, Peggy Wells, Brown Sheep Co.

Anyway, my coworker asked me why was I putting myself through the stress of all of this (the fair planning, the grant writing, the meetings, the coordinating, and on  and on...)  She wanted to genuinely understand because this is a voluntary activity and she knows how busy I am already.  We had visited in the past about how I was trying find a balance between all of it and that I was having to choose carefully the parts of this industry that I want to be involved in the most, because I couldn't do them all, nor would I want to try.  She simply didn't see the point of the fiber fair if it was going to be that much work.

I sat back in my chair for a minute and took a very long, deep breath.  It was a fair question.  I wanted to give an honest answer.  It didn't take long before I smiled and said something like "Well, because it makes me feel good to know that I was instrumental in creating something that touches so many people's lives in so many different ways."

She sat down and asked me what I meant..."In what ways does it touch people's lives?"  Well at that point I gave her a rather detailed list of what I thought and felt.  And I'll share all of that with you as we go along this year planning the next fair.

But in the meantime... 

I'd like to hear from you.  Why?  Because I thought it would be helpful, valuable, and inspirational for those that have not been touched by the bug, the knitting or crocheting, weaving, spinning, felting and so on bug, to hear from those that have! 

Have you been to a fiber fair or festival?  Did you get to go to the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair last October at FARM?  What was your experience(s)?  Are you planning on going this year?  What are you most looking forward to?  How does being involved in fiber art touch your life?  Your partner's life?  Your children?  You get the idea...And if you are involved in other art mediums or creative endeavors, please share your thoughts! 

I will be offering a class at Prairie Arts Studio beginning March 20th called Mindful Knitting.  You can read more about it to the right under Current Class Schedule (March/April 2010 PAS Classes).  I want to understand from each of your perspectives how creativity enhances your world.  These are just some of the things we will be exploring in that class.


  1. Donna, this year's fiber arts fair was the first one I'd ever attended. I got there early, which was good because it was busy. I have always loved fabric and textures and color. All my life I could never just look, I have to feel the texture of anything that intriques me. I know it's naughty but I can't help myself.

    I loved the fair! Loved, loved, LOVED it! I called my mother, who used to sew for me and who taught me all about fabrics, and told her that she MUST go. She got there later, when it was so packed, there was hardly room to move.

    It was so interesting to me to see how much the art of fiber is still vital in our modern world. I want so much to learn more about knitting after learning just what was needed once for a role I played onstage as Mrs. Cratchet. At the fair, I sat and knitted for awhile at a booth and dreamed of learning once and for all. It was fun.

    I plan to go to the fiber fair as part of my annual tradition and shop for Christmas presents. It's very important to the community. It was neat how there were people of both genders enjoying the fair. It's not just for women.

    The fair made me feel proud of Gering. My heart was bursting with pride. I'm so glad it was held in Gering and the location of the FARM was really special to me...

    Thank you for that Miss Perfectionist work you're doing to ensure that it continues. I am a similar personality and understand that well. Good for you!

  2. Lisa,

    Thank you so much for your heartfelt comments! I am so glad that you were inspired by the fair! All the things you have said here are the exact reasons why I love this work!! Your enthusiasm is contagious! Thank you again for sharing and let me know when you want to learn knitting "for real" ;)! I would be happy to help!

  3. Donna,
    That is a fair question. :) This was my first fair ever, and I was thrilled to see you there. :) You did such awesome work. I completely know the feeling and the busy-ness after our whirlwind year building our park...

    For your question. I was impacted by the fair in two ways: as a homeschool mom, the information my kids got about fiber, it's origins (factory tour), history (sheep wagon), and uses... well it was amazing! They are still talking about it. Emma is my texture lover and she shelled out the last $5 of her birthday money to buy a wool Christmas ornament, which is now well felted from so much touching and loving.

    Second, I've had a long standing love of making things. I've known how to crochet, althought poorly, but have been mildly interested in knitting too. After the fair I just HAD to try it, and asked for knitting needles for Christmas. Now I can hardly put them down! ;)

    What you do matters... not just for the individual, but for our community: commerce-wise, tourism-wise, and for getting us on the map as the great place it is to live!

    Not to mention the artists who had a great place to display their work in this unique medium...

  4. Thanks Laura! It was great to see you and the kids there that day! And what you said about your knitting is exactly what I was talking about-you hadn't thought much about it until you were at the fair and felt inspired. The single best moment of any day for me is when that creative spark is ignited in someone! I love being present for that and it never gets old. :)Thanks for taking the time to share!

  5. Hi Donna! Just wanted you to know that I followed up and found you in cyberspace. It was nice to meet you today at Brown Sheep, and I hope to see you at the fair in September! :)

  6. Hi Marie!

    I was just getting on Ravelry to find you this morning. We are hard at work planning the next fair and I look forward to seeing you there! I enjoyed meeting you and your family yesterday! Bring them along when you come to the fair! Your momma is your biggest fan it seems. ;) She was delightful. Happy knitting!