By Diane Beier and Annette Devitt
WOODSTOWN — The Third Star Fibre Guild is celebrating its 40th year in a big way this year.
The kick-off was a month-long exhibit in August of artistic handcrafted creations at Gallery 50, Inc. in Bridgeton, NJ. Items on display ranged from woven shawls and scarves to knitted and crocheted items, as well as one-of-a-kind Halloween costumes and handmade dolls.
The sale of hand knitted and crocheted hats was for the benefit of the nonprofit Guild organization to support their celebration later in October.
The Guild celebration continued in August at the Salem County Fair, where record amounts of handspun fibre were entered in hopes of being the first member honored on a plaque commemorating one of the guild’s founding members, Gertrude Shockley, who passed away this Spring. The award of wooden knitting needles was presented by Gert’s family to Erin Peek Lewis, a newer member of the Guild.
Other guild members from all over southern New Jersey took turns demonstrating spinning raw fiber, knitting and crocheting to educate and entertain each passersby.
The Guild’s celebration finale will take place the weekend of Oct. 22-23 with a Workshop Weekend at the Ware Agriculture Building , 51 Cheney Road, Woodstown. There will be a weaving class taught by artist Karen Donde, who is a juried member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and a 2013 graduate of Haywood Community College’s Professional Crafts-Fiber program.
An experienced and award-winning writer with a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Donde now writes for and about weavers. She is a contributor to Handwoven magazine and its Weaving Today email newsletter, and serves on the magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board. Running simultaneously with that is a fun twist on Spinning wool, taught by Beth Smith.
She is the previous owner of the world famous online shop, The Spinning Loft, renowned for its selection of raw wool, including rare breeds of sheep, available by the ounce (or more) for studying, sampling or just stashing. Almost everything she knows is in her book, The Spinner’s Book of Fleece: A Breed-by-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose, published by Storey Books.
Besides the classes, there will also be an anniversary celebration including a dinner, an opportunity to make a marbleized silk scarf, and exhibit of guild members’ creations.
If you are interested in attending you will need to join the guild and be able to bring your own loom or spinning wheel. For class fees and other information, contact Annette Devitt at 856-299-0236.
The Third Star Fibre Artists Guild meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of the month from September to May at the Ware Agriculture Building. Anyone interested in fiber arts is invited to join the guild.
Guild membership dues are $10 annually. You can find this group on Facebook.