Meet The Fibre Week Team
Fibre Week Coordinators
Otto Pahl - Olds College Fibre Week Coordinator
The Olds College Centennial presentation of Fibre Week will mark Otto’s 12th year as its coordinator… and sadly or happily (depending on your viewpoint) it will be his last. Although he is proud of the growth and popularity of the event, he recognizes that it is in large part due to the support and help of a huge volunteer effort by enthusiastic fibre artists. He is convinced it is this enthusiasm that will ensure the continuation of this “must-go-to” fibre arts festival in the future.
So what’s next for him? Mostly more of the things that have always made life worthwhile… interacting with his four grandchildren as well as other family members and friends, and pursuing a variety of hobbies for which there never seems to be enough time. Want to know more? Check out his three books at the merchant mall this year, and if you enjoy his writing, visit his blog at http://all-that-to-say.com.
Michelle Boyd - Fibre Arts Program Coodinator
Michelle Boyd is a Master Spinner and fibre artist living and working in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Trained as a graphic artist, she began working as a custom handknitter while at home with her small children. As her children grew, so did her passion for fibre and textiles, leading her to explore spinning, dyeing, felting and weaving. She now combines all of these techniques in her work, which has been exhibited in the VAAA Gallery in Edmonton and at the Gibson’s Landing Fibre Arts Festival. Michelle has also taught spinning and knitting workshops at a number of regional conferences and festivals and is currently designing a series of knitting patterns for handspun yarns. You can follow her fibre adventures on her blog www.whorlspins.blogspot.com
Leanne Sept - Alpaca Fleece Show Coordinator
Leanne grew up on a mixed farm just outside of Mayerthorpe, AB, after only a few years of living in the city she knew it was time to get back to the country.
In 1998, Leanne & her husband Kevin bought an acreage. Leanne began researching alpacas and it wasn’t long before they purchased their first animals and Sunnyhill Alpacas was born, www.twofarms-onevision.com. After a move to a larger farm just south of Rollyview, AB, Leanne & Kevin along with family members decided to take their business one step further, they purchased a mini mill to do custom fibre processing and in July of 2002 Twisted Sisters & Company Fibre Mill opened it’s doors for business. Sunnyhill Alpacas continued to add to their herd and Leanne realized that they needed an outlet to sell their own alpaca yarn and finished products; in 2004 Twisted Sisters Store opened its doors, www.twistedsistersmill.com. Leanne is an alpaca addict and is dedicated to the industry and volunteers wherever she is needed!
Crystal Gilbertson - Cashmere Show Coordinator
Crystal always intended to live out in the country. So for those who know her, it wasn't a big surprise when she started her ranch, Heaven's Mix Ranch shortly after completing a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Alberta, Augustana Faculty. A fibre quest sparked by the cute English Angora rabbits she started raising during university led to the discover that cashmere comes from goats. Goats provided her a hardy, versatile livestock and well, they just match Crystal's personality all too well. Fibre arts take up her time when she's not working with her animals or with at-risk youth in the Grande Prairie, AB area.Crystal has been with the Canadian Cashmere Producer's Association board since 2008 and is the current president.
Rosemary Harris/Lisa Bednarik- Llama Show Coordinator
After far too many years as a research technologist Rosemary opted for early retirement and time for the important things in life. A knitter since a young age, in the 1990s she became captivated by llamas and their fibre, which led to getting a Master Spinner certificate and learning all she can about Camelid fibres. Rosemary now teaches in the Master Spinner program and is currently working on revising the student manuals. And she still has time to enjoy her llamas and their fibres.
Laura Lee Henderson - Mohair Show Coordinator
Linda Toews - Wool Show Coordinator
Donna Faulkes- Merchant Mall Coordinator/Silent Auction Coordinator
Andrea Wilson - Fashion Show Coordinator
Judi Dixon – Volunteer Coordinator
Ever since learning to spin with a “door knob” spindle several years ago, Judi has been hooked on fibre. She has participated in a wide variety of fibre venues both as an organizer and as a volunteer. Always on the lookout for a new fibre adventure, Judi enjoys exploring the back roads of Alberta, photographing old barns, buying fleece, and looking for cheap eats. An online journal of her adventures can be found at www.sheepless.ca .
Janine Bajus has been obsessed with color knitting since before she learned to knit! She has been blogging her colorwork adventures for 7 years at www.feralknitter.typepad.com; her Fair Isle designs have been published by Interweave Press, Schoolhouse Press, and Simply Shetland; and she loves teaching others how to design their own Fair Isle garments.
P.S. The Bajus family emigrated to Canada in 1848, so Janine’s very happy to be part of Fibre Week even though she lives in Berkeley, California!
A long time spinner, knitter and weaver, Deborah combines her knowledge of fibre arts with yoga and meditation practice. Deborah has her Master Knitter Certificate from The Knitting Guild of America and was the Resident Fibre Artist at the Neil Balkwill Arts Centre in Regina for over 20 years. She has been published in SpinOff magazine, Fibre Focus,The Canadian Tapestry Network Newsletter and other publications. Deborah currently teaches fibre arts and studies yoga therapy. Follow her blog at wwwheartlikeawheel.blogspot.com.
My interests include weaving, spinning, dyeing, quilting and embroidery and most recently knitting – manipulating cloth to make a statement. My work is mainly concerned with surface; colour and texture. I received diplomas from both Cariboo College, Kamloops in Visual Arts, and from the Alberta College of Art & Design in Calgary.
Being passionate about promoting the craft of weaving, I have served on the boards of the Hand weavers, Spinners and Dyers of Alberta, Alberta Craft Council, and the Association of Northwest Weavers. Most recently I have been actively involved in integrating the HWSDA Weaving Certificate material into the design of the Master Weaver Program for Olds College.
Music has been a part of her life from a very young age. The first band that she was part of was back in 1978. This was the year that she appeared on stage for a local television station telethon sharing the stage with names like R. Harlan Smith, Chris Nielson and Bobby Curtola. She later appeared on the same bill as Terri Clark at the Daines Rodeo picnic. She recorded on vinyl, yes I said vinyl, back in the mid ‘80’s and is currently working on a brand new album. Since then, it has been weddings, country bands, church and just about any other kind of gathering where an invitation has been extended. Deborah Dee is always happy to share her music with everyone.
Her love of the country lifestyle shines through in her “Grampa’s Song”, who was a huge influence while Deborah was growing up, teaching her to ride and learn about country livin’.
Leslie was introduced to the Fiber Arts as a small child when her grandmother taught her to knit and crochet. She grew up in the Four Corners area of New Mexico on the edge of the Navajo reservation, but really did not pursue the Fiber Arts for many years. She went to college and Medical School, and became a physician. She worked in Primary Care until her 3rd child was born, and then “retired” and became an “intensive pediatrician” at home raising her five children.
She subsequently moved to Minot, North Dakota with her family and was introduced to spinning at the Norsk Hostfest. It was then that her interest in the Fiber Arts really began to blossom. After her children started leaving the house, Leslie took a spinning class in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then entered the Master Spinning course at Olds College and earned her Master Spinning certificate this year.
Leslie loves spinning, knitting, crocheting, quilting, and weaving. She has been a quilter for 25 years, and has been a member of quilter’s guilds wherever she has lived. She has won numerous awards for her work. She loves to teach and has been doing so for most of her life. She is very organized and focused. She loves a challenge and pays great attention to detail.
Jill is an accomplished spinner whose love of the art has created a passion to learn and perfect her techniques.She has taught workshops in the US and exhibited her work at conferences winning awards for lace spinning and knitting. She has an article in SpinOff, reprinted in a recent e-Book All About Cotton.
Alison Irwin’s favourite four-letter word is PLAY. She uses it plus the six-letter word, PICK-UP, while sharing her favourite weaving techniques with students. Alison lives on Vancouver Island; weavers beyond BC’s borders will be familiar with her work because she has had several projects published in Handwoven magazine.
Noor learned to weave at the age of sixteen. As a handweaver, she is interested exploring the balance between colour and structure. She is fascinated by the history of material culture. Noor completed a Bachelor’s in History and German Literature at the University of Alberta. She enjoys working with children and has taught fibre arts to elementary students. She is a doula in the Edmonton area, does typesetting and formatting for print, and volunteers in elementary classrooms. She cherishes canoeing and cross-country skiing, baking bread, and a good cup of tea. Noor has been working through the Master Weaver program at Olds College since 2009.
Judith has been weaving for over 25 years and is a self confessed “workshop junkie”. She especially enjoys exploring different weave structures, but now finds herself intrigued with surface design techniques. Teaching has been a part of her life for many years, and she is pleased to be involved with the Master Weaver Program at Olds College.
Tracey Kuffner is a graduate of Olds College. She currently lives in Brooks, Alberta with her husband, two children, 150 sheep and a handful of llamas. Tracey has been a felt maker for 17 years and has taught at Olds College for the past 7 years during fibre week as well as the International Fibre Festival in Abbotsford B.C. and the Alberta Spinners, Weavers and Dyers Conference. She has designed clothing most of her felting years. Seven years ago Tracey wrote and illustrated her first children’s book featuring hand felted wool illustrations. She now has three children’s books and has toured over 200 schools conducting curriculum based felt making workshops to children across Western Canada as well as teachers through the many conferences she presents at.
I have been spinning since 1984 however in 2008 a whole new world of spinning opened up to me. In 2008, I took the Master Spinning course at Olds College which has enriched my spinning. This year I hope to become a Master Spinner after I finish the in depth study.
Andrea is an instructional designer in the Learning Enhancement Services department at Olds College.She received her B.Ed. from the University of Regina, and recently completed her M.Ed. through the University of Calgary, with a specialization in Workplace and Adult Learning.Her involvement with Fibre Week 2012 includes leading a two-day instructor skill workshop, where those interested in improving their teaching skills are given the opportunity to practice lesson planning and delivery in a safe and non-threatening environment.Throughout the year, Andrea is also involved with the editing and design of the modules used in the Master Spinner and Weaver courses.Although she really has no background in the fibre arts, Andrea has learned a great deal about spinning and weaving after editing the modules and working with the very passionate and dedicated writers! Andrea and her husband and their two young children reside in Olds.
Ric has been involved in fiber arts for 35+ years. He’s a spinner, weaver, felter , natural dyer, gourd and Colcha artist and former shepherd. He started making pine needle baskets in 2001 at his local Spinners Retreat and he knew that this was something that he really loved to do.
First a professional teacher and then a spinner, Joan Ruane has been teaching spinning classes throughout the U.S., Canada and New Zealand since 1980. Active in local and regional Guilds, she has also owned and operated fiber shops in both Florida and Arizona. Joan has published cotton newsletters, written articles for fiber magazines and has published two DVD: Cotton Spinning Made Easy and Cotton Spinning With A Takli. Also she created “Easy to Spin” cotton designed specifically for handspinning.
Presently Joan is living near Bisbee, Arizona in McNeal, where she raises a small crop of colored and white cotton to use for her own spinning projects. She has a web site that offers tips on spinning and working with cotton: www.cottonspinning.com. Joan is responsible for the development of the Bisbee Fiber Arts Guild that has an active fiber studio located in Old Bisbee.
Donna enjoyed textile arts growing up in Central Alberta. She attended 4-H clothing club, high school Home Ec. classes and Vermillion Agricultural College majoring in Home Economics. In 1980 she received her first Ashford spinning wheel as a gift and began taking lessons in earnest in 1991 when she retired from her insurance business. She began taking the Master Spinner Certificate program in October 2007 in Bigger, Saskatchewan in a one room school house heated with a propane torch.
As a member of Twisted Sisters Spinning and Weaving guild for over 20 years she has enjoyed many retreats near and far with friends and outstanding local and international instructors.
Donna has recently retired from her small farm and moved to a small town in Central Alberta where she misses all things secluded, quiet and peaceful. This lifestyle change has given her the opportunity to develop intriguing fiber arts projects and instruct and travel when required.
Donna is a certified fiber sorter/grader and a seasoned wool and mohair judge, working in these capacities across North America for numerous years. She is also an accredited fine arts & crafts judge for Alberta Agricultural Fair Societies which provides opportunities to visit many fairs and shows in towns and cities across Alberta.
Jane Staffordspent 7 years at The Banff School of Fine Arts studying textiles. In 1988 she moved to Salt Spring Island and opened her own business, Jane Stafford Textiles.
For many years Jane was a production weaver creating lines of Mohair Blankets, Silk Damask Scarves and a line of chenille products.
Jane's main focus for the last 8 years has been sharing her knowledge with other weavers teaching and lecturing throughout North America. Her love of colour and her energetic enthusiasm shine through in all her classes and demonstrations. Jane is also a consultant to Louet North America and with them, co-designed the Jane Table Loom.JST also markets a large inventory of quality yarns, looms and accessories for weavers and spinners.www.janestaffordtextiles.com
Sam has been knitting and designing since she was 8 years old. As a lifelong knitter and fibre artist, her passion has been to create and share functional well fitting knit wear, most recently with her own line of hand dyed yarns. Her passion for teaching is evident and well received by her students.
Sharon expanded a life-long enthusiasm for working with textiles when she learned to spin and weave in 1979. Her passion for textile crafts lead to participation in numerous craft markets, workshops, awards in fairs and art shows and commissioned works for collections around the world. She has taught numerous workshops in sewing, spinning, weaving, dying, felting, bobbin lace and quilting for various guilds, interest groups and community colleges throughout the province. Her enthusiasm and hard-gained knowledge of creating unique textiles finally lead her into opening her own business, Homespun Haven, which she operates from her home in Armstrong, B.C. This 600 sq. ft. shop is filled to the brim with yarns, fibres, tools, notions and Sharon’s favorite – textile books! Find her website at www.homespunhaven.com
Linda Wilson was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. After taking some courses in fashion design and merchandising, she worked in the textile dye lab of Ciba-Geigy for almost 10 years.
In 1978 she moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta and quickly became involved in the craft community serving on the executive of Tarsand Weavers, The Fort McMurray Arts and Crafts Guild and eventually as the president of the Handweavers Spinners and Dyers of Alberta. During this time, Conroy Software was formed to market weaving software and handwoven goods. She began teaching weaving in 1980. Linda also took weaving courses at Olds College and when she moved to Ottawa for 2 years took private lessons with Judith Rygiel (Master Weaver – Canadian Weavers Guild) and participated in many workshops and seminars offered by the guilds in Ottawa. In 1986 she received a scholarship from the Handweavers Spinners and Dyers of Alberta to attend Convergence 86 in Toronto. She has completed the Basic portion of the Canadian Weavers Guild tests and is working on the next level.
When the Amiga computers were no longer being manufactured, Linda obtained a diploma in Merchandising and Display and finally an Education degree with a Human Ecology major (new term for Home Economics). Presently she teaches full time in a business program at a local college in Edmonton. When time allows, she teaches weaving related courses for Edmonton Weavers Guild and throughout Alberta and British Columbia. She has also offered two courses online for a British Guild. For more info please check out www.sargasso.ca