In 2011, the University Museum, working with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, hoped to create coordinated exhibits that would reach beyond the museum walls and into the community. The partnership focused on an upcoming exhibit of Gees Bend Quilts, identifying community partners in the local quilters guild and Oxford’s curated fiber shop, Knit 1. This coordinated effort launched the Oxford Fiber Arts Festival, showcasing exhibits by local fiber artists, a fiber market, workshops and demonstrations. An immediate success and a welcome addition driving out the winter doldrums with an energetic gathering of fiber fans.
In 2016, Patsy Englehart and Lynn Wells of Knit 1 passed the baton to local fiber artist and regular vendor in the fest, Andi Bedsworth, who is now coordinating the festival through the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. In its eight years the festival strives to bring cutting edge contemporary and traditional fiber arts to the Powerhouse for a multi-day event that includes lectures, demonstrations, classes by experienced teachers and children’s activities. In its mission to educate, inform and inspire fiber enthusiasts, practitioners and visitors, the festival has become a yearly favorite among locals and visitors who come from surrounding states to join in the festivities.
The 8th Annual Oxford Fiber Arts Festival will be held at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center in Oxford, Mississippi, from January 25-28. In conjunction with the festival, weaver, Mary Zicafoose, will be showing at the University of Mississippi Museum, a collection of her finest works. A talk on Wednesday, January 24 at the museum will be followed by her demo/talk at the Powerhouse on Friday, January 26 at 9 a.m. She will be demonstrating the Ikat technique of weaving and will talk about her process. The festival opens officially the night before, Thursday, January 25, with a preview market at 3 p.m. and an opening reception at 5:30 p.m. Over 25 classes are being offered over three days, including courses in weaving, felting, knitting, crochet, quilting, rug hooking, dyeing, tatting and more. The market hours will continue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, January 26 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 27, with children’s activities all day, classes and a limited market vending on from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 28. Admission is $2 a day to get into the festival. Class registration is separate and all course descriptions and hotel information can be found online at: http://OxfordArts.com/events/fiberfest