Fiber College, Gee’s Bend and Strung Together
by Terri Malloy
Good Friends, Good Food, Good Music, Good Times!
Summer has come to an end but it didn’t go out quietly. Two weeks and our biggest events of the season were the culmination of an amazing summer at the Shores.
September 9, kicked off the Makers Guild of Maine’s Fiber College. Over 4 days, students immersed themselves in their chosen class, made new friends and enjoyed delicious prepared meals by Chef Patrick and his helpers. Most of the participants and instructors stayed at the campground in our cabins, RV sites or tent camped. This allowed everyone to relax and enjoy the evenings getting to know one another and soak up the beauty and atmosphere that makes Searsport Shores so magical.
Fiber College has been an integral part of Searsport Shores since 2006. It has morphed and evolved along the way but the main mission has remained the same: celebrate the fiber arts in all of its forms. Fibers (loosely translated to anything that can form a thread including wood, wire and melting metal, connect us to the natural world, time-honored skills, the global community, and to each other. It reminds us of all that it means to be human upon this great planet.
The first year of the pandemic we started moving towards immersive, small group workshops. Participants pre-register for one of the offered classes and spend 4 days with their instructor and other students deeply focused in one area of learning.
Each class included 18 hours of instruction and additional time to work on their projects independently. This is one of the many perks of staying onsite. The class areas remained available so students could come and go in between all of the other happenings. There were also bonus classes to learn botanical printing, rope mat weaving, peg weaving. It was pretty impossible to leave here without your brain overflowing with new found knowledge.
As the days went by and I observed and moved throughout the classes and the gardens where the meals were held. I got to meet and talk to everyone and watch their projects go from idea to, in progress, to completion. Everyone seemed relaxed, happy and were enjoying the moments as they unfolded.
On the last day, everyone was encouraged to come down to the shore with their completed or in progress masterpieces for photos. Delicious breakfast smoothies and fresh baked muffins were on hand and the goats even joined in the fun.
On Sunday, we also hosted the first of two Community Days. Visitors could partake in ongoing demos and classes in Natural Dyeing, Botanical Printing, Peg Weaving, Mandala Dot Painting, Rope Mat Making and more. Tango’s food stand was open and had different offerings for each weekend. Live music played on the main stage and there were vendor stands set up by local artisans that offered a variety of handmade items and products for purchase.
All in all it was an amazing event. We have already started planning for 2023. You won’t want to miss it so mark your calendars now for September 7-10, 2023. There will be new, exciting classes and more changes as we learn a little more each year on how to make it better for all involved. Please feel free to leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to start a conversation and hear your ideas. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3!