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REMEMBERING MARY ALLEN CHAISSON

It is with deep sorrow that we report dear friend Mary Allen Chaisson passed near Easter of this year. Mary was a creative artist—an art quilter creating her own fabrics and unique designs to make colorful, powerful statements. Her quilts were included in our very first exhibition in Spring 2003. She also had work included in our 2011 show “Pioneers: Quilt Art,” along with work by Elizabeth Busch, Susan Carlson and Stephanie Green Levy.

With the help of her husband Joe, we will hold an exhibit of Mary’s work once again in our gallery this Summer or Fall. Details are being worked out. Mary’s family kindly made Maine Fiberarts one of two beneficiary nonprofits, and we are receiving emails and donations in support of this exhibit. Her bouquets of fresh garden flowers, supportive words, and stunning artwork will be sorely missed.

A GIFT TO CELEBRATE MAINE FIBER ARTISTS

AND IN SPECIAL MEMORY OF KATHARINE COBEY

Great fiber friend Mary Lou Steptoe has made a $10,000 pledge to Maine Fiberarts to support and to present our members’ work after the challenging hiatus of more than a year. Writes Mary Lou, "This is a pledge to Maine Fiberarts in gratitude for all the Maine fiber artists whose work enriches our lives and in memory of beloved artist Katharine Cobey."

This is a matching pledge. Any amount you donate—counting new memberships, renewals or any general donation will be matched by this pledge. We are asking for your donation to help us make the most of this incredible offer.
With funding, we plan to exhibit Katharine's wonderful knitted garments and coats, to create a reference library of books that the public may peruse within our space, and to create an online commemorative gallery documenting her work and story. The online gallery can serve as a model for other members' work we intend to highlight through online galleries.
Christine has been photographing a few of Katharine’s knitted garments since January and has been shelving (and reading!) her books about design, world cultures, geometry, sequential knitting, clothing, myths and more. Please join Mary Lou in helping us continue to bring Maine artists’ work to the fore. We have already received one very generous donation towards this pledge. Donate online (see links in next section), or mail your check to Maine Fiberarts, 13 Main Street, Topsham, ME 04086. Thank you!

JUNE IS MEMBERSHIP MONTH

Your membership is vital! We’ve had a quiet year, unable to be open for visitors, with few sales of artwork and no unexpected friends or travelers popping in to become members. Now, the coffers are low! We have grants in the pipeline and Mary Lou’s fantastic offer, but wonder how we will get through the coming year. If you’ve received emails and have refrained from membership, please join now. Already a member? Thank you for your support and please renew. Our year runs from June to June, so now is the time. Your gifts make our work possible and our match, assured. Find info here. Or pay directly here.
DONATE OR PAY MEMBERSHIP HERE

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO

  • In March 2020, our board voted to close the building due to the pandemic. We canceled planned exhibitions with Studio Art Quilt Associates, Northeast Feltmakers Guild, and Rug Hooking Week’s national conference in Ohio. Carol created an online gallery to showcase the felted work, with help from Kris Sandoy.
  • We continued to work behind the scenes from the gallery (Christine) and from home (Carol).
  • We revamped our Online Art Shop and encouraged members to add new work. We continue to make occasional sales online. Beautiful work there; please take a look and shop.
  • We applied for and successfully received two PPP loans to pay salaries and rent and received a small grant from Maine Arts Commission to “re-envision” the organization.
  • We applied to the National Endowment for the Arts for 2022 funding to create “The Story of Fiber Art in Maine During the Past Half Century as Told by the Artists through Interviews, Retrospective Photo Galleries, and Historical Archives.” We plan on interviewing Nan Ross, Elizabeth Busch, Maine Spinners Registry's leaders, George Christopher and many others. We’ll know in December if we succeed in getting funded and will ask for your suggestions of others to interview.
  • We traveled throughout Franklin and Somerset counties looking for fiber destinations and added four stories to our Fiber Folio website.
  • We reworked our Fiber Folio’s navigation and Home Page:  www.mainefiberfolio.com. We added a new section on “tutorials,” which we plan to fill with posts about fiber how-to techniques and things we live with. Tutorials so far include posts about blocking lace and planting garlic. Please be in touch if you have a technique to share.
  • We completed the design, printing and launch of our “Learning Fiber Art: A Guide to Maine Teaching Resources”  with help from your donations (thank you!). Copies are available for purchase on our online Art Shop.
  • We borrowed studio lights, reflectors, diffusers and umbrellas and worked with skilled photographer Ella Hudson to advance our knowledge of photographing artists’ work with outstanding results.
  • We created and delivered a slide presentation about Maine’s fiber community to members of Surface Design Association’s Maine Chapter.
  • We wrote applications for funding from two different sources to create a collection of travel postcards about key artists and locations in Western Maine. We’ll know in June and August whether we have the go-ahead to do this project. [Update: We learned yesterday that we will not receive funding from the Maine Office of Tourism to print travel postcards.]
  • We photographed and posted two new stories on our Fiber Folio about traveling to Belfast, and visiting the studio of Barbara Burns (the three images just below—Heavenly Yarns, Burns' Studio, and a B&B).
  • We will be opening the Topsham gallery once again in mid July.

TWO OFFERS 

We have been updating our online Tour Map and Resource Guide and would really love to hear whether you wish to be added, removed, or updated, so take a moment to look at your listing at the link above. If you have changes, email Carol. If you would like to be listed for the first time, fill out this online form. (When you get to the field called "Title" this is your business name, not a title you call yourself.)

Also, to make room for books, we are cleaning out magazines and have issues to give away of: American Craft, Textile Forum, Fiberarts, Weaver’s, and Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot. Interested? Call/email Christine.
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