Made in Canada: Sustainable Fibre Arts Conference 2024

Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador

Made in Canada: Sustainable Fibre Arts Conference 2024

September 19 – 23, 2024
Gros Morne, Newfoundland, Canada

The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador through the provincial Year of the Arts initiative has the pleasure to announce the Made in Canada: Sustainable Fibre Arts Conference 2024. The Conference is taking place from September 19 – 23, 2024, in Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Sustainability has been a central conversation in the arts and cultural community in the past decade, and as such a diversity of makers and craft artists are turning their attention to sustainable practices at a local, national and international level. Last held in 2015, our Fibre Conference brought presenters, participants and visitors from all across the globe together to discuss the exciting developments in the fibre arts; in 2024 we are celebrating the “Made in Canada” fibre artists of the province and the country adding a valuable contribution to the Year of the Arts. Artists from other Canadian provinces and territories of diverse cultural backgrounds will present a series of workshops, panel discussions, exhibitions and the sustainable foraging of fibres on the West Coast of Newfoundland.

As we move forward in the craft world we have started to have a deep understanding of sustainability within the materials used, the making processes and the need to balance our current needs with the needs of the future craft artists generation. Through applied skills and material-based knowledge, a vast amount of makers are tuning into their processes to reconnect with the land surrounding them and how their materials are cultivated and harvested. The fibre artists specifically have been learning to create with found materials in nature, to cultivate their own fibres respecting the balance of their land and harvesting only the necessary for their creation, therefore sustainability becomes a social, cultural, economic and environmental endeavour in which fibre artists are deeply rooted in. This event is bound to inspire you to develop your own fibre art while leaving you in love with Newfoundland and Labrador!

Image Credit: Christel Lanthier

Workshops at the Conference

Bite-Sized Tanning
September 20
9am – 12pm
50+ Club, Norris Point, NL

Natural hide tanning is a traditional method of transforming raw animal hides into a durable and usable textile (leather). The process utilizes many age-old techniques, practiced by various cultures for centuries, to result in leather that is pliable, resistant to decay, and suitable for crafting a variety of goods. In this workshop, we will explore a few main natural tanning methods as well as touch on why some chemical tanning methods are not sustainable for our environment. In this hands-on workshop, participants will walk away with a basic understanding of the will needed to tan various types of animal hides and have small bite size pieces of each to explore and take home.

Foraged Plant Fibre Weaving
September 20
1 – 4 pm
Lions Club, Norris Point, NL

In this workshop, instructor Ralph Simpson will teach about the plant materials that will be used as well as others that could be used and will welcome a discussion and questions about plant fibre and weaving.

Simpson will show three traditional weaving techniques, randing, twining, and cording. Each participant will be given materials to create a plant fibre trivet, coaster or bracelet. These basic weaving techniques are sufficient to allow the completion of the project in the time permitted. The techniques are transferable and will provide the participants with the skills necessary to create other objects in the future, such as a basket or place mat as well as how to identify plants suitable for weaving.

Fibre Sculpture: Upcycled Textile Forms
September 21
9am – 12pm
Lions Club, Norris Point, NL

In this engaging hands-on workshop, participants will immerse themselves into the art of fibre sculpture, creating their own hand-held exploratory pieces using upcycled fabrics, natural fibres, yarn, and twine. Our goal is to ignite creativity, nurture resourcefulness, and foster a deep appreciation for sustainable art through the exploration of traditional textile techniques such as coiling, looping, and netting.

This workshop serves as a starting point for participants to explore their creative potential through hands-on techniques while connecting with sustainable art practices. The emphasis extends beyond skill-building, focusing on personal expression and creativity.

About the Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador

The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador is a member-based organization that works to maximize the artistic and economic potential of the craft community of the province. Formed in 1972 as the Newfoundland & Labrador Craft Development Association, the Craft Council takes its role as a development association as the crucial focus of its operations. The Council supports and promotes a high standard of excellence in craft production and service to members and the general public. As part of our member-driven mandate, we operate a craft shop, gallery, and clay studio.

Craft Council of NL
155 Water Street
St. John’s, NL A1B 3H7
1 (709) 753-2749

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The staff in both The Shop & Pantry and The Gallery are pleased to help you if you need assistance. The Gallery has developed the Whisperer program for visually impaired and blind persons, please let us know if you would like us to accompany you and give you the full experience of the space; we will gladly give you a private tour of the exhibitions!

For patrons on the Autism Spectrum, we are happy to book a “quiet time” before our gallery opens to the public so you can fully enjoy the experience. Please contact us and let us know your needs and we will do our best to accommodate them.

Image Descriptions:
1. A bundle of moss in hues of blue, green, and brown
2. Someone’s hand touching an animal pelt.
3. An image of a person rolling a bundle of flowers in fabric.