Handweavers Guild of Boulder’s annual fiber show delivers rare work from over 100 creatives

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Since 1971, Handweavers Guild of Boulder (HGB) has been providing an expansive show featuring one-of-a-kind artwork from area creatives. After last year’s pandemic-related hiatus, HGB’s Fiber Art Show & Sale returned to Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont on Wednesday.

“Light into Wave Into flower” (wool, silk, firestar) by HGB member Gina Wimberly-Gard. (Gina Wimberly-Gard)

The textural work of over 100 HGB members brings warmth to interiors and extra dazzle to ensembles. From eye-catching scarves and sweaters to intricate sculptural abstracts, the array of pieces on display goes way beyond traditional knits and crochets.

“The Fiber Art Show & Sale creates a curated cooperative marketplace for member artists to display their collective works,” said Tsy Schupack, a HGB member and the show’s publicity coordinator. “Whether a member is a professional working artist or creates items for the simple love of their craft, every artist is creatively and thoughtfully displayed.”

A yarn display at HGB’s Fiber Art Show and Sale in 2019 at Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont. (HGB/Courtesy photo)

Attendees can get a jump on holiday shopping and peruse the latest creations from esteemed creators all weekend, as the show is open 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. through Saturday and 10-3 p.m. Sunday.

“The Fiber Art Show & Sale is much more than a shopping experience, it provides an educational outreach opportunity with the community,” Schupack said. “The Boulder County Fairgrounds is transformed into a fiber extravaganza with free admission, live demonstrations and an exhibition of work that educates and inspires the public with the breadth of fiber arts that are happening in Boulder County.”

HGB members are demoing a variety of techniques including carding, spinning, felting and weaving, allowing folks an inside glimpse into the workings of time-honored practices.

Stretching far beyond fiber, the event also showcases basketry, homemade paper and bead weaving, among other art forms.

Angella Dirks spins roving into yarn at the HGB’s Fiber Art Show & Sale in 2019. (HGB/Courtesy photo)

“This is the 15th year I’ve participated in the HGB Fiber Art Show & Sale and it’s so good to be back,” said Amy Mundinger, this year’s president of HGB. “The Handweavers Guild is celebrating 50 years since the very first sale and the reputation of unique, artisan-made fiber art is really unsurpassed on the Front Range — so our customers are amazing, coming back year after year.”

Rather than separated by individual artists, wares are divided by designated departments allowing shoppers to explore holiday items, handwoven garments and more.

“I love connecting with customers and this is what the HGB Fiber Art Show & Sale does, because it’s unlike other shows — we’re a Guild and this Show & Sale is a cooperative event,” Mundinger said.

Mundinger also keeps connected with fans through her Instagram page, PineTreeFiberArts, where she shares everything from mini quilts to wool felt needle books.

Embroidered wool felt needle books by Amy Mundinger. (Amy Mundinger/Courtesy photo)

“I’ve been doing some form of fiber art since I was very young — stitching, crocheting, quilting,” Mundinger said. “These are passions that allow me to express myself through color, form, design and wonderful materials — for me natural fibers, 100% wool and cotton.”

From spotted mushrooms to a menagerie of wildlife, nature often acts as a muse in her whimsical work.

“I am always inspired by the landscape of the West and particularly the flora and fauna of Colorado,” Mundinger said. “This past year, we had late spring snow and a mild summer and the mushrooms were growing everywhere at high elevation. Other themes I love to work with are buffalo, deer, bears, owls, fox and then sheep, of course, because they provide the wool.”

For Mundinger, like many HGB artists, the real satisfaction comes from knowing her art will enrich the lives of patrons.

“I like to think that my fiber art brings joy to customers — something handmade with heart from Boulder,” Mundinger said.

A mini quilt by HGB member Amy Mundinger. (Amy Mundinger/Courtesy photo)

The show, much like the HGB, is rooted in community and aims to help out fellow artisans.

“I love the HGB,” said member Gina Wimberly-Gard. “So much of the members’ work is of such skill and creativity and so inspiring. There is so much to learn. They offer many classes for folks to improve on and learn new yarn-focused skills. I have taken online classes run by accomplished members of the Guild and they have all been really great learning experiences.”

Gina’s piece “Staunton” is a vibrant work inspired by a jaunt she took through Staunton State Park in Conifer where she viewed a “moody and colorful grove of Aspens.”

“I would say all my art is inspired by nature and in some part song, poems or rhyme,” Wimberly-Gard said. “I guess I like to think that when a person looks at the finished piece, they might be reminded of forest tales, Red Riding Hood or being watched by creatures unlike ourselves. But also to have a sense of the season, the leaves not really connected to the trees but being blown along by the wind. I like the tree stems most and the movement in the leaves and sky.”

“Staunton” by HGB member Gina Wimberly-Gard. (Gina Wimberly-Gard/Courtesy photo)

Buying from local skilled makers means getting a product that will likely stand the test of time.

“Supporters of the Fiber Art Show & Sale understand the value and benefits of buying handcrafted items directly from the producing artists and the organizations that continue the century-old fiber traditions and development of related skills,” Schupack said. “They are friends of the Show & Sale — passing down garments and holiday ornaments to the next generation — allowing a single purchase decision to become a treasured heirloom.”

The long-running event also featured a juried show where members enter their finest work from the past year. Elizabeth Berger won for her piece “Forest Bathing,” a work inspired by a fall hike she embarked on in Telluride.

Voting for a people’s choice award is open now.

“For 50 years, the Fiber Art Show & Sale has been an anticipated annual event in the Boulder region and HGB is very pleased to be able to be a part of everyone’s return to planned holiday activities that have been absent the past year,” Schupack said. “Fiber on.”