If you enjoy fiber arts and locally made crafts, plan to visit the Longbranch Improvement Club on the Key Peninsula on Oct. 6. This The unique, historic clubhouse located about 30 miles south of Gig Harbor will once again host the annual Fiber Arts Show. The popular event is part of the annual Key Peninsula Farm Tour, the oldest farm tour in Pierce County.
In its 11th year, Fiber Arts — Threads Through Time will feature more than two dozen artists who will demonstrate, exhibit and sell their work. The full gamut of fibers, utilizing traditional techniques and modern adaptations, will be on display during the one-day show. In addition, both the farm tour and Fiber Arts will have fun activities for the whole family.
Inside the unique clubhouse, vendor displays will include quilts, hats, bags, handwoven baskets, buttons, clothing, jewelry, rugs, wall hangings, table decorations, hand-tooled leather craft, embroidery, wearable art from silk, alpaca fur and wood, Hardanger or whitework embroidery and more. Demonstrator displays will include weaving, spinning and cross-stitch. Pierce County Library will provide duct tape for use in making wallets (always a hit!).
Outside on the LIC grounds, antique tractors will be display as a nod to the Key Peninsula Farm Tour. In addition, local Girl Scout troops will demonstrate how to use yard trimmings to build fencing for compost bins, and the Boy Scouts will demonstrate nautical knot tying. Of special interest: Yard art, furniture and wood sculptures will be available for purchase.
This year’s featured artist, Carolyn Wiley, is well known on the Key Peninsula for her volunteering, charity work and her column (Devil’s Head Diary). Her columns and latest news about the Key Peninsula Farm Tour and “Fiber Arts: Threads through Time” can be found at keypennews.com.
Wiley worked as a painter/printmaker through the ’60s and ’70s. Her art has been exhibited in a number of competitive shows in Houston, Texas, and in the Puget Sound area. She likes the challenge of designing with purpose, and her designs have been used for multiple “community quilts” that have been donated to various nonprofit organizations serving Key Peninsula residents.
She spent several years as an art teacher for all ages and all ability levels: preschool to senior citizens, gifted school age and developmentally delayed teens and adults. Wiley initiated the latter program in cooperation with the Kent Parks Department. The program was funded by United Way and served teens and adults living in group homes in South King County.
In the mid ’80s, Wiley began making beaded jewelry, primarily necklaces and earrings. Natural stones are her favored material. She considered marketing under the name Naturally Stoned, but rejected the idea for fear of attracting the wrong clientele.
Wiley completed her first quilt in 2002. In 2006, she met Nancy Chong and became enamored with hand applique. This is still her favorite technique. Her quilt designs are usually inspired by a specific fabric, color or theme and the designs are guided by a desire to use what is at hand.
One quilt, initially intended as a quilt back using up leftover fabric, turned out so well that she actually did leave home and bought backing for two quilts. The “main” quilt was given to her brother and the “backing” ended up as a blue-ribbon winner at the Washington State Fair.
Wiley’s quilts and jewelry will be on display, along with other items made by the participating artists.
Admission to the event is free. Lunch will be available for purchase.
Money raised through booth and food sales will support the LIC, whose mission statement for almost 100 years has been “to encourage any activity for the betterment of schools, homemaking, roads, marketing, dairy, poultry and all its branches.” This all-volunteer organization maintains the clubhouse, originally a school gymnasium, which is now on the National Historic Register.
The LIC hosts numerous events throughout the year to benefit the community, including “Kids & Christmas” and “Trunk or Treat,” along with fundraising events that enable camp and college scholarship programs
Additional support for the fiber arts show comes from Angel Guild, Bruce Titus Automotive Group, Friends of Pierce County Library and the KP Farm Council.