By Mary Starr
Sometimes the best ideas are those of the spur-of-the-moment types. It was one of those ideas that laid the groundwork for the Golden Isles Fiberarts Guild 30 years ago.
Three women, Mary Egle, Kim Merck and Jean Sucher, met at a weaving class at the Island Art Center, sponsored by the Coastal Alliance for the Arts. The three women soon realized their common interests in the fiber arts went far beyond weaving.
According to Sucher, the trio decided to see what sort of interest there might be in forming a group dedicated to fiber arts. So, they placed an ad in The Brunswick News announcing a meeting planned for December 1988. That simple announcement resulted in more than 60 people showing up, many with examples of their fiber work.
Subsequently, in January 1989, the Golden Isles Fiberarts Guild was formed, and its first official meeting held.
In addition to the three founding members, four more women, including Mary Adams, Michelle Murnane, Suzanne Pasquarella and Lois Vogelmann, were added and became the first executive board.
Bylaws were written and interest groups were formed, including weaving, basketry, spinning, dyeing, paper making, felting, quilting, surface design and knitting and embroidery. Workshops were planned and held and the group’s first exhibit opened at the Island Art Center in February 1990.
In a biography of the group written by Sucher, it is stated “although the chosen name, Golden Isles Fiberarts Guild, appears to be a misspelling, it was deliberately chosen to reflect the first executive board’s belief that fiber and arts are not separate entities, but are inclusive and belong together.” However, she continued, “Spellcheck will never be convinced of that.”
Sucher continued by explaining that monthly meetings are held the first Monday of each month October through May, except for December. Those meetings now take place at the Holy Nativity Episcopal Church Parish Hall.
The group has grown over the years, and its participation in the community, by donating handmade items to various causes including hospitals, hospice and seafarer’s organizations and hosting demonstrations at historic sites and elementary schools.
Sucher added that present interest groups include beading, embroidery, felting, knitting, quilting, rug hooking, surface design and weaving.
“Members give generously of their time, and welcome newcomers and beginners with free instructions and demonstrations at meetings,” Sucher wrote. “Some interest groups promote individual projects; some take on group projects with a specific goal.”
Monthly meetings, which begin at 3 p.m., feature a fibert art technique skill or demonstration, often hands-on, selected to be of general interest.
“Meetings include individual member’s sharing and display of current work,” Sucher said. “Visitors are always welcome. A monthly newsletter and yearly membership directory keep members up-to-date on various interest group meetings which are held throughout each month as well as guild activities.”
Longtime member Louise Eaton, said the 67-member organization will celebrate its 30th anniversary Feb. 1 at Art Downtown, SoGlo Gallery, 1413 Newcastle St., Brunswick, from 5-8 p.m., during First Friday festivities.
A fashion show, with member-created pieces, will be held from 6:30-7 p.m.
The grand raffle prize is a Indigo/Shibori coverlet made by members of the surface design group of the Golden Isles Fiberarts Guild. Raffle tickets may be purchased at SoGlo Gallery, and The Stitchery on St. Simons Island. The drawing will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 1.