A three-day juried exhibition of fabric arts held in the library of Elphinstone Secondary School was a highlight of the Gibsons Landing Fibre Arts Festival last weekend.
Wearable art is the realm of Ursula Bentz of Gibsons. She took first prize in this category for Canadian Landscape, a rustic felted outfit, appropriate for the well-dressed pioneer, with fur wrap and boots to match. I also loved her Winter Traum, an ice blue silk, rayon and tinsel creation with silver boots, inspired by the Olympics. I wasn't alone in my admiration of her work. The People's Choice winner, an award voted on by visitors to the exhibition, went to Bentz's Canadian Landscape.
Local weaver Barby Paulus took the judge's Best in Show Award for her Fiesta Siesta, a wrap in bright shades of orange, in hand and millspun wool and woven in twill. Second prize for the weaving and spinning category went to Muriel Prior of Sechelt for her pinwheel shoulder bag.
Janet Tufnall is an accomplished fabric artist who has taught at the festival and has been a long-time volunteer. This year she won first prize in the Art Quilt category for On and Off the Grid, a textured fabric piece incorporating a colourful turquoise river.
Vessels was the title of a new category in the exhibition judging this year. Gloria Michael of Halfmoon Bay took first prize for her stunning Turtle Bowl with malachite inlay and carved lid.
There were only a few woodworking pieces on show, but they were spectacular. Will Cummer took first place for his Dragon Lady sculpted coffee table, created in his original design. He commented that he was grateful for the award and also for the contribution of Matthew Cummer working on the table top and Laurie Gray on the table's base. Second prize in woodworking went to Sunny Perera of Sechelt for a most interesting historical model of a funeral boat of Pharaoh Khufu such as might have been found in 2600 BC.
Second prize in the knitting category went to Sara Jane Apple of Roberts Creek who recorded that she had knitted her Rebirth Shawl as her dad lay dying and the bright colours brought her joy.
Felting also brought a smile to viewers who observed a sense of humour in the work of Heike Fink of Saskatchewan. Her felted fruit bowl, Fructiferous, looked good enough to eat and she took third prize in the felting category for her wool figure, Chloe, Woman in Orange.
Workshop instructors had a chance to show their work. Among the most striking was quilt-making instructor Gail Hunt's wall hanging entitled Skedans: a First Nations Mortuary Pole.
Vivian Chamberlin of Hopkin's Landing, now 87, was a guest exhibitor. She showed her crocheted bedspread started long ago and finished, as she wrote in her notes, with cramping hands. Swan Song was a glorious display of work from this established visual artist.
Festival chair Janet Genders said this year's festival went very well. Directors gathered some mild interest for the future at a planning event held on Friday, and they are working on sustaining the festival.