Liz Spear Handwoven

email: lizspear@haywood.main.nc.us

Fiber Day Fashion Show

In 1999, a friend named AnneMarie Williams asked me to help her produce an educational Fashion Show, as a part of the Southern Highland Craft Guild's Special Event, Fiber Day, a month later. I agreed, and we all had fun, presenting the work of over 20 Guild Members in Fiber, mixed, in some 30 outfits, modelled by AnneMarie and a couple of other friends and staff from the Folk Art Center. I put together outfits, wrote the commentary, and read said commentary, to the applause of the two dozen or so folks who squeezed into the old Library. Little did we know that a gentle monster was born. Everyone was so glad that someone was willing to carry the ball, so to speak, that I get to produce this event, and play with everyone else's clothes, and make outfits, and squeeze as much educational information into the commentary as I possibly can, to my heart's content: a benevolent dictatorship.

2005 Fashion Show

A few years later, I realized that producing the Fiber Day Fashion Show (which became a stand-alone event, the day after Fiber Day, in 2003) is my volunteer gig for the year to give to my organization, the Southern Highland Craft Guild. I begin by sending out a letter in February or March, to all of the Fiber Members, asking them to participate by making a special piece, or arranging to have a good selection of work in Allanstand, the Guild shop located in the Folk Art Center. Four days before the show, I move a couple of garment racks, and extra hangers and lots of pins and cards and markers over to the Folk Art Center, and I check out the pieces sent in, early. The next two days, I spend pulling and recording outfits, mostly made up of work from Allanstand, and AnneMarie (head model wrangler) comes over to help do the final organization, and assign outfits to the models. THEN, I write the commentary, some 10-12 hours. The last couple of years, Neal Howard has come over to help make up outfits, and model, or help backstage, or whatever needs doing. Her laughter and unerring eye for color have injected new energy into the Fashion Show. In 2005, we presented a retrospective collection of the work of Jimmie Benedict, a Life Member of the Guild, living in Reno, NV, who continued to send pieces for the Fashion Show, often the showstopper of the year. Not only did Jimmie collect a number of garments and accessories, from over 35 years of work, but also wrote notes on each piece, modelled, and had a great time.

Mothers' Day, May 14, 2006: We presented the work of 39 Guild Members to nearly 200 people, including a separate display of fine beadwork jewelry and handwoven and felted scarves.