Janie Pritchard’s love of sewing began when she was a young girl in 4-H grades.
“I think I’m 12,” Pritchard recalled with a laugh.
Since then, she has been keen to explore any field related to fibers. From quilting to knitting, Pritchard has done a little bit of everything. It became a relaxing hobby as she grew into adulthood and embarked on a busy career as a real estate agent in San Cristobal, Florida.
But when she moved to the Golden Isles to retire, Pritchard wanted to connect with others who shared her creative passion.
“I moved here in 2013 and went to the then quilt shop (Connie Vagtborg’s quilt shop) and told them I wanted to make friends. He said, “Oh, you should join the Fiber Arts Guild.” So that’s what I did, “he said.
In the guild, he found many others who enjoyed various types of crafts. They were able to exchange ideas and learn from each other, which Pritchard has always appreciated.
“This is really what I like. You are always learning something and are able to find inspiration. I mean, I’ve been working for 40 years and I’m always learning something, ”he said.
Like Pritchard, Jean Sucher also retreated to the area. This gave her time to do something she always wanted to do: learn to weave. In fact, it was this research that led her to co-found the guild more than 30 years ago.
“One of the things on my wish list after retiring and moving to St. Simons Island in 1984 was learning to weave,” Sucher said. “An initial weaving course at the Coastal Alliance for the Arts led to two weavers meeting and we decided to find others interested in the fiber arts to form a group. Thus was born the Fiberarts Guild of the Golden Isles.
Sucher has been involved with the Fiberarts Guild in various capacities as president, group leader, exhibition chairman, program presenter, as well as a member of numerous subgroups.
“Having the opportunity to meet, interact and become friends with so many talented fiber enthusiasts over the years has been a joy,” he said.
Audrey Stewart agrees. Another longtime member of the guild, Stewart met two of his best friends through the group.
Today he focuses mainly on smaller, hand-sewn projects, but he can’t wait to see the work of the other guild members, especially the quilts.
“I’ve never made a quilt, but I can appreciate the beautiful work others show with color, stitching, fabric and pattern. During the monthly guild meetings, in the Show and Share segments, there is always a nice quilt, “he said.
“I’ve never made jewelry with intertwined beads, but others show exceptional skills developed over the years in the guild. Monthly small group meetings allow you to learn some special skills or ask questions and solve problems. Over the years, I’ve been in and out of the garment, knitwear and embroidery construction group. Currently, there are nine active interest groups within the guild. “
In February, the public will be able to take a look at the wide variety of methods used by the group. The Golden Isles Fiberarts Guild will host an opening reception for its Biennial of Fiber Arts Show and Sale at 5pm on February 4th at the SoGlo Gallery, 1413 Newcastle St., Brunswick. There will be a fashion show at 6:30 pm where the models will wear the clothes made by the members.
Pritchard, Sucher and Stewart will all have featured pieces, with Pritchard creating the quilt up for grabs.
“The cost of the tickets will go back to the guild to cover the costs of running the parade,” he said. “I also have a denim jacket, some needlepoint stitches, a carpet hook and two quilts in the show.”
On Sucher’s side, she will be sharing some of her bead patterns.
“This year I show a set of original designed bracelets and earrings and an example of contemporary geometric beads, a 3D Batcycle,” he said. “This is a spinning toy constructed from beaded triangles. The Batcycle was built over several months; the jewels took about 10 hours.
Stewart is getting into a framed embroidery piece that started over a year ago as a Crazy Quilt challenge.
“The challenge was to learn new points. Everything in the piece came from my stash of threads and fabrics collected over the years, ”he said.
Overall, the group is thrilled to show the breadth of their interests and capabilities. And Pritchard hopes it can even inspire others to try their hand at the fiber arts.
“I think people should come and see all the talent there is here in Glynn County. There is a lot of work to be done in these pieces. And you never know, someone might find something they would like to try. They might find it relaxing. It is especially good for retirees. Everyone needs a project or a hobby. I know I solve a lot of the world’s problems when I’m working on projects, ”he said with a chuckle.