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Fiberworks - A Celebration of South African
Fiber and Textile Artists

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Ethos & History

Fibreworks is comprised of a group of about 40 members, most of whom live in South Africa. Fibreworks was launched in 1997. Whilst some members came from quilting backgrounds, and others were trained in graphic design or fine art, the original group was united in its commitment to promote fibre and textile art as a serious art form. We were all interested in creating a group that was dedicated to promoting change within the existing art and craft platforms and we were keen to generate interaction, present new challenges, and foster critical and creative input from our members.

At this first meeting, it was decided that we would exhibit biennially, in South Africa, at a national members' exhibition. These exhibitions have showcased members' work in some of the most prestigious art museums and galleries all over South Africa.

In addition to national shows, there have been a number of Major Minors exhibitions. These artworks, all 25 x 25cm and sometimes accompanied by a small sleek, colour catalogue, have travelled with high acclaim to various venues in Europe, Australia, and the U.S.A. Like perfume, many of these small works capture the essence of Fibreworks.

There is a quarterly newsletter that includes the minutes of the meetings and other important information such as exhibition dates and venues, significant achievements of members, as well as illuminating articles submitted by members themselves.

A number of our members are internationally renowned teachers and fibre/textile artists and our works appear in public and private collections both in South Africa and abroad.

What actually constitutes 'fibre' art??


Fibre art can conceptually address all matters fibre....

Fibre art is an art form that encompasses a very large range of techniques, materials and approaches that give the fibre artist possibilities to explore and expand the art form in almost unlimited ways.

Fibre refers to materials that are made up of generally continuous filaments or elongated pieces similar to lengths of thread. These include:

  • Natural fibres which may be either vegetable or animal. Examples are - Cotton, hemp, jute, flax, sisal, linen, paper, textile, pulp paper, leaf and seed fibre, spider silk, sinew, cat-gut, wool, hair, cashmere, mohair and angora.

  • Mineral and metallic fiberssuch as fibre drawn from ductile metals like copper, gold, silver and steel

  • Synthetic fibres such as nylon, acrylic, Tyvek etc.
Special emphasis is placed on the endless, exciting fibre possibilities and combinations which may be used in the creation of basketry, beading, braiding, crochet, embroidery, felting and felt making, fibre knots, knitting, Kumihimo, lace-making, needlework, paper making, papier maché, patchwork, quilting, spinning, weaving and knotting.

Materials can be torn, dyed, burnt, frayed, glued, painted, embroidered, woven, ripped, cut, folded, crumpled, hammered, layered, looped or otherwise manipulated.

Fibreworks encourages artists to investigate all these possibilities whatever they are making, be it garments, wall art, vessels, sculptures, books or something as yet undiscovered.

Art is not just a concrete object. Rather it is the experience of the artist transcending the literal. The foundation of any artwork lies in the knowledge of materials through which the artist finds his or her own voice, giving the work originality and perhaps a quality of mystery.

Fibreworks encourages members to comment and reflect on the old traditional "women's work" nature and purpose of textiles. Members are challenged by way of their own visual art pieces to comment critically on the evolving nature and purpose of these ancient craft practices. Our fibre/textile shows consequently uphold some of the ancient techniques of stitching, embroidery, weaving and the like, but they also demonstrate a modern transformation of many of these traditions. Our exhibitions embrace new technologies and techniques and often challenge existing perspectives on the art/craft debate.

Fibreworks Constitution.

Like all organizations Fibreworks has a constitution and guidelines document. The current version is available here.

Major Minors I Catalogue 2003

Major Minors I Catalogue 2003
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Major Minors II Catalogue 2005

Major Minors II Catalogue 2005
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Major Minors IV Catalogue 2012

Major Minors IV Catalogue 2012
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