What is Fiber Art?

What is Fiber Art?

Posted on January 6, 2023

Fiber art is the creation of works of art using a combination of matter made out of natural or synthetic material. Fibers can consist of cotton, linen, yarn, felt, hemp, string, ribbon, wool, silk, acrylic, rayon, and so many more. As with any other art form, the artist's imagination is the only restriction to what can be made.

Forms of fiber art include sewing, quilting, needle point, macrame, weaving, felting, crocheting, knitting, embroidery, rug-making, basket weaving and more. As the years pass, different forms of fiber art have increased and decreased in popular artist interest. Macrame, for example, became very popular during the Victorian era, faded out of focus, then regained popularity in the 1970's when everything from plant holders to tablecloths to wall tapestries could be found made using macrame knots.

Some forms of fiber art grew out of necessity, such as quilt making and sewing. Our since-passed elders had to be creative in putting together bits of material in order to make clothing, blankets and other articles of clothing to keep the body warm. Still other forms developed out of the sheer desire to make beautiful pieces that had a story to tell. Many times, fiber art is made to resemble a photo taken in nature. Other times, the human experience becomes the muse. 

Below, we explore just a few of the types of fiber art known today.

Quilting Fiber Art

Toni Bergeon is an award-winning quilter (also the instructor for our fiber art workshops) who explains what she does as follows, "I consider myself a storyteller. My artwork is inspired by nature and a love of the outdoors and often based upon a photo I have taken.Growing up on a lake in northern Wisconsin triggered a life long passion for the colors and textures found in nature.... My love of traveling and taking photographs is a constant source of ideas for fabric wall art that hopefully reflects an appreciation of our natural world and provides joy to the viewer. There are endless embellishments that add texture and interest; I especially love to use fabric ink pencils and pens, thread painting and beadwork." (image below shows some of Toni's work)


Cross-stitching is a form of sewing where the artist pulls thread through a fabric pulled taut by a hoop, stitched typically using an "x" pattern. The artist holds the loop in one hand, threading different colored thread through the front and back of the fabric over and over again with the other hand to form a design. Beginners are encouraged to use a specially weaved fabric (as shown below) to aide in visualizing the checkerboard pattern to which the artist threads the design on. Many patterns exist and can be easily modified to create your own piece of art. 


Knitting has been used to create clothing since before the first millennium A.D. where examples of knitted socks were found in Egypt. While knitting, the artist constructs a series of loops or stitches, all connected together, to make a piece of art or clothing. Knitting can be done using the fingers or hands or by using knitting needles, depending on the intricacy of the design and pattern. 


Embroidery can be done by hand, similar to how cross-stitching is done, however, much embroidery today is done by machine. Technology today allows the artist to choose color, shape, letters, icons and symbols using a digital program which then sends a signal to the machine to create on fabric without flaw. Hand embroidery is an intricate, fine art that incorporates long and short stitches, decorative stitches and lines connecting one design element to another, as shown below. 

Artists today exclaim that fiber is yet an untapped medium to which beautiful masterpieces can be made of. From a felted mouse statue to a quilted, mountainous, landscape tapestry, fiber art is both fun to make and a pleasure to observe. 

Source: Birch Trail Resort

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