Meet the Women Behind the Fiber Arts Club

            While exploring and making art on campus, MCLA students who have an interest in fiber arts can find their place in the new Fiber Arts Club. The Executive Board of the club, who are working to get official club status, are a group of five ladies in their freshman year at MCLA. Despite the hard work that comes with transitioning to college from high school, these ladies got involved on campus right away to create something new MCLA can benefit from. They have become student leaders, taking steps to grow and using their skills to benefit others. The Fiber Arts Club is focused on bringing in any person and any kind of fiber arts project to create a space where artists can teach and learn from each other. The club will connect to the community by teaching people to knit, crochet or otherwise despite previous experience, and in the future create and donate projects like blankets and clothing to those who need it. Look for more information about upcoming club meetings and their club status in the spring 2016 semester.

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Name: Breanna Castor

Club Position: President

Year: 2019

Major: Arts management major with a minor in history

Relationship Status: single

Hobbies: “Yarn, all the yarn.”

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Name: Caroline Leaver

Club Position: Vice President

Year: 2019

Major: Arts management major with a minor in anthropology

Relationship Status: Single

Hobbies: Art, swimming, sailing, fencing

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Name: Susannah Frey

Club Position: Secretary

Year: 2019

Major: Double major in arts management and history

Relationship Status: Single

Hobbies: Knitting, reading, writing, TV watching

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Name: Lara Dudley

Club Position: Treasurer

Year: 2019

Major: Arts management major with a minor in history

Relationship Status: Single

Hobbies: Crochet, drawing, and reading and writing web comics

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Name: Erin Carney

Club Position: Cofounder 

Year: 2019

Major: Undeclared

Relationship Status: Single

Hobbies: Reading and gymnastics

Questions:

  How did you all meet?

Caroline: “Breanna lives down the hall from me and one day I asked her to teach me how to knit. It was a horrible scarf.”

Susannah: “The arts management class taught by Professor Diane Scott.”

Lara: “We’re all actually in the same arts management class, and our teacher is always like, bring your knitting and crochet along, so all 4 of us brought our fiber arts to class and we talked…When I came [to MCLA] I knew that if I couldn’t find a fiber arts club, I wanted to help create one.”

Erin: “Breanna lives across the hall and I saw her knitting one day, and I said hey I used to knit, so I started knitting again. Then I was introduced to Lara and Susanna.”

  What is fiber arts?

Caroline: “Fiber arts is basically anything you can do with fiber materials, with yarn and thread…we are trying to include a range of things like needlepoint, crochet, and things like that.”

Lara: “Fiber arts is any form of skill based craft that involves fibers, so knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning, stuff like that.”

What is Fiber Arts Club?

Caroline: “We all sit around and knit, sew, and crochet and help each other with patterns and teach each other new stitches.”

Lara: “We want it to be a space where people can grow and expand their skills in the fiber arts sphere…we also have a portion focused on community service like making and donating blankets and things.”

(Work by Susannah)

Why did you decide to start the Fiber Arts Club?

Breanna: “We really wanted to make a club on campus that gave back to its community. If we could develop the skill of anyone on campus, we could create things to give back to our Berkshire community.”

Caroline: “It was a fun thing we all liked doing, so why not share this awesome thing that we find awesome with other people?”

Lara: “I’ve always felt a little isolated as a fiber artist because it’s not an easy thing to find someone under 60 who likes fiber arts. We wanted to find and connect with other fiber artists to grow and learn new skills.”

Why does MCLA need a Fiber Arts Club?

Breanna: “I guess because MCLA is already a place full of art, that fiber arts is one last thing it’s missing.”

Lara: “There are people who do fiber arts… but we all do our own craft. MCLA needs this club because we can be better fiber artists if we work together and learn from each other.”

Erin: “I do see people knitting around campus, and I think it would be cool to teach each other too…it would be cool to see what other people know.”

What is your favorite part about Fiber Arts Club?

Breanna: “I love how when we get together we are all doing some kind of different project, and most of us have no idea what the project should look like…but we help each other make it and that bonding is awesome.”

Susannah: “The people… it’s a real open environment where people ask questions and have fun.”

Lara: “Working with and helping people to trouble shoot projects and getting people to help me trouble shoot my projects.”Erin: “Sitting around with people and being able to talk, and hang out for a couple of hours and forget about the other stuff.”

How has getting involved on campus and creating a club affected you as a person and a student?

Breanna: “From a leadership point of view, it’s given me more experience with what creating a club is, and it’s harder than you would assume… it’s a tedious process but it’s a real rewarding one.”

Caroline: “It’s given me more responsibility than I’m used to, it’s given me a purpose to do things.”

Susannah: “I’ve met more people and made more friends.”

Lara: “I think helping to create a club helped me hit the ground running. It helped me make friends too because I’m working on creating a club with these people and reaching out to other fiber artists, and there’s a lot more than we expected, which is good.”

(Caroline and Erin working together)

What advice would you give yourself in September as an entering freshman, after what you have learned this semester?

Breanna: “It’s cliché, but there’s a lot of opportunities on campus and if you throw yourself out there, you’d be surprised at how many things you can take up your time with…but of course you always have to leave room for yarn.”

Susannah: “To bring my knitting to class earlier.”

What has been your favorite part of getting involved on campus?

Breanna: “Aside from fiber arts, I really enjoy being involved with the BT advisory board, and seeing progress we’ve made and seeing people come down [to meetings].”

Lara: “Meeting new people and developing new skills.”

Erin: “Meeting people. I am not that outgoing, so meeting people has been a big thing.”

What has been your favorite experience with Fiber Arts Club so far?Caroline: “Breanna teaching me how to knit and crochet at one in the morning, it’s very amusing, even if it doesn’t sound like it.”

Lara: “I enjoy the interest meetings that we’ve had, because we’re not technically established yet, but we’ve gotten to sit around and talk and crochet and knit…It was nice to crochet to someone other than Netflix.”

Erin: “Learning how to knit and crochet.”

What is something you want MCLA to know about Fiber Arts Club?

Breanna: “We’re not just about being a crafting community, we want to develop skills that are set and can be developed off of, but we also want to push giving back and be a charitable organization.”

Caroline: “We exist! We exist and we’re out there, and looking for members.”

Susannah: “That it’s really for anyone who has any interest. If you are a beginner we will teach you, and if you want to learn more we have advanced people willing to show you, or if you just want a place to come and hang and do crafty things.”

Lara: “I want MCLA to know that we’re dedicated to developing a skill set and we’re also dedicated to helping community. Fiber arts aren’t just crafts…it can be a hobby, but there is a skill and dedication required for it.”

Erin: “Know that we exist.”

What is some advice you would give those just starting out with knitting, crochet and other fiber arts?

Breanna: “You have to get past the first row. After that, it gets a lot easier. Also, don’t feel afraid to start big, because starting big can bring you to really interesting places.”

Caroline: “I don’t because I just learned two months ago.”

Susannah: “Don’t get discouraged. You will make mistakes, you will have to tear out your work, it’s just how you learn.”

Lara: “Patience, and don’t be afraid to rip out a whole bunch of stitches if you’re not happy with it. You have to have the freedom to make mistakes and try again.”

Erin: “Don’t give up even though it seems frustrating….I have learned to knit three times now and only now at the third time has it finally stuck.”

Fiber Arts Club meets Sundays at 3 in the Taconic Room