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Oxford’s Fiber Arts Festival enters its 10th year

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council hosts several events each year that have become hits in the Oxford community, but one of their more unique events is turning 10 in 2020.

The 10th Annual Oxford Fiber Arts Festival will be held at the Powerhouse from Jan. 23 to 26. Festival coordinator Andi Bedsworth said she understands what sets her event apart from other festivals throughout the year.

“I think what’s made it so successful is because nothing else is happening like it in Oxford, for sure,” Bedsworth said. “There’s also nothing going on in January. So, it’s kind of this ray of fun in the middle of January.”

Beginning in 2011, the University of Mississippi Museum, working with YAC, hoped to create coordinated exhibits that would reach beyond the museum walls and into the community. The partnership focused on an upcoming exhibit of Gees Bend Quilts, identifying community partners in the local quilters’ guild and Oxford’s curated fiber shop, Knit1.

Those efforts launched what would become the Oxford Fiber Arts Festival, showcasing exhibits by local fiber artists, a fiber market, workshops and demonstrations.

The festival is nearly a one-of-a-kind attraction in Mississippi, though Vicksburg has brought back their fiber arts festival over the past couple years after it had gone dormant for a period of time.

“It’s really neat. It kind of opens up eyes,” Bedsworth said of the festival. “It’s an educational tool, too. It kind of shows that people still spin and people weave and people sew. People do all this kind of old school kind of craft. It’s really hard to believe they do it.”

Kicking off the landmark 2020 edition of the festival are a couple of events taking place ahead of the official opening night on Jan. 23.

During the Oxford Art Crawl on Jan. 21, people can see the exhibition “Spinning a Tale: The Story of Oxford Fiber Fest 2019” featuring photos by Renee Wofford of Studio 1825. Along with the festival, quilt expert and appraiser Mary Kerr will give a lecture titled “What Makes a Quilt a Southern Quilt?” at the University Museum on Jan. 22 at 6 p.m.

A preview market at 3 p.m. and an opening reception at 5:30 p.m. will formally kick start the festival on Jan. 23.

Vendors for this year’s festival have been booked full for a while, according to Bedsworth. Spots are still available for the more than 20 classes that will be offered during the festival, including courses in weaving, felting, knitting, crochet, quilting, rug hooking, dyeing, tatting and more.

For more information regarding the festival as well as the full schedule of events visit oxfordarts.com/events/fiberfest or call Bedsworth at 662-380-1940.