Fiber Arts Club Crafts a Space for Connection and Creativity

Every other Friday, psychology sophomore and Cal Poly Fiber Arts Club president Gretta Anderson leads a group of aspiring, experienced and first-time artists looking to explore the whimsical world of fiber arts. 

Original Story by Lulu David via KCPR Radio

Fiber arts is a term that slipped into popularity after World War II to describe works of art created for both artistic value and craftsmanship. The term underwent an etymological boom in the 1960s and ’70s when groups like the 62 Group of Textile Artists, a British Arts Collective, infused fiber media in a fine arts context. This rise coincided parallel to the women’s movement creating a perfect environment for creatives, especially creative women, to express themselves in ways previously deemed as worthless. This tradition continues here at Cal Poly.

Anderson described the practice as a multi-disciplinary definition for art fabricated from materials traditionally used in clothing construction and noted how fiber art serves a greater purpose than just creating a functional object or simply working on a project.

“It just kind of means destressing and relaxing. It kind of gave me a sense of purpose during quarantine when everything was just sad and I felt pretty isolated. It gave me a creative outlet to kind of channel my anxiety through. It’s been fun to create little things and see them and get to wear them,” Anderson said.

Graphic design professor Charmaine Martinez has served as the faculty advisor for the club since its inception in 2022. 

“I think it’s an amazing club. I said, ‘Oh, well I crochet and so I would love it,’” Martinez said.

Biological sciences sophomore Audrey Beaver found crocheting as a means to practice kindness and creativity. 

“I like expressing myself through making things. If I can make something myself, then it just makes me so much happier. I would always see people making, like, little things online and I was like, ‘Well, I’m just gonna do that,’” Beaver said. 

Beaver said she used Youtube videos and a lot of trial and error when first learning to crochet, and she has since used her skills to create bespoke and personal gifts for her loved ones. 

Agricultural communications freshman Emily Gillham also found joy in creating trinkets for her loved ones after being introduced to fiber arts by her grandmother. 

“I guess I use it as a form of doing stuff while also being able to not do it. I also like it because it reminds me of my grandma. And now I made her a blanket for the first time for Christmas,” Gillham said. 

Business administration sophomore Kari Hall turns to knitting when she feels overwhelmed.

“You’re so focused on school and to have an hour that’s dedicated to a hobby, like knitting and crocheting, is a way of taking care of your stress. And you have a product at the end to show for it,” Hall said.

More information about the Fiber Arts Club’s meetings and events can be found on Instagram @calpolyfiberarts.

Read the original story via KCPR here

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