Penny Cunningham, a librarian at Burnham Memorial librarian, has wanted to start a program like Fiber Fest for years. “My dream was to introduce people to fiber crafts and to create a community,” she says.

A young crafter uses multi-colored upcycled t-shirts to braid a rug.

On Saturday, May 18, Burnham Memorial Library showcased homemade crafts from Fiber Fest, their most recent voyage into fiber and textile arts.

The event put a new spin on traditional crafts like weaving, crocheting, and rug hooking, by using non-traditional materials. One workshop on rug braiding, taught by Lisa Liotta, used multi-colored upcycled t-shirts for materials.

“We’re keeping those shirts out of the landfill,” said Cunningham. “It’s a way to make them into something useful.”

Another workshop which taught Sashiko stitching and mending, focused on giving old clothes a new life. Much in the same way, Cunningham sees Fiber Fest as a way to reinvent traditional crafts for a new audience.

Workshops were held in the library’s newly renovated meeting place, which opened April 28 and features paper-mache animals made out of pages from children’s books.

Cunningham herself frequently shops at thrift stores to find art supplies for her own projects. Sustainable crafting, she calls it—“It’s a very Vermont way of doing things.”