Saturday, March 23: Fiber Arts Bash Kicks Off Library’s 10 Year Celebration

The Chattanooga Public Library (CPL)’s 4th Floor Makerspace turns 10 this year, and CPL is kicking off a year of special events, starting with the Fiber Arts Bash this weekend, Saturday, March 23, from 10 am to 4 pm. 

The Fiber Arts Bash celebrates the makers who work with textiles and fabric, both outside of and within CPL’s 4th Floor Fiber Arts Studio. CPL’s Maker Specialists will be offering workshops and classes during the March 23rd event, alongside the Chattanooga Public Library Foundation, the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts, The Healing Library, and artists including Megan Emery Shadlich, Briah Gober, Megan Gwatney, and Anna Mullaney. UTC’s Art Department is also a big part of the Fiber Arts Bash, as students from the school created the artwork for all of CPL’s “10 Years In the Making” events. 

From 10 am to 4 pm, all ages are invited to drop in to one of CPL’s all day stations, featuring free attire from CPL Works and the Prom Closet, embroidery, and a community quilt. There will also be basic sewing lessons throughout the day, membership signups from the Foundation, an indigo and natural dyes lesson, a mending book discussion, and interactive stations from 11 am to 2 pm offering weaving on a floor loom, Russian punch needling, printmaking, needle felting, hand beading, rug tufting, and more. CPL released a promotional video to showcase some of the fun that will be featured during the Fiber Arts Bash, and it can be viewed on CPL’s social networks, as well as YouTube.

CPL’s Fiber Arts Studio has been an important part of the 4th Floor since the beginning. Featuring a sewing lab with machines that can be checked out, an embroidery machine, a serger, a floor loom, and space for cutting and stitching, the studio is a place for beginners and experts alike. 

“Fiber arts has a long tradition of being experimental while also being very approachable,” says Makerspace Supervisor Crissy Varnell. “Over the years, we have offered a wide variety of workshops – from indigo dying to quilt making – that have attracted some of our biggest and most diverse crowds.”

CPL opened the 4th Floor Makerspace in 2014 to much fanfare and excitement. At the time, it was one of the first spaces within a public library that had been completely dedicated to makerspace technology. Library specialists from all over the country visited Chattanooga to tour the 4th Floor and learn how to create something similar for their communities. 

The 4th Floor’s reputation even made an impression on Will O’Hearn, CPL’s current Executive Director: “This Makerspace was on my radar years before coming to Chattanooga. From the beginning, it was an innovative place that was very forward-thinking and really connected with its community. It was the inspiration for creating many maker spaces, particularly in libraries, and it continues to be an inspiration for anyone looking to support creativity and entrepreneurship in their communities.” 

“10 Years in the Making” will feature four large events, including the Fiber Arts Bash, as well as a variety of special events throughout the year. CPL fans will be excited to hear that other pre-pandemic events are coming back, including the Zine Fest on May 25, and Maker Day, happening August 3.  More information on those events coming soon!

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