Midwest Fiber Arts Trails Program
Linen towel woven by Carrie Jessen.
About Fiber Arts Trails
Midwest Fiber Arts Trails seeks to build a network of community-based art trails to fulfill its mission to honor the Midwest’s rich textile heritage and celebrate and promote the work of contemporary fiber artists.
Each Fiber Arts Trail has its own personality shaped by the people and the places where they live. When fiber enthusiasts come to your Trail, they’ll see an exclusive community of high caliber fiber artists and makers, studios, yarn and quilt shops, historic places, scenic drives, art centers, galleries, museums, farms, ranches and in some places—woolen mills.
Once a year, Trail members host a Trail Tour Weekend when they throw open the doors, offer workshops, exhibits, maker activities, lectures and studio tours. It’s an exciting weekend for everyone; an opportunity to experience each Trail’s rich textile heritage and celebrate the work of the local, contemporary fiber artists.
Tourism stats show us that travelers love cultural and heritage excursions. They spend more money, stay longer and look for experiences not just transactions. Each Midwest Fiber Arts Trail is a cultural tourism destination. The Midwest Fiber Arts Trails audience is made of fiber enthusiasts whose market growth and commitment to fiber arts education and shopping are well known. The goal of each Fiber Arts Trail is to create a following, a place fiber travelers will want to visit because they know the fiber arts community is fabulous.
Be sure to call ahead as most artist studios are not open to the public on a daily basis.
Each Fiber Arts Trail is a place to tour and visit.
Who is on a Fiber Arts Trail?
How do we get the word out there?
Who makes an ideal Trail member?
When asked to describe an ideal Trail member, here’s the best recipe. A person, business or organization who is:
- passionate about fiber and textile arts
- shows excellence and originality in their work, business or organization
- passionate about helping their community thrive
- collaborates with others
- participates as a resource.
How will I benefit?
- Create awareness and attract visitors and fiber enthusiasts to your community and your location.
- Have access to proven marketing and promotional materials designed specially for fiber businesses such as quilt and yarn shops, textile museums, fiber artists and fiber producers.
- A cost effective and professional way to promote your art, events, activities and classes.
- Grow your loyal customer base.
- Collaborate with other Trail members and fiber arts businesses in your community.
So, how can I be a part of it all?
- A Fiber Arts Trail Member is a part of the group and actively participates in fiber arts activities such as making, selling, exhibiting, teaching, etc. This includes full time and part time artists, artisans, woolen mills, farms and ranches, fiber arts suppliers and retailers, art centers, museums, galleries and history centers. If you have a question, please ask.
- A Trail Sponsor loves the Trail Members and while is not actively engaged in the making of the stuff, wants to participate so we all can be successful. An example would be a bed & breakfast, gift shop, winery, restaurant and so forth.
- Memberships are an annual flat rate fee. Sponsorship fees are flexible and support marketing efforts.
Let’s take a look at an example of a Fiber Arts Trail.
The Cedarburg Spur Fiber Arts Trail is made from a group of studio artists, businesses, a quilt museum, and a woolen mill tucked into the historic area surrounding Cedarburg, Grafton and Thiensville, Wisconsin. Check out their webpage for all ‘the ins and the outs’. Here are three favorite places to explore:
- Explore the Grafton Arts Mill. This is a renovated flour mill complete with artist studios, boutique, exhibit space a yarn store and great coffee shop.
- Tour the Cedarburg Woolen Mill. It’s a woolen carding mill with machinery that’s been in operation since the Civil War. Art studios and shops are upstairs.
- View the current exhibit or take a workshop at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts. The museum is located at an 1870’s German farmstead complete with huge renovated barn, out buildings and a lovely stone farmhouse with fiber arts studios.
- Click here to see the Cedarburg Spur webpage.