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Fiberworks - A Celebration of South African
Fiber and Textile Artists

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Ethos & History

Fibreworks comprises a group of about 50 members, most of whom live in South Africa. The group was formed in 1997 and has subsequently had seven national exhibitions. The first two were held in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, 1997 and 2001 and the next two in Johannesburg, Gauteng, in 2004 and 2006. In 2008 Fibreworks V opened in artSPACE, Durban. Andrew Verster, acclaimed South African artist, was the guest speaker as well as a guest exhibitor. In 2010 Fibreworks held its sixth National Exhibition at the artB Gallery in Bellville, Cape Town. In 2012 Fibreworks its seventh National Exhibition at FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg, Gauteng.

In February 2007 Fibreworks members also exhibited at the African Window in Pretoria. This exhibition then travelled to the Margate Art Museum. In 2009 many Fibreworks members showcased their work at the Artisan Gallery in Durban. Members also exhibited their art work at Nova Constantia in Cape Town with a special display entitled 'Fibreworks TEN'. In 2011 Fibreworks held a themed exhibition titled 'Kimonos'. It was exhibited in various venues - in Stellenbosch at the National Quilt Show as a satellite exhibition, then at Artisan Gallery in Durban, at the Sandton Gallery in Gauteng and in 2012 at the University of Johannesburg, FADA gallery. Photographs of various venues are available under Galleries.

In addition to our national exhibitions, Fibreworks members have had four travelling exhibitions of miniature artworks, Major Minors I, II, III and IV. The first two were opened in May 2003 and 2005 respectively. Both were accompanied by full color catalogues. These art works have toured both nationally and internationally and were viewed with great acclaim. Major Minors III was exhibited in 2010 in Rochester, New York, at the biennial show of RAFA, the Rochester Area Fiber Artists and then traveled to the artB Gallery in Cape Town. Fibreworks Major Minors IV was exhibited at the first Internation Quilt Convention in Africa. It was held at Emperor's Palace in Johannesburg, Gauteng. Catalogues of Major Minors II and IV are available off our web site, see below.

A number of our members are internationally renowned teachers and fibre/textile artists and our works appear in public and private collections both in South Africa and abroad.

Aims of the group:

  • To promote textile/fibre art as a serious art form and to establish a group committed to this ideal
  • To generate interaction, new challenges and critical input
  • To hold regional retreats
  • To hold a national exhibition biennially that includes the AGM
  • To circulate a quarterly newsletter

The broad scope of fibre/textile art as envisioned by Fibreworks is outlined below -


Fibre art is an art form that encompasses a very large range of techniques, materials and approaches that give the fibre artist possibilities to explore and expand the art form in almost unlimited ways. Work may be composed of numerous different types of fiber in combination with other materials such as paint, dyes, embellishments or found objects.

Alternatively, fibre art can be work whose subject matter/content is fibre. Fibre refers to materials that are made up of continuous filaments or elongated pieces similar to lengths of thread. These include:
  • Natural fibres which may be either vegetable or animal. Examples are - Cotton, hemp, jute, flax, sisal, linen, paper, textile, pulp paper, leaf and seed fibre, spider silk, sinew, cat-gut, wool, hair, cashmere, mohair and angora.

  • Mineral fibers: Asbestos is the only naturally occurring mineral fibre. Among the others are metallic fibre drawn from ductile metals like copper, gold, silver and steel

  • Synthetic fibres such as nylon, acrylic, Tyvek etc.

Special emphasis is placed on the endless, exciting fibre possibilities and combinations which may be used in the creation of basketry, beading, braiding, crochet, embroidery, felting and felt making, fibre knots, knitting, Kumihimo, lace-making, needlework, paper making, papier maché, patchwork, quilting, spinning, weaving and knotting.

These materials can be torn, dyed, burnt, frayed, glued, painted, embroidered, woven, ripped, cut, folded, crumpled, hammered, layered, looped or otherwise manipulated.

Fibreworks encourages artists to investigate all these possibilities whatever they are making, be it garments, wall art, vessels, sculptures, books or something as yet undiscovered.

Art is not just a concrete object. Rather it is the experience of the artist transcending the literal. The foundation of any artwork lies in the knowledge of materials through which the artist finds his or her own voice, giving the work originality and perhaps a quality of mystery.

Major Minors I Catalogue 2003

Major Minors I Catalogue 2003
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Major Minors II Catalogue 2005

Major Minors II Catalogue 2005
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Major Minors IV Catalogue 2012

Major Minors IV Catalogue 2012
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