CHIMACUM — Cathie Wier and Pat Herkal are Port Townsend artists. They are also good friends.
Wier, a weaver, explores the combination of materials and techniques, “pushing what the loom can do.”
Herkal is a fiber artist focused on beading, embroidery and stitch. Her unique pins feature stones collected during her travels, most recently from Peru and around the west.
This weekend they’ll be featured artists at Finnriver Farm & Cidery, 124 Center Road in Chimacum, from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday during Fiber Affair, in its inaugural year.
Fiber Affair is part of the Chimacum Holiday Weekend, which includes four craft fairs, with events planned today through Sunday. The celebration is hosted by Thunderbull and the Chimacum Arts and Crafts Fair.
The Chimacum Arts and Crafts Fair, now in its 31st year, will feature more than 100 regional arts and crafts vendors at Chimacum High School, 91 West Valley Road, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Admission is $3. Proceeds go to grants at the Chimacum, Port Townsend and Quilcene/Brinnon school districts.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, the Chimacum Grange, 9572 Rhody Drive, will host a farmers craft fair with live music, a children’s craft area, locally made furniture, rugs, smoked salmon, fine jewelry and traditional crafts.
Admission is by donation.
The Tri-Area Community Center will feature crafts, antiques and flea market finds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission will be free.
At the Finnriver Fiber Affair, artists will feature handwoven, quilted, beaded, dyed, stitched and painted gifts and wearables. Admission will be free.
An opening ceremony for the holiday weekend is planned at 9:50 a.m. Saturday at the entrance to Chimacum High School. The third annual Community Photo will be taken, with musical accompaniment from the Chimacum High School Marching Band.
Finnriver will start early with a Books on Tap trivia night with Jefferson County Library from noon to 8 p.m. today.
Along with the Fiber Affair will be tastings until 9 p.m. Saturday, a Holiday Dance Party from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, tastings from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, live music from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, and holiday calligraphy from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Wier and Herkal will be joined during Saturday’s Fiber Affair by botanical dyers Kate Snow and Nora Shapiro, quilter Marla Varner and paper wrap and ornaments maker Barbara Ramsey. All will offer small artistic items for holiday gifts.
Wier and Herkal discovered they work well together and their creations complement each other’s work in a utilitarian way.
“My shorter scarves, what I call collars, don’t hang well without some kind of closure,” Wier said. “I thought Pat’s beaded pins might be the perfect solution.”
After talking it over and creating some samples, the women agreed. A collaboration was born.
The two work independently on their own designs.
“Pat doesn’t necessarily make a pin to match a scarf. People have their own ideas of what goes together, so we give customers an option,” Wier said.
Herkal’s stones are held in place by a special peyote stitch. To make the pins cohesive, she adds different types of beads.
“You can see these tiny stitches, one bead at a time,” Wier pointed out.
“There aren’t many artists doing bead embroidery. It’s quite time intensive. But I love to do it. I’m drawn to use my hands from a long way back,” Herkal said.
Professionally she was an RN who taught school, worked in a pediatric clinic and was in home health care and hospice for 10 years. She’s been beading for seven years, taught by her mentor, Rima Phillips.
Wier’s work is experimental, textural and time intensive. She says every piece is unique.
“I do something called differential shrinkage where I combine wools and Tencel, a natural fiber,” she said. “The wool shrinks and the Tencel doesn’t. By using these combinations, I create texture.”
“I love weaving and I have a lot more to explore. I’ve been enjoying 3D weaving projects that are a fun challenge.”
Wier learned how to weave 15 years ago, but was working full time as a programmer and software engineer. It has only been in the past year that she’s been able to take her work to another level.
The two artists have exhibited together in the region and were juried into a show at the Confluence Art Center in Twisp last winter. Individually, they are award-winning fiber artists. Both hope to continue to exhibit as collaborators.
Weir is looking forward to Fiber Affair.
“Friends getting together, hanging out, and telling people about our art is great fun.”
“We’ll all learn a lot,” Herkal said. “Cider, pizza and brats, music and fiber. It’s a total experiment on all of our parts. Everyone will have fun.”
Throughout the holiday weekend, the Chimacum Corner Farmstand will offer local artisan food baskets and free tea and coffee to shoppers. Farm’s Reach Café will offer a selection of pumpkin pies, donuts and pumpkin spiced lattes.
Finnriver’s Crystie Kisler says participating in this expanded celebration is one way to build something bigger in her artful community.
“We are trying to celebrate the culture in agriculture. We wanted to create this idea where people could stroll through Chimacum between several of our venues, and be exposed to a variety of art, craft and music. We’re making it happen this weekend.”
For detailed information about the event visit www.chimacumholidays.com.
Jeannie McMacken is a freelance writer and photographer living in Port Townsend.