Knit the Bridge

The Outreach Committee works to share our talents with the greater Pittsburgh area, and at skill sharing meetings, members share talents and techniques with each other. Our Outreach projects share the FGP’s talents with the metropolitan Pittsburgh area. We work closely with local organizations, agencies, and schools to promote fiber arts for the greater good including creating new community connections and inspiring a new generation of fiber artists.

The Outreach Committee has undertaken several types of activities, from large public art installations to Refugee focused classes. Some of the past projects include:

Vintage craft group

Large Public Art Initiatives in conjunction with Fiberart International

Fiber art Workshops for Immigrants and Refugees

 Since 2016, our Outreach Committee has been working with refugee and immigrant families.  The Jewish Family Community Services (JFCS) organization was contacted and they put us in touch with the leaders of several of the support groups formed by and with refugee and immigrant individuals from different countries.  The Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh offered to provide fiber art instruction based on the desires of each individual group.  Requests have varied from craft style activities (weaving, embroidery, finger knitting) to making sellable items.

To date, our Outreach Committee has worked with the following groups:

  • Ladies Pink – Latina women – worked with for 6 months – various fiber crafts
  • Korean Support group – weaving
  • Afghan – men and women, worked with women for 8 weeks – some weaving, some embroidery
  • Turkish – have worked with for 5 years – helped establish business Kardelens Fiber Arts to sell crafts online and at craft fairs.  We continue to work with them, attending their weekly meetings.
  • Ukrainian – This newly established support group asked for assistance with knitting hats and scarves for soldiers in Ukraine.  Beginning in Dec. 2022, the Committee provided knitting lessons, yarn and needles as well as attending their weekly meetings to knit with them.

­Other Outreach Committee Activities include…

Spring, 2021 – Outreach Committee coordinated virtual outreach to three organizations by providing access to the Guild’s lecture series. The organizations chosen were art groups with an interest in the fiber arts: CAPA (6-12 Creative and Performing Arts Magnet school) textile department; The Three Rivers chapter of the Embroidery Guild of America; and Women of Vision.

June 2020 – The Outreach Committee was contacted by the coordinator of support groups for the Jewish Family & Community Services, Yesmina Salib, to ask if we knew where their Pan-African support group could access free or low cost fabric.  They were using the fabric to sew clothing and also some masks for their families.  The Outreach Committee reached out to Guild members through the members Facebook page and during a Show and Share Zoom meeting.  A total of nine large boxes and bags of fabric were donated by members and delivered to the group

Feb. July 2020. After being approached by the Outreach Committee, the owner of the newly opened Steel City Craft Emporium (on Penn Ave in the Strip) offered a 6 month booth sponsorship to Kardelens Fiber Arts.  The Outreach Committee helped them to design and build their booth display.

Dec. 2019 – We taught finger knitting to a group of refugee children in the Mooncrest Neighborhood Programs after school program in Moon Township.

Nov. 2019 – Taught basic embroidery stitches to CMU college students signed up for their annual fashion show – Luna Gala – which took place Feb. 29, 2020.  Nine students attended a two-hour workshop.  The assistance was solicited by Suzanne Mauro, one of the coordinators of the Luna Gala, on the FiberArts Guild Facebook page.  The Outreach Committee responded and offered the workshop.

Oct. 2019 – FiberArts Guild’s Outreach committee members cut strips on the borders of fleece fabric in preparation for making them into tied blankets for the Oct. 27 commemoration of last year’s tragic shooting at Tree of Life.  On the 27th, the committee supervised the tying and finishing of the blankets by community volunteers. The blankets were given to refugee families.  Guild member Barbara Grossman also participated in the event, supervising a making of felted hearts which were also given to refugees.  140 blankets were made and 100 hearts

The Outreach Committee welcomes any Guild members who would like to participate in our current activities.  Contact Chair Susan Swarthout (sswarthout11@gmail.com) to discuss your interests and availability.