Down Fiberart International Memory Lane

One of our long-time members was doing some deep housecleaning recently and came upon a Fiberart International treasure trove from the past—a 20th century prospectus, invitation, catalog, and review. I was delighted to get my hands on these juicy historical treats. They conjure lost memories and significant milestones in Fiberart International’s history.

Back in 1979, the Embroiderers’ Guild of Pittsburgh opened its previously members-only biennial exhibition to artists everywhere and debuted its first Stitchery International. Entries were required to include the use of a threaded needle. This first Stitchery International received 575 entries from 259 artists from 38 states and 7 countries. Ninety-six pieces by 70 artists were chosen, including work by Renie Breskin Adams, Michael James, and Barbara Smith. The earliest item in the recently discovered treasure trove is a review of this exhibition in “The Flying Needle”, published by the National Standards Council of American Embroiderers.

An invitation and prospectus from the 80s. Notice “preview party”, the precursor to “opening reception”

Reflecting the growing fiber art field in the 1980s, Stitchery International expanded to include all artwork in fiber media and became Fiberart International (FI), and the Embroiderers’ Guild of Pittsburgh had become the Fiberarts Guild of today.

FI91 catalog with the most recent FI16

By FI1991, a catalog was introduced and included color images of the prize winning pieces only. Modest by today’s FI standards, the catalog nevertheless reflected the forward progression of the ambition and stature of the International.

inside cover of ’91 catalog
detail of ’91 catalog












With all of us anticipating the next Fiberart International in 2019, a look back over our collective shoulder enriches our perspective and inspires us to continue pushing forward the vibrant and innovative field of fiber art.

If you want to be part of the next one… DON’T FORGET!! FI2019 ENTRY DEADLINE IS AUGUST 31, 2018

Apply here