Christine is the founder and executive director of Maine Fiberarts, whose headquarters is in Topsham. She periodically offers her insights to VisitMaine.com.
Maine's Fiber Arts Community Thrives
Maine has always been a destination for artists seeking inspiration. This is especially true for all the artists and craftspeople who work in fiber. This varied field is composed of 23 different media and numerous techniques—spinning, knitting, weaving, sewing, embroidery, quilting—and features some of the most creative, industrious and dedicated people in Maine’s arts community.
The fiber arts also give visitors an opportunity to come home with a unique, handcrafted piece of art that they simply can’t get anywhere else. It also affords the traveling public a chance to take a workshop with one of Maine’s master fiber artists.
So you want to know where to go? It all starts with the person who is a walking encyclopedia of everything fiber arts in Maine—Christine Macchi, the executive director and founder of the statewide organization Maine Fiberarts.
“Fiber arts is America’s second-favorite pastime next to gardening,” Christine says proudly. Her gallery in Topsham serves as the epicenter of Maine’s fiber arts community, and people from all over the world visit. “The United Kingdom, Japan and Ireland,” she says. “It’s a beautiful two-story brick building from 1834. It’s a lovely destination for art and craft.”
The goal of Christine’s organization is to advance Maine’s fiber arts community through studio tours, exhibitions, hands-on workshops, photo image libraries, online Tour Maps, statewide news bulletins and gatherings. One of Maine’s great advantages is its sweeping landscape, which provides ample farming. “There are a lot of small farms, craft farms,” says Christine, “devoted to producing high-quality fibers that artists and craftspeople transform into beautiful wearable garments and household linens, clothing and artwork, sculpture and all kind of finished goods.”
Maine’s fiber arts community has given birth to some renowned people doing extremely high-level work. Some of Maine’s most prominent fiber artists to look for are Barbara Burns, Arlene Morris, Katharine Cobey and Mary Ann McKellar. There are also some thriving businesses in the fiber arts, including Jill McGowan (clothing), Angela Adams (rugs and home furnishings), Saco River Dyehouse (yarn dyeing) and Pam Allen of Quince & Company (knitwear designs and yarns).
If you’re traveling to Maine and are interested in fiber arts, a great place to start is mainefiberartstour.com for a list of events and locations to view and purchase some extremely well-crafted fiber items. The Maine Fiberarts gallery in Topsham features a new exhibit every two to three months.
The allure of Maine to the fiber arts community is unmistakable. As Christine says, “We have the open space, the beauty of Maine land and farms, and there’s proximity to Boston and New York."
Gallery and The Red Studio
13 Main Street
Topsham, ME 04086