Beyond fabric: Kindness through fiber arts

Allison Ringold

Staff Writer


In an age when machines are the norm, it’s not uncommon to think of the fiber arts as old-fashioned. Although the practices of knitting, crocheting, basket weaving, etc. have been around for centuries, they are more relevant now than ever.

While many are suffering because of the current global pandemic, Knot Another Fiber Arts Society (KAFAS) is continuously finding ways to help those in need. According to Community Service Coordinator Maud Bulman ’23, KAFAS is “currently crafting items to be donated to a church downtown, who will see that our items make it to those who need warm items such as Afghans, hats, scarves and mittens. We are also collaborating with International Student Services to provide handmade hats, scarfs, mittens, etc. to the Winter Coat Drive this year.” Additionally, Bulman noted that “all collected items are to be quarantined in a bag from three days to a week, and all items will be washed prior to donation” in order to keep recipients safe.

KAFAS isn’t new to community service. “As community service coordinator I look for projects where our work can benefit other people, rather than only creating things for ourselves. Fiber arts has everything to do with community service because as artists, we have the ability to create things that benefit other people,” explained Bulman.

However, the fiber arts are about more than just community service. KAFAS President Diane Tierney ’21 is a seasoned fiber arts creator. “My introduction to fiber arts was my mother’s attempt to make her only child stop driving her crazy on a rainy weekend in third grade. She sat me down in the living room and taught me how to knit, with a library cassette tape audiobook playing in the background,” she remembered. “Recently in the past couple of years, I have begun to broaden my scope to needlepoint, crochet, basketry, spinning and weaving.”

As demonstrated by Tierney and Bulman, KAFAS has proven to be as modern as the current pandemic. In a world in which most goods are mass-produced by machines, KAFAS teaches the campus community what some handmade art and a little kindness can really do.

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