In 2011, the University Museum working with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council hoped to create coordinated exhibits that would reach beyond the museum walls and into the community. The partnership focused on an upcoming exhibit of Gees Bend Quilts, identifying community partners in the local quilters guild and Oxford’s curated fiber shop, Knit1. This coordinated effort launched the Oxford Fiber Arts Festival showcasing exhibits by local fiber artists, a fiber market, workshops, and demonstrations. An immediate success and a welcome addition driving out the winter doldrums with an energetic gathering of fiber fans.
In 2016, Patsy Englehart and Lynn Wells of Knit 1 passed the baton to local fiber artist and regular vendor in the fest, Andi Bedsworth, who is now coordinating the festival through the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. In its eight years the festival strives to bring cutting edge contemporary and traditional fiber arts to the Powerhouse for a multi-day event that includes lectures, demonstrations, classes by experienced teachers and children’s activities.
In its mission to educate, inform, and inspire fiber enthusiasts, practitioners, and visitors, the festival has become a yearly favorite among locals and visitors who come from surrounding states to join in the festivities.