Fiber arts and gifts galore: the 24th Annual Fall Wearable Art Show and Sale

Felted hat by Kay Collins

On Saturday, you’ll see a line forming outside St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Rockville at 9 o’clock in the morning—even though the doors won’t open for another half hour. These aren’t your typical holiday-shopping early birds; they’re art-loving locals who understand why the Fall Wearable Art Show and Sale is an indispensable rite of autumn.

One-of-a-kind handcrafted fiber art, jewelry, scarves, shawls, hats, wall hangings, hand-dyed fabric and yarn—you’ll find all this and more at this marvelous event, which highlights the work of members of the Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery, one of the Torpedo Factory’s founding organizations. You can see the creations of these 70 artists all year long in studio 18, but the crowds at their annual sale prove just how influential they are beyond the Alexandria waterfront.

Flowers in Bloom, knitted and
crocheted by Debra Lee

According to gallery member Roz Houseknecht, whose work runs the gamut from hand-dyed yarns to exquisite Jewish prayer shawls, the annual show began with the idea of offering locally made and high quality textiles to people on the Maryland side of the Potomac—and to help them get a jump on the holidays. After holding the event at different locations, the show found a happy home at St. Mark. The church’s convenience to the Beltway draws shoppers from across the region, and the artists adore the way the building makes their creations shine. “It’s a light-filled space,” Houseknecht says, “and we love it!”

Many, she says, are drawn by the “back room,” a popular area where artists sell their extra supplies, equipment, and books—but the entire show and sale is famously  friendly to newcomers. “They’ll be amazed at the variety of techniques,” she says. “They’ll get an education—as well as a wonderful shopping experience.”

Ode to Cynthia IV, by Janet Stollnitz

It’s a testament to the high quality of the offerings at the sale that the artists themselves are frequently drawn to each other’s work, purchasing gifts for family and friends directly from their colleagues. Houseknecht adds that the show is also a great—and even ideal—place for men to shop for unique gifts. No special knowledge is required; just come out on Saturday with loved ones in mind and the artists will help you find something special to suit their tastes.

“And bring friends!” Houseknecht insists, as she turns to prepare for the weekend ahead. “We welcome all.”

The 24th Annual Fall Wearable Art Show and Sale will take place on Saturday, November 2, 2013, from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at St. Mark Presbyterian Church, 10701 Old Georgetown Road, Rockville, Maryland. Learn more at the show website, www.wearableartfallshow.com, and click here for directions.

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