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Toodyay Fibre Festival to attract thousands for annual celebration

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Cally DupeCountryman
The Toodyay Fibre Festival celebrates a range of fibres.
Camera IconThe Toodyay Fibre Festival celebrates a range of fibres. Credit: Peta Korb/Peta Korb

The small community of Toodyay will burst to life for this year’s annual Toodyay Fibre Festival, a celebration of all things fibre arts and crafts that attracts about 5000 people to the main street of the town each year.

Held in the historic and picturesque town just 87km north-east of Perth, the annual Toodyay Fibre Festival is a free, family friendly event featuring an artisan market, workshops, exhibitions, kids activities, fashion, sheep shearing demonstrations and much more.

The Stirling Terrace event is organised by non-for-profit group Toodyay Fibre Festival Incorporated, with a dedicated group of volunteers coming together to host the event since 2014.

Displays range from shearing and hands-on experiences with sheep and alpacas to a huge array of crafts using natural fibres, including felting, quilting and weaving, as well as ceramics, jewellery and woodwork.

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This year’s event will also feature a yarn-bombing competition, with the winner receiving a cash donation to their nominated charity.

Parts of the streets have already been yarn-bombed with the splashes of colour building anticipation ahead of the Fibre Festival.

Toodyay Fibre Festival committee member Peta Korb, an award-winning textile artist, said the whole purpose was to teach people about different fibres and the beautiful things that could be created.

“Our stallholders are primarily fibre based, but there is presence from ceramic makers and woodwork, and other crafts,” she said.

“People can buy a fibre item to wear straight away, or they can buy fibre to make their own.

“We do have a focus on wool, but we also have a lot of other fibres . . . we have alpaca wool, silk, and plant-based fibres.”

For Ms Korb, who has been involved for about six years, it is a “lovely environment”.

“I’m a fibre artist myself and to see it showcased at the festival makes me really proud to see the amazing end results of everyone’s hard work behind the scenes,” she said.

“This is the only fibre festival in WA, and it is such a relaxing atmosphere.

“The artisans are very giving in their knowledge, there are people there weaving and happy to chat about their craft.

“We also have The Grey Company joining us this year, and visitors will get to see fibre techniques from the Dark Ages.”

The event was the brainchild of Peter and Delveen Wakefield, of Avalon Homestead in Toodyay and was originally proposed after a bushfire in December 2009 destroyed more than 30 homes in the area.

Initially, the idea centred on entering the International Back to Back Wool Challenge, which encourages teams to create a specific garment in the shortest amount of time from the back of an animal to the back of a person.

The 2013 Challenge initiated plans for the inaugural Toodyay Fibre Festival in 2014.

A highlight of the event is the artisan market, which gives patrons a chance to see unique creations crafted by hand from raw materials.

The fashion showcase is also a popular event, with the opportunity to see unique, fibre-inspired garments made in WA using various techniques — including crochet, knit, felt, sewing, patchwork, embroidery, upcycling and much more.

A 3m high fibre fairy with crocheted wings will also be on display, as the perfect backdrop for photos.

For those working up an appetite checking out the displays, there are plenty of food outlets — from food trucks to local cafes, and don’t forget the famous Toodyay Bakery.

The Toodyay Fibre Festival will be held from 10am to 3pm on Sunday, June 4.

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