Getting to talk to Judi Jetson, a wonderfully involved person and board chairman of Local Cloth, will open up your eyes to a lot of awesome activities in this organization.
Local Cloth’s goal is to grow the fiber economy in Western North Carolina and beyond. The non-profit has been around for nine years and has recently opened a retail shop at 408 Depot St., Suite 100-110, in River Arts District. The organization hosts fashion shows, exhibits, special sales, and has created the local textile movement fashioned after local food businesses.
The concentration is animals and fabric. If you want to buy a wool sweater, you can certainly obtain a locally made one here.
Local Cloth also features farmers. There are about 200-250 farmers that raise fiber animals — sheep, goats and alpacas. The fiber has to be sheared from the animal and then washed, carded and combed, knit or woven. Following that process, the fiber is made into garments.
“Shoppers should take a look in their closets and ask, ‘Where did that item, or that one come from?’” said Jetson. “And then they should find out how they can support local farmers. Local Cloth is doing it, in part, by making handmade items more available in our shop.”
The association is open six days a week, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday; 1-4 p.m., Sunday; open until 7 p.m. on Fridays. It is closed on Mondays.
On Saturday, July 10, third-generation farmer Susan Proctor will talk about history and the fiber arts, starting at 1:30 p.m. The talk is part of the overall RAD’s Second Saturday festivities.
Inside the studio, visitors will discover a plethora of items, including quilts, clothing, decorator items and more. In addition, Local Cloth offers artists a place to showcase their wares and offers studio space for rent. Currently, the gallery has two spaces available.
There are currently 500 fiber artists in Western North Carolina — more than any other place in the United States, and more than 200 fiber farms in the surrounding area. Local Cloth has been involved in bringing artists and farmers together for nealry a decade, and the organization serves as an affiliate of the internationally renowned organization Fibershed, which represents the Blue Ridge Mountains.
In another exciting venture, Local Cloth celebrated the launch of its online marketplace — Shop Local Cloth — to support its mission to bring climate-benefitting fiber to WNC’s closets, gardens and studios.
And for those who want more, Local Cloth offers workshops, exhibits, and will continue hosting resident artists throughout the summer.
In July and August, visitors will be able to sign up for classes on dyeing, weaving, printing and more.
For more information, visit localcloth.org.