Bishop champions labor of love with Fiber Arts Festival Nov. 8-9

ELLIE HEBERT Contributing writer
Charlene Bishop organized the Fiber Arts Festival in support of area artists. The Fourth Annual Festival will be held Nov. 8-9.

PLAQUEMINE - It all started at a very young age for Charlene Bishop. Her love of the arts - especially fiber arts -was instilled by her grandmother at just six-years-old.

It has weaved through her travels, occupations and friendships. Certainly now her grandmother would be pleased that Bishop now wears the mantle of championing the fiber arts.

It was her idea to create the Fiber Arts Festival in Plaquemine, and she has rallied her artist friends to join in. Now in its fourth year, this year's festival is set for Nov. 8 - 9.

Arts on display and for sale will include cross-stitch, quilting, embroidery, rug hooking, spinning, weaving, knitting, tatting, Tamari ball making, Oxford needle punch, crochet, basket-making, jewelry and more.

Sponsored by the City of Plaquemine Main Street Program's Art in the City Program, the event features several nationally recognized fiber artists, who will conduct educational classes, display and sell their art.

Artists will offer a variety of classes and demonstrations from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Nov. 8 at First United Methodist Church, 23645 Church Street.

The Fiber Festival moves to the Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park Main Pavilion on Nov. 9, for fiber arts demonstrations, classes and booths of arts will be on sale, along with music provided by the Iberville Math, Science and Arts Orchestra, an art supply swap, and food booths, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The event is free, but a small fee is charged for the classes. There is no vendor booth fee for artists.

Pre-registration is required for the classes. Call Bishop at 225-776-4119 or Kristine Hebert with the Plaquemine Main Street Program at 225-687-3116 for more information and to pre-register.

Bishop said the event is a labor of love.

"My grandmother first taught me embroidery, rug hooking and quilting," Bishop said. "I learned them because we needed those things and in that day you made what you needed.

"I've learned and taught many other arts through the years – rug hooking, quilting, crochet, knitting, Russian Oxford punch, spinning and weaving. I am very interested in all sorts of fiber arts and am always trying to learn more."

She had plenty of time to hone her skills living on an Indian reservation in Montana as a teacher for five years.

"There were long winter nights so I had to have something to do," she said.

Bishop has taught fiber arts classes in the LSU Leisure Class program for some 10 years. She taught her daughter Stephanie Peneguy many of the arts and they continue to go to classes and fiber arts conferences together.

When Bishop moved to Plaquemine she found a local quilting group and over time continued to widen her circle of fiber arts friends with friends in many states and arts. She has called on them to join the Fiber Art Festival in Plaquemine and several will be participating in this year's event.

"So many people who do these arts don't think of themselves as artists but they are and I came up with the Fiber Art Festival to showcase their work and put them in the limelight," Bishop said. "The first year it started out at my house and with the help of the City of Plaquemine Main Street Program it has grown. I had no idea it would grow as much as it has."

Come out and see the demonstrations of beautiful fiber arts and get a taste of the passion that these artists have for their work. You may end up a fiber artist, too.