Alissa Allen founded Mycopigments in 2012, as a program to bring mycology to fiber artists and fiber artists to mycology. Since its inception, she has led hundreds of students, in three countries and twenty-five states, through the steps of exploring their regional mushroom and lichen dye palette. Alissa got her start in the Pacific Northwest and has been sharing her passion for mushrooms for over 15 years. She has written articles for her website as well as Fungi Magazine and Fibershed. In 2015, Alissa created the Mushroom and Lichen Dyers United discussion group and the Mushroom Dyers Trading Post to mentor, connect, and facilitate discussion between her students. These Facebook groups, along with her prolific workshop offerings have brought together a vibrant community of over 11,000 members. Though her focus is centered on teaching people about their regional mushroom and lichen dye palettes, her overall mission is to inspire people to engage more deeply with nature. It is her hope that with engagement, commitment to care for our planet will grow exponentially.
Cathi Belcher is an artist and a writer who lives in Midcoast Maine, where she works and lectures at Bowdoin College. She has been certified to teach the Weaving a Life program by her mentor, Susan Barrett Merrill, and works with private students as well as larger groups and classes. This is her second year teaching at the Fiber Arts Retreat, and she is thrilled to be part of the magic.
Rachel Bingham Kessler is a plant dye educator, writer, sewist, and painter with a degree in Art Education. She runs 44Clovers, a small batch yarn company specializing in Maine primitive wool breeds and plant dyes. She’s taught fiber and plant dye workshops at venues such as Squam Art Workshops, Portfiber, and The Maine Fiber Frolic. Her work has been published in Taproot Magazine and Northern Journeys Magazine. She lives on Peaks Island off the coast of Portland, Maine with her husband, two small kiddos, and some free loading chickens. You can find her on Instagram and Etsy at 44clovers and at 44clovers.com.
Katherine Ferrier is a poet, dancer, maker, teacher, curator, and community organizer, and has been the Director of the Medomak Fiberarts Retreat since 2018. Her research grows out of a deep practice of paying poetic attention to the world, and lives in the intersecting communities of movers, makers, writers and activists. A self-taught quilter, she has improvisationally designed and constructed nearly 100 quilts, drawing on her years of study, both formal and independent, of movement, poetics, painting and architecture, among other forms. She regularly teaches and performs throughout the US and abroad, and believes in patchwork as a radical practice of being patient, saying yes, and making space for everyone at the table. Learn more here.
Bristol Ivy is a knitting designer, teacher, and author from Bangor, Maine. Her work has been published with PomPom Magazine, amirisu, Quince & Co., Making Magazine, and her own eponymous pattern line. She has taught at such events as Squam Art Workshops, Edinburgh Yarn Festival, and Vogue Knitting Live, as well as yarn shops worldwide. Her recent books, Knitting Outside the Box and Knitting Outside the Box: Drape and Fold, both with PomPom Press, explore her lifelong commitment to breaking rules and finding beauty in unexpected places. When not knitting, she’s sewing, running, watching far too many British murder mysteries, and baking a mean loaf of oatmeal honey bread. Find her online at bristolivy.com and on Instagram and Twitter as @bristolivy.
Cal Patch has been making, designing and teaching all things textile-related in New York City since 1991. She sews, crochets, embroiders, spins, prints, knits, dyes, and more. She designed clothing for Urban Outfitters, Free People, Gap, and Old Navy before developing her own line of one-off pieces called “hodge podge”, which she currently sells at craft fairs and in her Etsy shop. After owning a boutique for four years which showcased her own and other local indie designers’ work, she opened one of the nation’s first craft schools in 2002. She contributes to books and magazines such as Stitch N’ Bitch: The Happy Hooker, Mend It Better, Applique Your Way, Made by Hand, Crochet Today and Sew Stylish. In 2009 Cal relocated to upstate New York where she is learning to be a crafty farmer. She offers classes in the Hudson Valley, and travels to teach at retreats and events like Squam Art Worshops, the Makerie, and Lucky Star Art Camp. Her first book, Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified, was published by Potter Craft.
Casey Ryder is the owner of PortFiber, a fiber arts supply shop in Portland, Maine that serves as a hub for spinners, weavers, felters, knitters, dyers, and other makers. Casey regularly teaches wheel and drop spindle spinning, and rigid heddle weaving classes, and invites other fiber arts instructors from around Maine and New England to inspire her community, hosting workshops throughout the year at her shop. In 2016, Casey became the US Distributor of Cashmere People Yarns, a women-run business of hand spinners in Tajikistan & Afghanistan. She has since traveled to Tajikistan to meet the women she represents. This experience lives in her heart while she travels the US promoting their handspun cashmere and cashgora yarns. You can read about her travels in Tajikistan in the Trade issue of Taproot Magazine. In her spare time, Casey likes to knit, dance, drink coffee, read fantasy novels, and bike around town.