Nov 2015

ANFBA Meeting Agenda
November 2015
Conference call – Thurs Nov 5, 6:30-8:00 pm

In attendance: Jan Rowell, Avril Freeman, Lee Coray-Ludden, Vivian Osborne, Carol (Kenai), Becky (Palmer), Kate Wattum, Jane Conway, Amy Seitz, Kirsten Bates (Nome), Teri Rofkar (Sitka)

FSMIP Grant (Federal State Marketing Improvement Program)
Grant Overview (Jan Rowell and Avril Freeman)
Project title: Developing an Alaskan Fiber Industry (copy of grant sent out)
Four main goals:
1. Needs Assessment
2. Communication
3. Education
4. Qiviut Marketing Research

We are soliciting input
Send your suggestions, ideas, comments on all aspects of the grant to We are building the agenda now – its easy to incorporate your ideas
Lee Coray-Ludden
Avril Wiers
Jan Rowell

Key points
a) Upgrade the website – needs to be more user friendly, easier to update and tied into all the social media. We need to educate ourselves to use the website more.

b) Regional coordinators
• Purpose – to help keep it local – will maintain local connections and will be responsible for reporting local events to the statewide association.
• Regions – Kenai, Fairbanks/Delta, Mat-Su, Nome
• Suggestions for other regions – nominations – volunteers??

c) Western SARE Conference – SARE newsletter with dates location (attached)
• Workshop – Carrie Hull – she is with the Natural Fiber Producers Cooperative – a national fiber cooperative. She has been closely involved with the formation of this cooperative and with the procuring and set-up of a huge commercial dehairing machine – set up in Kentucky. She participated in the recent fiber dehairing trials. So she has a lot of expertise with co-ops on both a local and national scale in setting up cooperatives and as a certified fiber sorter – need feedback on workshop topics
• From lee’s suggestion I distilled this: Practical tools and solutions to connect fiber producers, processors, markets and artists. I have 1 week before this needs to be submitted – suggestions??
• We now need to work out specific workshop goals – things we would like to accomplish with the workshop. Your input solicited and welcomed here!!
d) Speaker Session – We will have approximately 3 hours for presentations. That’s six 30 min talks (20 min talk with 10 min for questions). There is potential to get more time on the second day for speaker presentations if we want it.
• Producer talks have been especially successful at past SARE meetings – essentially a producer showcases their farm – talks about their operation, what works and what doesn’t.
• In this session I was hoping Vivian Osborne would do a presentation on her new mill.
• We are looking for volunteers to do presentations – or suggestions of people we can pressure into doing presentation . Avril and I thought it would be interesting to have a talk by a producer who takes their fiber all the way from production to the finished product – then a talk from a processor(s) – like Vivian who buys local and produces a finished product and then from artist(s) – like Teri …………….
• Sound Bites – information on AK fibers – like micron size etc – this is a great idea and one could take it in lots of different directions
• Jane Conway suggested a talk on
e) Qiviut workshop – incorporated into this whole conference will be a special mini workshop focused on developing qiviut quality standards, fiber processing issues etc.
• Would like to get all qiviut stakeholders involved in the discussions – talk about differences in qiviut from different sources (wild vs farmed). We would really like to get the communities involved – especially have a demonstration of how they pluck the qiviut from the hides. Kirsten (Nome) thought a demonstration on how the qiviut was plucked from the hides would be possible. She also suggested Alice from Mekoryuk would be a good person to tap – the people of Mekoryuk have been working with qiviut since the 1930’s.
• We have some limited funds to help bring representatives in from the communities. We do need to set up a sub-committee to organize the qiviut workshop portion. While this workshop will target qiviut and qiviut issues – attendance will be open to any interested parties – especially Teri whose issues with wild goat fiber may parallel a lot of qiviut issues.
• Research is a necessary component of this grant and we are collaborating with Vivian Osborne and her mill in North Pole to expedite her ability to practice/train with qiviut and fine tune her equipment for qiviut processing.

f) Vendor tables – these will be available for the whole 3 days. Estimated cost $50 for the full 3 days

Regional fiber festivals (Avril Freeman)
• Money for 3 fiber fests – Fairbanks – MatSu – Kenai. Budgeted approx. $700 for facility rental and $1300 for ‘speaker fees’. The speaker fee – can be used to bring in outside speaker – or showcase local talent. Generally felt there is a lot of local talent and we need to build on this as we move forward. Partnering with local guilds ia another way to strengthen the base and grow the festivals.
• Each region needs to pick a date for their festival. This is another area that can be organized by regional coordinators. Kenai has a successful fiber fest that has been going (and growing) for a number of years. For 2016 they have changed their dates form spring to fall (Sept 23-25) and are moving to a different venue.
• Each area should come up with a program that works for them and is relevant to their local membership.

Other – – (Avril Freeman)
• ANFBA logo – Avril will hire a local company to design logos, starting with multiple sketches. The membership can then vote on their choice. Branding is an important part of moving forward, creating an identity for the organization.
• 4H Western Region Leaders Forum is a big convention that brings together 4H leaders from all the western states. It is Alaska’s turn to host this in 2016 – Avril and Jan will present a 3 hr workshop on fiber arts programs that can be integrated into 4H clubs. Avril is currently working on a fiber arts curriculum. Lee mentioned that they have a 4H fiber program on the Kenai. She will put Avril in touch with the individual there who is active with that program. When the curriculum is finished it will be circulated to ANFBA members.
• FFA (Future Farmers of America) Career Development Event – Avril is putting together a fleece sorting and grading workshop for the state FFA convention to be held in Anchorage in April.

Mill Updates
• Vivian gave an update on the current state of her mill. The pin drafter was damaged in transit up here and her husband is currently working on fixing it – (he loves to tinker with machines – how perfect is that!). Right now she can practice on her carding machine and produce rovings but until the pin drafter is finished cannot spin any fiber. She does have a beautiful stainless steel set-up for dyeing her fiber and potential to do some custom dyeing for others. She does intend to focus on fine fibers and the equipment she purchased is used for a lot of fine fiber work.
• Kate Wattum (Fairbanks) is purchasing a mini mill, has gone to Prince Edward Island and done the mini mills training. She is building a 50 X 30 ft shop on her property in the Goldstream Valley and anticipates the delivery of the machinery by fall of 2016 with an opening date of spring 2017. She will have both a dehairing machine and a felter. (I personally think the 2 mills will complement each other wonderfully)
• Becky (Palmer) – AK Frayed Knot – Is doing Small Batch processing. Hand processing – washing, carding, picking and spinning – has an electric carder and spinner and spin dryer. Also do blending and dyeing.

Lots of News and Lots to digest – Alaska Fiber is really growing!!
Please send in your suggestions