Teyana Neufeld, Workshop Instructor

Teyana Neufeld used to live in south-western Manitoba, but she now qualifies as the person who travels the furthest to teach at the Manitoba Fibre Festival!  In her own words, here’s some of her story  —- 

While flying out of O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johanesburg last week, I was trying to decide whether or not to protect my luggage. This may be a specialty of the airport in Joburg, but it’s not uncommon for things to go mysteriously missing from checked luggage on its way from the check-in desk to the bowels of the airplane waiting on the tarmac. So for only 90 rand (just under $9 CAD), you can get your luggage wrapped in layers and layers of what is essentially industrial saran-wrap. I am not immune to the fear that my luggage might be rifled through, and like all travellers I have many precious-to-me items in there I would mourn if I lost. But the thought that convinced me it was unnecessary was this: It’s mostly yarn, some cardboard and 15 pairs of scissors.

I fly “home” to Canada once a year. And the timing of this visit is more than slightly affected by the Manitoba Fibre Festival. It’s a chance for me to re-connect with an artistic community in Canada and teach topics that I love to a dynamic and interested audience. I love teaching workshops, and I love Winnipeg, so it’s a win-win.

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Teyana teaching floor loom weaving

I’ve been living in Lesotho for the past three years – at first it was off and on, but for the last year and a half I’ve become pretty much settled. Lesotho, if you don’t know, is a small country of 2.2 million people, entirely surrounded by South Africa. Its known for its high elevation and wool and mohair production. This is why it has my heart – not only because I was born there and I’m working on sorting out my permanent residency. I love it because it allows me to practice, explore – and teach – the topic that has become the obsession of my life: weaving.

Finished tapestry panel, woven using plastic

I’m based in Morija, a small town an hour away from the bustling capitol of Maseru. I’ve never been a city person, and Morija offers me beautiful landscape, enriching neighbours and a vibrant and growing community of artists. I am the co-ordinator of the Morija Arts Centre: a volunteer-run hub of arts education and outreach. We offer skills workshops, rental space, and offer existing artists a sales platform through our on-site shop, the Maeder House Gallery. We also host an event called the Tiny Gallery Concert every two months, which is a gathering of musicians, poets, creators and creative thinkers. Morija Arts Centre is the first of its kind in Lesotho. (Please feel free to check out the fun that we have on Instagram and Facebook @morijaartscentre.)

detail of tapestry panel

Last year I got a grant to build the textile studio of my dreams. This included designing and building my own fleet of floor-looms. I also have been commissioned by the Lesotho National Museum and Art Gallery (currently under construction) to create two giant (I mean it: GIANT) tapestries for the entrance lobby. I’m involving 7 different weaving companies in Lesotho and teaching them a new technique that involves using recycled plastic bags.

Life is full and life is fun!

Workshops I’ll be teaching while in Canada this year:

Boissevain Arts Hall (Boissevain, MB) Sept 10

Manitoba Fibre Festival (Winnipeg, MB) Sept 13

Harvest Moon Festival (Clearwater, MB) Sept 14

Touchstones Museum (Nelson, BC) Sept 28

We are lucky to have this dynamic and talented artist teaching at the Festival. This year Teyana is repeating 2018’s popular Card Weaving class and debuting her Woven Jewellery class. Card Weaving is sold out, but there are still a few spots in Woven Jewellery. Registration details are here.

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