Members of the Stitch and Sew class share work on projects and fellowship at the Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore. Classes held at the center are part of its goal to “become the region’s premier resource for fiber artists and fiber art enthusiasts.”

The Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore — FACES — has set an ambitious goal for itself: “To become the region’s premier resource for fiber artists and fiber art enthusiasts.”
This past fall, FACES received a USDA grant to help them take two big steps forward towards accomplishing that goal.
Both steps, announced in their fall newsletters, focus not only on expanding FACES’s presence within the region’s fiber arts community, but also helping those fiber artists, both professional and casual.
The first step was the relaunch of the FACES Etsy shop under the management of Jodi Bortz, an experienced online sales manager and former executive director of Chestertown River Arts with extensive experience promoting the arts and artists.
The second was the hiring of Rebecca Heriz-Smith, a social media expert to help member artists build and manage a Facebook Business page as well as use other forms of social media to engage with clients and promote their works of art.
Both Bortz and Heriz-Smith said they hope to build on the successful one-day social media training workshop that FACES sponsored last April.
Held at Chesapeake College, in Wye Mills, and geared towards artists, crafters and makers, the sold-out workshop provided a full day of marketing and social media training at the beginner/introductory level to help artists throughout the region better promote themselves and their artistry.
In addition to continuing the opportunity to be a Featured Artist of the Month on the FACES website and Facebook page, FACES is offering its artist members the ability to list up to 10 of their pieces with the FACES’s Etsy shop and join the Business Training Group, a closed Facebook group for FACES registered Directory and Enthusiast Members.
And, both members and anyone interested in the fiber arts can be a part of the FACES Community Group, “a great place for people to connect to share photos or ask questions about knitting, quilting, weaving and more.”
“The objective is to provide good services to artists and enthusiasts alike, so folks want to continue renewing their memberships,” said Heriz-Smith. “If you are helping folks sell their work,” she continued, “then you are providing the artists a double benefit — a value added service for their membership monies and the exposure they need.”
Another benefit for artist members is the ability to submit and teach a class offered through FACES.
As explained by Marina Dowdall, executive director of the Caroline County Council of the Arts, the sponsoring organization of FACES, instructors may “submit a form with the class description, and if FACES approves the class, then FACES will collect the fee from the students, and pay the instructor.”
Although the FACES classroom space is currently available only to instructors teaching FACES approved classes, its availability “is part of FACES’s outreach initiative to grow offerings available to their members businesses and artists,” said Heriz-Smith.
As those offerings continue to grow over the next several months, both professional and casual fiber artists will continue to find a multitude of reasons, online and off, to join FACES’s burgeoning fiber arts community.