Albuquerque Fiber Arts Council

Mission Statement

The Albuquerque Fiber Arts Council, Inc., a not-for-profit organization operating with the support of co-sponsoring fiber arts guilds, acts through educational programs, funding and public exhibits, to ensure the current and future viability of fiber arts for our guilds, fiber artists, and the larger community.

The Council accomplishes this primarily through the two major components of the Council: the Fiber Arts Fiesta Committee and the Fiber Arts Education Committee.

Board of Directors

The Council is managed by seven directors elected on staggered terms. The 2018 slate of Council directors is as follows:

Name Title Club/Association
Carol Ellis President Desert Designs Machine Knitting
Anita McSorley Vice-President, Fiesta Comm. Dir. NM Quilters' Assn.
Barbara Striegel Treasurer Thimbleweeds Quilters
Cathy Kelly Secretary Adobe Wools Arts Guild & Cast-N-Knits
Diane Witt Education Committee Director Las Aranas Spinners & Weavers
Frances Starnes Marketing Committee Director Desert Designs Machine Knitting
Tillie Lopez Director New Mexico Crochet

Carol Ellis moved to New Mexico with her husband in 1998 and was very quickly enamored with the fiber community here. She joined the Desert Designs Machine Knitting Club shortly after that and has become increasingly involved in the fiber arts community. Her professional life included many years as a manager in the telecommunications industry. She concluded her career years as a Management Consultant developing and delivering training materials to improve management skills. She brings that experience with her to the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Council, where she now serves as President.


Frances Starnes has been a resident of Albuquerque since she and her husband moved here in 1972. After retiring from the University of New Mexico as Associate Controller in 2006, Frances has expanded her participation in the fiber arts community, both within her machine knitting club and as Vendor Chair of the Fiesta, and later as a Council Board member and webmistress. In addition to fiber arts, she enjoys travelling, visiting with her two daughters and two grandsons, as well as attending various UNM Continuing Education classes.


Cathy Kelly has been making for as long as she can remember. Starting with a Nonna who tackled every kind of fiber, Cathy watched, learned and absorbed from early days. High school summers were spent as a volunteer teaching assistant in arts classes for the Richmond (CA) public schools summer programs. She taught secondary art at her alma mater in Berkeley, CA, and then ran a home-based daycare facility while her children were young. After retiring from 30 years in independent community banking-- information systems, she and her husband moved to New Mexico in 2004. She was a board member of a performing ballet company in Northern CA for 20 years and quickly found a home on the ABQ Fiber Arts Council and the Friends of Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological site. Cathy’s primary art is rug hooking, both teaching and making as well as dyeing wool fabrics for others and students.


Barbara Striegel was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelors of Science. From there, she worked 20 years for a food-service company: beginning in sales, then as a regional accounting coordinator, and lastly as division-level management. She returned to New Mexico in 1990 and began her quilting journey, intrigued by the math-piecing, geometry, and accuracy that it required. One of Barbara's favorite memories is sitting at the kitchen table with a group of friends when the idea of the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Council was conceived in 1995. Since its inception, she has served as treasurer, and has been on the Board of Directors since incorporation in 1999.


Anita McSorley moved back to New Mexico in 1989 to the land that enchanted her in her high school and college years in Santa Fe and Portales. She grew up in Iowa in a family of stitchers. She learned to hand sew, embroider, crochet, and operate a sewing machine as early as she could handle a sharp implement without hurting herself. Her love of all things fiber enriches everything she does. She curated and hung the quilt show for the five Fiestas and has been Director of Fiesta for the last three shows..


Diane Witt grew up in a family and community where traditional fiber arts were part of life. She started knitting at age five and continued to try all other types of fiber arts that came her way. As an Air Force wife, she continued with the old and added new skills. Here in Albuquerque, she was thrilled to find this group that promotes all the fiber arts. Now, as the Outreach Chairman for Las Aranas, she arranges for members to share their love of spinning, weaving, and dying with the community at schools, libraries, and local events. On the Council, she serves as Director of the Education Committee and Facilitator for the Presidents' Round Table.


Tillie Lopez was born in Santa Rita. She learned how to sew and do a variety of needle arts at an early age from her grandmother, mom, aunts and friends who would gather and work on art projects. She moved to Albuquerque in 1969 and worked at Presbyterian Hospital Center for a few years. She then worked at the NM Dept. of Labor and served as State President of IAWEPS, the professional organization. Tillie retired with 25 years of service but, not ready to stay home, she worked part-time for the City of Albuquerque working at a community center teaching the children arts and crafts. A friend then invited her to a NM Crochet Guild meeting ( she joined it and served as President) and after she volunteered to work at the Fiber Arts Fiesta she was hooked. She now belongs to several guilds and serves as a Fiber Arts Council Director.

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