Our Board of Directors:
Introductions are in order!
Secretary; Interim Chair
Barb French is a maker with a life-long devotion to natural fibers. She learned to sew and knit from her mom, a fiberista of amazing prowess, received a Singer treadle machine at 14 and began making her own clothes, knit a first sweater in high school, took tailoring classes at MSU, studied design at FIT, went off the deep end with spinning, weaving and dying in the early aughts, has co-owned a yarn shop, is active in local guilds, and her fiber obsession continues unabated. As a fourth-generation Montanan, Barb is delighted to be a part of Montana Fibershed, and the work to strengthen Montana's wonderful textile community.
Angela Tollerson and her family own a small flock of 20 Colored South Australian Merino sheep in the Flathead Valley near gorgeous Glacier Park.
With degrees in Biology and Computer Science, Angela puts her experience to work running the IT tasks for the board and growing a regenerative farm through land-beneficial practices.
With her Master Beekeeping Certification from the University of Montana, Angela teaches beekeeping classes at the local community college and presides as president of the local beekeeping club.
In her "free" time, she volunteers as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) for foster children and sings in the Glacier Symphony Chorale. Her business can be found at foxfarmhomestead.com
Helen Harris has been a maker working with fibers and fabric since she was a young child. This passion took her on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Textile Design/Studio Art from Northern Illinois University. Recently retired from a career in Marketing/Finance, Helen is now an advocate for the Montana fiber community, focusing on regenerative fiber practices. She continues to create fiber art in her studio which overlooks the Madison range of the Rocky Mountains.
Elizabeth Bean has always been interested in the relationships between humans and animals, particularly as they pertain to the food we eat and, as she studied more, the fibers we wear. While farming, she became fascinated with the many purposes of sheep and livestock on the land, from fuel reduction to incredible fibers.
She took a sheep shearing course and fell in love with the art of wool harvesting; from there she got a spinning wheel, started dying natural fibers and can be often found weaving and crocheting.
In her free time she can be found hiking around with her dog and drawing inspiration from Montana's incredible landscapes, or traditionally tanning hides. She is excited to be on the board and bring her background in community advocacy and love of natural fibers.
Karen Heyneman is a rancher, a pilot, and a Harvard Presidential Scholar. She and her husband, Tom, run cattle on Bench Ranch, near Fishtail, MT, where they practice Holistic Management and Low-Stress Livestock Handling. At Harvard, Karen studied and taught Leadership and Group Relations. She also has extensive non-profit experience working with conservation organizations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She is an avid knitter and, in particular, loves the magic of felting.
Born and raised in the mountains outside Helena, MT, Alayna Rasile earned her undergraduate degree in Geography from the University of Oregon in 2010 and her MFA from Montana State University in 2020. Always a passionate maker and tinkerer, Alayna’s formal textile training began in 2015 when she was awarded a yearlong residency at New York City’s Textile Arts Center where she focused on handweaving and natural dying. Alongside her fine art practice, Alayna has worked as a designer and production coordinator for a wide range of apparel and softgood labels and has her own line, Absorka which releases small collections of handmade garments as well as custom pieces. She is most well known in the local fiber community for her sculptural dye gardens and her work with milkweed floss, championing the ‘new material’ as a renewable, pollinator-friendly, plant-based alternative to goose down or synthetic insulation inside winter jackets. She is currently based in Livingston, MT and teaches at Montana State University.
Alyssa Roggow is a musician, arts educator, and fiber enthusiast. She received a master’s degree in viola performance from the Eastman School of Music and was principal violist of the Great Falls Symphony and violist of the Cascade String Quartet for five years before stepping away to pursue other creative projects. An advocate for arts education, Alyssa designs and facilitates interdisciplinary workshops. She has presented workshops for the Glacier Institute in Glacier National Park, Sculpture in the Wild, and numerous chamber ensembles, libraries, schools, and art museums. She has extensive experience in the arts, nonprofit organizations, and event planning. Alyssa’s interest in textiles and fibers began during the pandemic (because all the concerts were cancelled), and now she regularly makes paper, dyes fibers naturally, and weaves on a tapestry loom she built.
Our Board of Directors Needs you!
Annual Report – Montana Fibershed 2022
2022 has been a busy year of forward momentum for Montana Fibershed. As an organization, we have grown by officially transitioning to a 501(c)3 membership organization, launching a membership campaign, offering our first scholarship, connecting members through a Zoom Knit-A-Long (KAL), and hosting our first big event, the Farm-to-Fashion event. Our all-volunteer Board of Directors has worked hard to successfully launch these important initiatives.