Wachusett Business Incubator Launches Intersect Event Series

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The Wachusett Business Incubator, a business environment dedicated to fostering economic growth in the North Central Massachusetts region announces a new event series open to the public.  The Intersect Series focuses on the confluence of the Arts and Business Strategy.

“The Intersect Series spotlights individuals and their enterprises building successful business models  that engage in Arts and Cultural phenomenon,” announces executive director Scott M. Graves. ” Each event will focus on a particular topic and each are designed so you get the most out of attending our exciting offerings.”

Each event will be hosted by a professional in the area of expertise covered or panel discussions.  Morning, afternoon and evening times have been selected on the calendar for 2020 to accommodate as many different situations for our audience as possible.  The WBI always has coffee, tea and beverages on hand and select events will include light fare and entertainment as applicable.


The 2020 inaugural Intersect series will feature a panel discussion recounting the experience of building a natural fibers ecosystem.  Our panel will consist of leading members of our regional natural fibers ecosystem including loom operators, marketers, producers and farmers.  Register for our January 17, 2020 event.  

This event will also feature natural fibers materials and products on display, some for your purchase and artwork featured artist of Gallery Sitka East and West operated by Tamar Russell.  Locally Sources hors d’ouvres and beverages will also be available.

Panel Biographies

Michelle Parrish is one of the founding members of Western Massachusetts Fibershed. Western Mass Fibershed’s first project was a woolen yardage project funded through California Fibershed’s affiliate micro-grant program in 2018. Garments constructed from this locally sourced, spun, and woven woolen cloth are on display at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst, MA. The exhibit Fibershed: From Farm to Fashion Within Fifty Miles is up from November 5th, 2019 – Jan. 3rd, 2020. Ten local designers created these unique pieces. Michelle has a master weaver certificate from the Hill Institute in Florence, MA, and is a founding member of the New England Flax and Linen Study Group. She is also a natural dyer and educator, and her dyed pieces are currently part of an exhibit at the Botanical Garden at Smith College in Northampton, MA. The exhibit The Art and Science of Dyeing is open through May 2020. Michelle teaches workshops and gives demonstrations in natural dyeing and the flax-to-linen process around the region. She blogs about her dyeing, plant growing, and fiber projects at http://localcolordyes.com

Peggy Hart of Bedfellows Blankets is a teacher and production weaver. She designs, produces, and markets hundreds of blankets each year, including custom blankets for sheep and alpaca farmers using their own yarn. Her weaving career has followed the stages of wool’s technological development: Hart began as a hand spinner and weaver, dyeing wool with natural dyes. As a Peace Corps Volunteer she started a handspinning and weaving workshop in Kenya. Upon returning, she attended the Rhode Island School of Design, worked as a weaver in one of the last mills in Rhode Island, and bought her first industrial loom. She weaves on totally obsolete Crompton & Knowles W-3 industrial looms. Peggy is the author of Wool: Unraveling an American Story of Artisans and Innovation published by Schiffer Books in 2017.

Katie Cavacco is a multidisciplinary maker and textile upcycler with a passion for creative reuse and repair. Raised in Franklin County, a lifelong love of sewing led her to a BFA in Fashion Design from MassArt in Boston; a love of sustainability took her to University of the Arts London for MA Fashion Futures in sustainable fashion systems; and a love of place brought her back to western MA.

Her business, Free Ramblin’ Kids, features comfortable, handmade, eco-friendly footwear for young children, along with toys, accessories, and dress-ups for children using upcycled wool. A love of handwork inspires her meticulous hand-stitched details.

Erin Kiewel was born and raised in Gardner MA. She holds a duel BFA in Fashion Design and Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She currently apprentices for Peter Erickson of Erickson Silver, learning the tradition of making handwrought silverware. She also had a custom clothing and production sewing company called Almost. Her love of craftsmanship roots her making practice. Her consideration the legacy of each piece means her pieces are future heirlooms. She teaches sewing classes to her community to give the magic of creating something by hand to as many people as possible. She enjoys knitting, mending clothes, and the art of tatting. Erin is on the executive committee of the Chair City Legacy Makerspace.

Keith Tetreault of Plainview Farms with his wife Debra Intrieri have been raising alpacas for nine years in Hubbardston, Ma.Keith grew up with assorted animals.His first experience with a llama included a kiss. Currently Keith and Debra have 41 alpacas and three llamas. Keith shears his own alpacas and shears locally for other owners.All fiber is used in some form. Some is sold to local artisans, yarn is produced at a mill in Brandon Vt. Fiber is also sent to a company in Fall River Ma that produces clothing such as socks, hats, mittens, etc. which we buy back and sell at many local events along with in our gift shop at the farm.Keith and Debra also make items.  Keith also owns Ultimate Reglaze Inc. bath tub refinishing.

Scott M. Graves, Host is executive director and a founding board member of the Wachusett Business Incubator and founder of Smash Music, an independent music education and merchandising company in Massachusetts. Prior to a career in business development and advocacy, Scott was a leading jazz educator in New England and performing artist.  The programs of the Wachusett Business Incubator reflect his efforts to unite the most meaningful elements of the fine and performing arts with non-predatory business models.

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