Twist Fibre Festival: The Fibre Dreams of Amélie Blanchard
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“I knew I wanted to be a TV producer from the time I was 12 years old—and by the time I was 21, I was one! I travelled to France to work on international coproductions.”
As our TV producer tells her story, she cradles a two-month-old goat in her arms. We’re a long way from the bright lights of the city and the TV studio! Welcome to the world of Amélie, goat farmer in the Petite-Nation and founder of the Twist Fibre Festival.
CHOOSING TO LIVE IN THE COUNTRY
Amélie Blanchard’s journey has been an intriguing one. This passionate woman, curious about everything and always keen to try something new, chose a new life almost 15 years ago. The change was sparked when she met her man, Sven: he lived in the country, she in the city, and she chose to join him. Managing production teams from a distance wasn’t ideal, and so the idea of creating a joint project with Sven was born. But what would that project be?
“We had a neighbour who raised sheep. The first time I knocked on her door, she answered, and right beside her was a little lamb wearing a diaper! She and her husband spun their own wool, and they would knit together. I found it so beautiful!”
Animal lover Amélie chose goats. For the cheese, among other things!
BIRTH OF A PASSION
The couple purchased two Nubian goats and moved to a heritage farm in the Petite-Nation, heads filled with possibilities.
Thanks to the agricultural incubator program of the MAPAQ (Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec), their project gradually took shape, especially after they discovered the cashmere goat, a breed raised for its meat but also for its undercoat (cashmere wool).
Amélie went to Alberta to take a course about fibre analysis. That did it.
“When I got back, I thought, are there festivals for this? I want to learn to spin, to do something with my hands. It was part of a transition I was going through, leaving the city and doing something concrete. I took spinning lessons. Slowly but surely, I decided to create my dream festival. I worked on my project for a year.”
THE TWIST FESTIVAL: A GROWING SUCCESS
The eighth edition of the Twist Fibre Festival will take place in August, and its popularity shows no sign of dwindling. Quite the contrary: the largest festival of its kind in Canada welcomed 23,000 people last year!
“I discovered a really beautiful community, people from all walks of life. It’s such a joy to get together, to create. To see people starting farms after visiting the festival. You know you’ve accomplished something. You’ve recruited new fibre fans!”
Not only does Amélie share her passion with people across the country through this festival, but she also manages to gather and mobilize the community of Saint-André-Avellin around her dream.
Discover more inspiring profiles on our Ambassadors page!