Catherine Clark

Founder & Owner of Brooklyn General Store, Brooklyn, NY

Catherine Clark is the founder and owner of Brooklyn General Store in Brooklyn, NY.  Catherine is also a sculptor, a knit designer, a multi passionate business woman and a midwife.  Catherine has been knitting and sewing since the age of 5 and considers craft to be the driving force behind her happiness.  Catherine has been a practicing midwife since 1995.  She opened Brooklyn General Store in 2002 and opened her private practice, Bluebird Midwifery in 2006.  Her interest in women’s health weaves itself into all of her business practices-from the obvious wellness visits to the casual conversation at the knitting table to the desire and commitment to supporting woman owned businesses and farms. Catherine is a newcomer to the Board of Directors and is thrilled to have a chance to bring a greater awareness of the HVTP and its vision to the Downstate Fiber Community.

Gail Parrinello

Owner Cornwall Yarn Shop
BS Nutrition, Cornell University
MS Nutrition, Syracuse University

I opened the Cornwall Yarn Shop, Ltd. in 2004 as a means of keeping me busy in retirement while doing something I loved.  I was hoping to offer some locally produced yarn, but was greatly disappointed.  

Fast forward to 2016; I am still in business and I am happy to say I have Hudson Valley Fibers, locally sourced and manufactured yarns.  I am excited about the future of local fibers.

I grew up on a dairy farm in Central New York, the 4th child of a John Deere dealer.  Both businesses were family-owned and operated and place my roots solidly in New York State agriculture.  My husband and I raised our 2 children in Cornwall, NY where my shop is located, and where we still reside today.

Jared W. Nelson, PhD

Assistant Professor in the Sustainable Product Design & Innovation program at Keene State College

Jared has 20+ years’ experience in the fiber reinforced plastics industry and has become increasingly more interested in natural materials for use in composite and textile applications.  He continues to perform fiber related research under the mission of collaboratively establishing a comprehensive understanding of bio-industrial materials and their opportunities to facilitate value chain development from farmer to end-use.  

Kathy Ursem-Fogarty

Owner Midnight Mercantile LLC
BA Fashion Design, Kent State

Kathy Fogarty was raised in a small town outside Cleveland, OH.  When she graduated from Kent State University, she packed her bags and headed to New York City.  Kathy spent many years designing clothing in New York City’s garment district for several large and small companies. 

Kathy and her husband eventually left NYC to move closer to family in the Newburgh area.  As she settled in the area, and with the arrival of their son, Kathy wanted to work closer to home.  She knew there had to be a way to bring her creativity, love of beautiful natural fabrics, knowledge of the fashion industry and desire to create a locally-supported business she could call her own.  Kathy spent many a night knitting, sewing and weaving things that would be useful, beautiful, and good for the planet.  

Her company ‘Midnight Mercantile’ was born.  With the help of her dear friend, Gail, and lots of experimentation, Kathy began making 100% wool felt sheets that she made into bags, wreaths, and bottle cozies, and other decorative home products & accessories – giving new purpose to cast-off wool fiber that a local yarn mill was unable to process into yarn.  Her felting process does NOT use water or chemicals.  Kathy sources her core materials locally with businesses that pay fair wages to their employees.   

Lilly Marsh

Lilly Marsh Studios
Facebook: Lilly Marsh Studios
Instagram: @lillymarsh

Lilly Marsh has been fascinated by fiberart for decades, both as an active personal practice and as a technological process of identity in the cultural history of the twentieth century. Her early practice included keeping natural colored Corriedale sheep, and teaching spinning, and quickly grew to include hand weaving, hand and machine knitting, and dyeing.  Her knit wire sculptural work has been exhibited across the United States (and Canada).  Marsh was awarded her 2016 doctorate in American Studies at Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) for original research into 20th century American Hand knitting. Her dissertation “Knitting Rebellion:  Elizabeth Zimmermann, Identity and Craftsmanship in Post War America” was completed in August 2016.  Currently residing in Queensbury, NY, Marsh divides her time between a hand weaving and dye studio at the Shirt Factory in Glens Falls, NY, and a studio at her home. Her dissertation will be appearing as a book chapter late in 2017 and her current textile work is based in hand-dyed handwoven wearables and home décor.

Mary Jeanne Packer

Founder & President Battenkill Fibers Carding and Spinning Mill
BS Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MS Communications Management, Syracuse University

Mary Jeanne Packer is the president of Battenkill Fibers Carding and Spinning Mill, a fiber processing mill located in Greenwich, NY. Ms Packer founded the mill in 2009 to provide value-added, custom carding and spinning services for fiber farms and others; and to manufacture yarn and fiber products for wholesale and retail markets. The mill produces 100-150 lbs of artisan quality natural-colored and dyed semi-worsted yarn daily using refurbished traditional milling machinery. Battenkill Fibers brought a dozen new full time and part time jobs to rural Washington County, NY; and in 2015 was named the Washington County Small Business of the Year.

Ms Packer is also one of the founders and president of the farmer/producer-owned Southern Adirondack Fiber Producers Cooperative that hosted its 6th annual wool pool for the region’s sheep farmers in June 2016. The Coop offers annual fleece quality management workshops for farmers and 4-day Fiber Tours and Retreats for knitters and other fiber artists. Ms. Packer is secretary of the Empire Sheep Producers Association.In addition to her fiber interests, Ms. Packer is the founding partner in GWC, Inc., an integrated marketing communications firm that has served natural resources, agricultural, and experiential tourism industries and organizations across the US since 1995.

Tamera White

Wing & A Prayer Farm

Tamara White is shepherdess and proprietress of a production fiber flock and various agricultural, homestead arts, natural dyeing and baking enterprises at Wing & A Prayer Farm in Vermont. Her passions are advocating for wool and small farms, tending to her flocks and gardens, writing, fiber arts, and baking up a storm in her 4-oven kitchen.

Jim Powers

Wooly Meadow Farms

Jeffrey Silberman
Maple Shade Farm &
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

Jeffrey Silberman’s experience includes many years as a professor at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City, and served five successive terms as chairperson of the Textile Development and Marketing Department of the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology. He retired in January 2020. He is the co-owner of Maple Shade Farm in Katonah, New York, that produces natural fibers and dyes for academic research.   

Prof. Silberman is an international textile consultant specializing in natural fiber program development and demand enhancement strategy. From 2001-2016, he simultaneously served as consultant to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) Secretariat and as Executive Director to the International Forum for Cotton Promotion (IFCP). He has designed and implemented related development programs in more than fifteen countries, including Turkey, India, Armenia and Nepal; linen development programs throughout Russia, including the Vologda, Kaluga, Kostroma, and Yaroslavl oblasts; cashmere identity for the Mongolian Cashmere FibreMark Society in Ulaanbaatar. Prof. Silberman was a core member of the team that developed and launched the Egyptian Cotton Logo and Promotion Program (CottonEgypt) for the Government of Egypt. 

He is a winner of the Winrock Award for Service and Dedication for his work with Russian flax producers.

Meet the Advisory Council.