Learn how prairie history and Saskatchewan fibre artists are entwined
The exhibition Prairie Woven features weaving by Saskatchewan artists – both traditional works and contemporary pieces. These artworks are inspired by the weaving drafts of Oscar Bériau’s book, Home Weaving, which was used by the students of the Searle Grain Weaving program. The Searle Grain Company Weaving program taught weaving to nearly 800 prairie women starting in the 1940s.
Oscar Bériau was a significant force in weaving in Canada during the 1930s and 1940s. The Searle Grain Company, directed by Augustus Searle, wanted to improve the life of their farmers during the Depression and war years. With Bériau’s help, the Searle Grain Company program of weaving instruction revived weaving throughout the prairies. The program provided education, resources, community, and a measure of independence for isolated prairie women. Looms were provided and left in the communities at no cost to participants after the program was completed.
The craft of weaving is thousands of years old — every civilization and culture has fabric and textiles unique to them. Learn more about this province’s weaving tradition and how it carries on today in functional and fine craft pieces. Prairie Woven: From Utilitarian Roots to Contemporary Art celebrates our history through archival displays and the creations of present-day Saskatchewan’s textile artists.
Join us at a public Reception on Friday, September 22, from 7 to 9 pm. There will be a public Lecture by spinner, weaver, and historian Mary Underwood on Saturday, September 23, at 2 pm. All are welcome!
Every Saturday in October, between 1 and 4 pm, there will be free, public demonstrations of spinning and weaving (on a loom installed in the SCC gallery).
The Regina Weavers and Spinners Guild, on behalf of the Saskatchewan Weavers and Spinners, warmly invites you to join in a prairie fibre celebration. Register to join fibre artists of all skill levels from across the prairies. Take part in an exciting fibre fellowship that will freshly inspire you to chase your passion for weaving, spinning, felting and the many connected methods. Learn new techniques from qualified instructors from here and across Canada.
Terri Bibby of Saltspring Soari will inspire us with her Saori weaving.
Carol James of Sashweaver will enlighten us with the ancient technique of Sprang.
Plus several exciting local instructors with great topics.
Our Theme – “Renewal” is bubbling up of new life. Across our great province, we are experiencing a resurgence of interest in the practices of spinning and weaving. We want to illuminate this renewal as we gather together and highlight this new energy being injected into our traditional crafts. Our goal is to celebrate our love for this art and to propel them forward for years to come, giving them another well-deserved time to shine. Think new growth, a cultivation and care for these crafts, just as a seed flourishes with sun, shower and healthy soil.
We hope you find kinship and solidarity amongst so many talented passionate people.
Thank you to all who came out to our mini retreat on April 30th. It was a great success with full classes in spinning and weaving. Special big thanks to Sharon of Golden Willow who brought beautiful fibres to tempt us (and it worked!) Kathleen had some weaving supplies for sale for those who needed to stock up on their stash to continue their new skills they learned.
Thank you also to the Sherwood Village Library who provided us with all the supplies participants used and also a great space to hold our day of fibre! We hope to host more days like this in the future :)
Last but not least, thank you to our instructors and helpers. We are lucky to have so much experience in our guild and members who are willing to share their passion for fibre.
I’ve been a guild member for two years. I’ve wanted to be a guild member for much longer but didn’t live near a fibre guild. I also had no idea how to connect with others who might like to share their love of fibery things. Once I moved to a city, I decided I would definitely seek out and join the local guild. Guilds sounded like such a great idea – a group of fibre enthusiasts getting together regularly to do fibre-related things. What could be better?
Ours is the Regina Weavers and Spinners Guild.
Some of our members do one or the other; some do both, some do neither. When I joined, I was a
frustrated spinner wannabe, more a knitter and spinning spectator. I was looking for some inspiration to get me over my beginner angst and actually into the world of spinning. (It worked, in case you were
When talking to guild members, many say they joined because they were looking for fellowship with other creative people, those with a tendency towards the fibre arts. It’s nice to be around fibre friends. Sometimes, people who don’t spin or weave don’t really understand why we get excited talking about warp and weft, twist and ply, colour and texture. In a guild, we can come to a meeting or an event and be among those who don’t think we’re crazy for wanting to dye fibre/fabric in the sun or spin 20
kilometres of yarn to weave a cloak. Well, not too crazy, anyway.
Others say they come to guild meetings for inspiration. Each month we have a show and tell
portion where members share what they’ve been working on. The favourite part of the evenings for many, it’s easy to get creative fires burning when seeing what is lighting up the world of other
enthusiasts. I decided to learn how to knit lace after seeing the amazing lace work of knitters in our
Our guild also has a program portion of the evenings when members share resources, teach techniques and theory, provide insight into methods, discuss new interests, or present recent individual learning experiences. We also have guest speakers make presentations in their areas of expertise. Talk about getting motivated in new ways!
We also do things outside our meetings.
Dye days can be a lot of fun, as well as a great way to learn from fellow members. We can experiment with different materials, and share what we know
about colour. A pilgrimage to the city’s annual artists market to demonstrate and promote our guild is a great spring outing, and a chance to talk to others about what we do. A monthly project night, open to all fibre enthusiasts whether in the guild or not, lets us share our knowledge and passion with those just getting started. We get to discuss different aspects of our interests, interact casually without disrupting a
meeting, and explore new avenues of fibre and creativity. There is also the excuse to celebrate together at a Christmas potluck and the June year-end
Another exhilarating highlight in the guild calendar is our annual fall sale. This event rouses us to organize ourselves, support each other, and promote our guild in completely different ways. We open our proverbial doors to the public, welcoming them in to see what we do. It’s also a wonderful focus for fashioning unique, one-of-a-kind items for sale. For many, it takes our designing to a whole new level, seeking to be original and beautiful in exciting ways. I know I’ve spent a lot of time planning, making and talking about the sale this summer.
So what does a guild ask of you in return for all the fun, fellowship and inspiration? Being a member of our guild takes as much commitment as a person feels they can give. If you want to come to monthly meetings, see what everyone is working on, maybe stay for some tea and program, then welcome. If you want to volunteer to organize an event or sit on the executive, then welcome. If you want to teach
a program, sharing what you know about your craft, then welcome. Whatever you bring to guild, the guild will welcome you and appreciate
In the end, no matter our reasons for joining, staying or contributing, coming together to build great relationships and create wondrous handmade items is really the point of any guild. If you look at life in the same way, building great relationships and creating wondrous things applies everywhere. So seek out inspiration and fellowship wherever you can find it because,
according to C.S. Lewis, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”