Join Our Story of Support

This week, we launch our fall campaign in the midst of a world of uncertainty. 

Covid-19 is challenging WGM like never before, affecting what type of services we are able to provide and how people use and access them. From how we deliver classes to when and “where” our interest groups meet, there is not a single aspect of our guild that hasn’t been shaped by the pandemic. With reduced grant opportunities, fewer class offerings, and slower sales in the shop, WGM is facing a long road back to any sense of recovery.

However, what has come out of this uncertain time is a reminder of the resiliency and strength of our organization. This summer, through the endeavours of our Board, committees, and staff, the Weavers Guild reinvisioned how we serve our community and implemented a series of changes. Our most important efforts have been to reimagine our classes and pivot to digital programming, for the safety of our faculty and students. 

This month, we piloted an online version of “Beginning Rigid Heddle Loom Weaving,” one of our most popular in-person classes. As students dropped by WGM to excitedly pick up their looms and select for their first project, the enthusiasm of these beginning students was evident. The glow of the anticipation of learning reminds us all why the guild and our mission to educate is so essential, especially now.

At this time, we must secure funds to ensure our operations can continue, including funds for employing our driven staff (who make our programming possible!), securing our classroom and store spaces, and yes, to support continued innovation. In recognition of the absolute need for support of the Weavers Guild, members of WGM’s Board of Directors will match up to the first $8,500 donated by our community.

Our goal is to raise $35,000 by November 20. We ask you today to make a donation in any amount to support the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. 

With gratitude,

–Linda Soranno, Board President, on behalf of the Board of Directors

–Karin Knudsen, Operations Manager, & Betsy Konop, Education Manager

Online gifts can be made securely with a credit card or PayPal account by clicking the “Donate” button above.

Call 612-436-0463 to contribute over the phone between 11am and 3pm, Tuesday through Saturday. You may also mail your contribution to: Weavers Guild of Minnesota, 3000 University Ave SE., Minneapolis, MN 55414.

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Keith’s Story

“What I really love to do is learn about some technique somewhere around the world. The latest one I’m studying is a band weaving technique that’s only practiced in a small region in southern Estonia bordering Latvia. There, the weavers use a supplementary weft technique that as far as I can tell is unique around the world. Banditos gives me a platform where I can share with other members what I’ve learned. It energizes me to try new techniques.” –instructor and Board member, Keith Pierce

As a guild, our mission is to preserve and advance the arts of weaving, spinning and dyeing. Concerned that the skills of weaving and spinning would be lost in a post-industrial world, WGM’s founding members dedicated themselves to learning and passing on the specialized knowledge of these fiber arts, a practice that continues to this day. Today, weaving and spinning are thriving in our community, thanks to our members’ willingness to share what they know. Through formal classes, small group meetings, and person-to-person exchanges, members offer their expertise. There is always a new generation of learners who benefit from the deep knowledge held in our guild.

Meet Keith, a retired mathematics professor. Keith leads the WGM Banditos interest group, which is dedicated to exploring the specialized techniques of band or card weaving. Like other small study groups supported by the guild, the Banditos meet monthly (currently over Zoom), allowing the group to exchange ideas, share their successes, troubleshoot their failures, and get to know other members in an authentic and meaningful way.
Keith taught himself to weave in the 1970s from a book and he carried his interest in weaving for 40 years–moving two inkle looms and a bag of yarn from state to state–before finding a community of like-minded explorers and appreciators at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota.
His exploration of indigenous weaving traditions mirrors the guild’s commitment to ensuring that the knowledge of these and other practices endures. As Keith reminds us, “In the late 1970s and early 80s, the guild was a hotbed of study of South and Central American indigenous weaving. Out of it came handbooks like ‘The Art of Bolivian Highland Weaving’ and ‘Double Woven Treasures from Old Peru.’ For the people who are interested in these topics, they are among the definitive works.” Guild members were key in their creation, as many worked through sample directions before the books’ publications.
Advancing educational efforts and the preservation of knowledge continues today. This summer, members of the Banditos tested instructions for a weaving technique called Andean pebble weave after their group welcomed a new member who wanted to present it over Zoom. Living in Bolivia, she is now successfully teaching the technique to others.
At the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, we’re proud of our commitment to preserve weaving, spinning and dyeing, and to keep them alive and thriving. Your support makes sharing and maintaining our community knowledge possible, now and into the future.

Sarah’s Story

“The Weavers Guild is focused on these three things–spinning, weaving, and dyeing–that are intimately connected. Their existence is both so simple, just twisting a fiber to make yarn, and yet form the foundation of many technologies and products that we take for granted, including computers! But at the end of the day, it all goes back to ‘somebody twisted something.'” –member Sarah Nassif

At the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, we believe weaving, spinning and dyeing are fundamental to the human experience. Our mission is to preserve and advance the arts of weaving, spinning and dyeing, but we know that they wouldn’t exist without the curiosity and ingenuity of the people practicing them, now and throughout history. From the beginning of human experience, weaving, spinning and dyeing were carried out all across the globe. Our guild was founded in 1940 to ensure that the knowledge and practices would continue and there would be space for all to learn and explore. When you donate to WGM, you’re investing in the whole of human history, twisted in a thread.
Meet Sarah Nassif, one of our members. Sarah joined WGM a few years ago to re-start weaving and reconnect with her interest in fiber. Not only did Sarah rekindle her passion, but like so many of our members, she found personal connection to the deep well of human experience that weaving, spinning and dyeing represent. “It feels like a connection to the history of all craft in a way: This is how people started working with their hands. All those incremental aspects and advancements of weaving, spinning, and dyeing are profound and humanizing. You can explore all the ways fiber is a foundation for survival, and beyond that, art, technology, and human connection by being a part of the Guild.”
Through her explorations of craft as a professional artist, Sarah created an interactive project where people could try their hand at weaving for the first time: “Weaving Water” is about bringing a loom to an unexpected venue, like a riverside park, and having people connect with a tool that isn’t ubiquitously available. I have engaged little kids, older adults, distracted people, people who were reluctant, and those who were eager to experience a minute at my loom. Everybody who sits down and tosses the shuttle once or twice soon exclaims, “This is amazing! It’s so relaxing!!”’ The hand motions of weaving can feel weirdly familiar and seem to unlock something deep inside us.”
Today, Sarah supports WGM by championing our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee and by serving on the Board of Directors. Her efforts ensure that the Weavers Guild will continue to create opportunities for people to connect with the history of human experience.