By Robbie LaFleur

Recently, the Textile Center decided to feature information about and work of their member guilds through a series of “Guild Wall” exhibits.  This new showcase is on the long wall near the kitchen in the back hall, the one that formerly featured coat hooks. The Weavers Guild was invited to be the first featured organization, so we scrambled to set it up in time for the festivities connected with the Textile Center’s five-day series of events, “Fiber Art: Creating Ties that Bind.”  Happily, several of our instructors stepped up to the plate with works to display. Susan Larson Fleming and Beth McLaughlin and I met on a Friday to plan the display.  Susan scrounged for an attractive artifact on which to display a band, and also discovered reeds and a shuttle to hang other pieces.  A Textile Center board member, examining the wall after a lecture, came into the Guild to tell us how happy she was with the display, and that we set the bar high for the guilds that will follow us.

Thank you to the people whose works are highlighted. Donna Hansen has a cotton sheeting rug in reverse twill and rosepath.  She chose the colors of spring, with the “flowers” of the rosepath blooming. Flowers also grace Traudi Bestler’s tapestry, and her colors bridge to the deep purples in Wynne Mattila’s long wool Finnish Raanu.  

One of Keith Pierce’s two bands is “Ouroboros,” a depiction of a dragon devouring its own tale, which appears in myths worldwide. The other is a band woven on an inkle loom using traditional pick-up techniques of Scandinavian and Baltic regions.

No colors were specified when requesting pieces, so it was serendipitous and amazing that the color paths worked so well as a group.  We certainly didn’t ask for colors used in a mohawk in the logo of “Shocktop” beer, which are what Kala used in her beautiful silk scarf. Carol Johnson’s nearby scarf also has orange colors.  We asked Carol to pick a something woven on a rigid heddle loom, since many Weavers Guild students have learned to weave beautiful items in the simplest of plain weaves in Carol’s classes.  

How could we represent the dye classes?  Susan remembered a wheel of hand-dyed yarn in a cupboard.  And thanks to Doreen Hartzell, a fat hook of various dyed and natural color handspan yarn is hung (too high for squeezing by curious viewers).   It’s an enticing display, and remember–you can make any of the items, with a class from talented WGM teachers.

Finally, we needed to add an explanation of the Guild and its activities, for all the Textile Center visitors who may not know about us.  Below is the text in the center of the wall.  Stop by to see the wall soon; you have about six weeks.

Weavers Guild of Minnesota
Preserving and advancing the arts of weaving, spinning, and dyeing.

Since its founding in 1940 by six women, including Hilma Berglund, the Weavers Guild of Minnesota has established itself as a nationally-recognized resource for the arts of weaving, spinning, and dyeing. The Guild offers classes and events year round, serving nearly 700 new and experienced fiber artists each year.

WGM reaches over 500 members annually, with “The Draft” e-newsletter; lectures, special events, and potluck gatherings; exhibition opportunities; and other special members’ only benefits (such as equipment rental). Programs on weaving, spinning, dyeing and other fiber arts are presented by guest speakers at monthly meetings, which are free and open to the public.  Fiber Fair, the annual Weavers Guild members-only sale, is held each October at the Northrup King Building.

The Weavers Guild has a national reputation for quality, accessible programming. The classrooms in this building buzz with classes and workshops, offered year-round, to stimulate the interest and artistic development of new weavers, spinners, and dyers. To meet the needs of fiber enthusiasts at all levels, the year-round curriculum includes: a variety of “Try It!,” one day classes, which guide students through introductory projects; a core curriculum of beginning courses, which focus on the fundamentals of weaving, spinning, and dyeing; and master classes and advanced workshops, which focus on learning specific techniques and deepening artistic expression.

The Weavers Guild includes several interest groups that help weavers and spinners at all levels of experience with inspiration and education. Topics including spinning, new weavers, small loom weaving, rag rugs, dobby, draw loom, and Scandinavian weaving.

Visit the Weavers Guild (it’s right around the corner), take a class, buy yarn, attend a program, Join! A reduced price for members 30 and under ($25/year) helps WGM reach the next generation of weavers, spinners, and dyers.