History

 

The Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo, Inc was founded in 1968.  When the charter members first

met, almost all had been students of Ruth Howard.  Her classes were held at the Kalamazoo Museum through the Adult Education Department of the Kalamazoo Public Schools.  She was a great teacher of basic weaving techniques.

 

Meetings were held in the Kalamazoo Museum and the members created their own programs as each presented what they had learned to the others.  Until the group became so large it was no longer feasible, the members shared their work and exchanged handwoven samples.  Communication between members went through the secretary, who was provided with self-addressed post cards from each member.  The Four Harness Study Group was formed at the beginning and became so large it was difficult to find homes big enough to accommodate the group.  Efforts to establish a second Four Harness Group, or to split the present one into two groups was unpopular.  Everyone enjoyed the camaraderie of the entire group.

 

After a time other study groups were formed: Spinning, Moonbeamers, Multi-Harness, Knitting and Computer.  Mini workshops were organized to teach special techniques and interests, still led by members of the Guild, who worked very hard to learn something and wanted to share it.  Scholarships were provided for members to attend other workshops, and their 'payback' was to share with the membership what they had learned.

 

As the membership increased, larger meeting spaces were found, a constitution and by-laws were developed, fiber artists from all over the country were contracted to provide programs, and in 1992, the guild incorporated.

 

From the beginning the annual Sale/Exhibit (now known as the Weavers and Fiber Artists Sale) has supported the Guild's educational activities.  The high quality of workmanship of the creative and beautiful fiber art offered for sale continues to bring customers back year after year.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
  • Countless programs, workshops and study groups in weaving, spinning, basketry, batik, beading, braiding, color and design, dyeing, felting, papermaking and stitchery, to name a few!

  • Exhibits at Handweavers Guild of America conventions and Michigan League of Handweavers biennial conferences, Boston Weavers Guild, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Kalamazoo College, Western Michigan University, at the opening of the Kalamazoo Mall, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Battle Creek Civic Art Center, at Jacobson's for Flowerfest, the Antiques Fair, the Michigan Home Economics Meet, Portage Public Library and many more.

  • Notable Exhibits were the sumptuous Sultan, the Valentine Traveling Exhibit, the Hanging at the Kalamazoo YWCA, and the Rumplestiltskin panels.

  • Demonstrations in school classrooms, Scout meetings, The Kalamazoo County Fair, Fiberfest, DeLano Homestead, the 1976 Bicentennial, and at many more local organizations and events.

  • The Annual Sale and Exhibit for the general public, at the YWCA, Knights of Columbus Hall, Upjohn House, Kalamazoo Center, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and currently at the Kalamazoo Expo Center.

  • Contributions for the Festival of Trees auctions, Fashion shows at the Black Swan.

  • Monetary Fiber Art Prize for the Area Show at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Fiberfest, Michigan League of Handweavers biennial conference.

  • Assisting individual weavers in the community, at the Kalamazoo State Hospital and warping looms for schools and camps, providing monetary support for public school fiber art programs.

  • Organized trips to Chicago for the Judy Chicago 'Dinner Party' Exhibit; and to Eaton Rapids, Ann Arbor, Three Rivers, Grand Rapids, and many more.

  • Yearbooks accented with handwoven swatches have delighted the membership for years.