Keeping Tradition Alive: Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild
As the cold winter months draw ever nearer, we are reminded of the reoccurring changes that must again take place within our households, which includes digging out the winter clothing. Warmer clothes are always a welcome once the daytime and nighttime temperatures begin to dip. Here at the Thunder Bay Country Market, we have plenty of artisans who are here to help you prepare for the winter months, including this week’s feature vendor, The Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild, who are back with a host of warm winter indoor and outdoor wear.
The Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild has been keeping traditions alive for over 50 years. Since the early 1960’s, spinners and weavers have gotten together to help each other unravel the mysteries of weaving, which is where The Guild first began. Since then, The Guild has become a well-respected, non-profit charity made up of volunteers who love to keep up the traditions of spinning, weaving, and dyeing all types of wool and fibres.
The Guild was not only established for their own enjoyment, however. Many classes and teachings are held for those interested in learning the art of spinning and weaving. Teaching is held at their Guild Room on 330 Toivo Street, more so during the winter months. They welcome anyone interested in taking a class by leaving your name and information at The Guild’s table. You will then be placed on a waiting list for any given courses (also see their Facebook page for more info on classes). Once warmer weather rolls around, you’ll find members of The Guild out and about at many local and regional events, showcasing their work as well as the process of weaving and spinning. Events include the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition (inside the Dove Building), Murillo Fair and Hymers Fair, and the Baggage Building Arts Centre at Marina Park. They enjoy working on-site so that interested viewers have the chance to view the old traditions of spinning and weaving. In fact, in 1989, the Guild purchased a 120 inch Floor Loom which is still in use today for beautiful coverlets and rugs.
The Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild has been showcasing and selling their works at the market seasonally for the past three years, but has recently taken up shop full-time. Many times you will see a weaver or spinner on hand, demonstrating the process to market shoppers on market days. You’ll also find a host of beautiful handmade woven, spun, knitted, or felted garments & household items. From scarves to socks and mittens to shawls, such items make a great gift around this time of year. Currently their most popular items include woven rugs followed by knitted & felted winter wear – hats, headbands, mitts & socks, woven & knitted scarves. Located on the second floor, there is no shortage of beautifully-created items on-hand.
The work of The Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild has certainly become a form of art amidst today’s fast-paced and technologically-advanced world. It’s old traditions such as these that bring us back that grassoots feeling, as well as many fond memories of a past life. Come out and see for yourself, the tradition that The Guild has kept alive!
For more information, please get in contact with any of the members. They are a wealth of knowledge. Visit their website here.