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Leamington District Weavers Guild
In 1952, with the help of the Ontario Craft Council, a group of 9 women organized the Leamington District Weavers Guild. Under the tutelage of Bunty Muff, they began their journey into the world of weaving. In the early years, the Guild met in member’s homes. As the membership grew, they used various public buildings, and finally in 1994, they were fortunate to have a room at the Leamington and Mersea Historical Museum. Here there was studio space for our library and looms, meetings and workshops.
Although weaving was the major focus of our group, several spinners joined our ranks over the years. Beading, basketry, rug hooking and many related crafts have also been the subject of meetings and workshops. On several occasions, we have woven on the 100 inch loom rented from the O.H.S. We also have given demonstrations at local fairs, schools, historic villages, and even in store windows! An annual weaving display is held at the museum each fall. We also cooperate with the museum at some of their special events – a good partnership. We celebrated our 50th.anniversary in 2002 by hosting the O.H.S. Southwest Regional Conference.
Our membership has consisted of people from all walks of life. The one common bond was weaving, yet each member brought their own special talent to the Guild. At the time of this writing, 2007, Marg Ross is our only charter member. She is still active and shares her wonderful creativity with us. We have had three life members, who went above and beyond the call of duty. One was Nell Steedsman. A master weaver and very active in the Guild of Canadian Weavers, she not only taught weaving, but transcribed her concise and clear explanations into a series of books. Her skill in weaving, and her desire to share her knowledge have been invaluable, not only to our guild, but to many others all across Canada. Eunice Anders was also a life member, and was very involved with the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners. She shared her talent at many of our programs and workshops. She will also be remembered for her three dimensional wall hangings, and her attention to detail and desire for perfection. Our third life member is Marg Cowan, who established a course for beginners. This she presented on a regular basis and encouraged many new weavers on their road to learning.
Another of our members, who cannot be forgotten, is Edith Bakes. She designed the Essex County tartan, which was registered in Scotland, and in Ottawa on June 20, 1984. This legacy is a lasting example of her talents.
Over the years, the guild acquired an excellent library. Much of it consists of material donated from long time members. The records and books of Nell Steedsman, Eunice Anders, Juel White and others are invaluable. We were fortunate to have Janet Ferguson sift through our collection, and organize it into a workable library.
There are so many more people who contributed to our guild over the years, each deserving of recognition in their own right. Our Guild has grown from the original 9 to 36 members, not only from Leamington, but also from all across Essex and Kent counties. We are aptly named the Leamington and District Weavers Guild.
Meetings are held September to June, the third Monday of each month, 1PM to 3PM at the
Leamington and Mersea Historical Museum
121 Essex Road 14, Blytheswood, Ontario