Try your hand at weaving at Artfest Kingston 2016! New this year, the love of weaving is rekindled and guided by handloom weavers and spinners! Where else can you learn this traditional craft but at Artfest Kingston? We are thrilled to offer a collection of activities for your enjoyment this Canada Day long weekend!
Artfest interviewed Dorothy Young from the The Kingston Handloom Weavers and Spinners (KHWS) guild, the very first craft organization in Ontario (started 68 years ago), and we learned many interesting things.
Starting from humble beginnings, gathering in member’s homes for sharing weaving news and problem solving, the guild has blossomed into a vibrant hub in the prestigious Tett Centre. The new high profile studio has been good for the guild as its membership has burgeoned. Not surprising really, thanks to the Canada-wide rekindled interest and appreciation for the timeless craft. “There is something that is very calming and almost meditative about working the loom,” Dorothy shared.
Weaving is considered a Slow Craft. It certainly has all the ingredients including: hand dying the yarns; designing the weaving patterns; warping - which is the placing of lengthwise fabric threads under tension in preparation for weaving; the actual weaving of the yarns onto the warp; the finishing - turning the woven web into a cohesive fabric by washing, drycleaning or brushing; and adding details to the completed projects - such as fringes, hemming techniques, knotting, sewing into clothing etc. Certainly not for those lacking patience!
The new weaving studio offers classes, demonstrations, a resource library, and most importantly, expert advice on projects. KHWS is known for its friendly atmosphere and its members welcome curious visitors anytime. They will be exhibiting at Artfest Kingston for the first time this year showing products of their craft and giving demonstrations.
Equipped with a sophisticated ventilation hood system and a dedicated dying kitchen, the KHWS studio is completely set up for any kind of weaving project. Several sizes of looms are in-house, including a 100” wide version suitable for any ambitious blanket maker. Looms are available for rent at the very low rate of $1 per hour.
Asked about what she loved about the guild, Dorothy quickly answered “The people.”
Any challenges for the guild? “ Space! Our membership has grown substantially since the new Tett Centre opening.”
What message would you like to tell our readers? “Come to Artfest to try your hand at weaving and spinning. It’s very rewarding.”