Memo to Members

April 1, 2020

Best wishes to all at this challenging time … may I wish you all good health, and lots of funny videos.

Instead of sending the memo in the usual form, I thought I would just write a brief note, but with an important attachment: Alberta Craft Council requested an article about the history of HWSDA … they wanted 500 words, I think we kept it to about 530!  The article will be in the May ACC magazine, so attached is a preview….HWSDA History

I have to say that as the drafts went back and forth (Lois, Norma, Gayle, Judy K, Lyn, and Judy S) I had a sense of amazement that we had accomplished so much for our members, by our members.   HWSDA was the best possible example of a volunteer-run organisation, and I hope that we will all remain proud of what we all did together.

Also, I had this email from Val Pheneuf and friends:

“I challenged, like I do every year, Joyce Hurl whilst we were on our way to Convergence in Prince George. We stopped at the Ancient Forest and were completely WOWed by the beauty, took a gazillion pictures.  My challenge for Joyce & myself was to create something from the inspiration of the Ancient Forest.   Now Joyce & I were not traveling alone;  Marge Gray, Dorothy Robinson, and Andrea Bachelor were with us, the challenge morphed to everyone.  Then we arrived in Prince George and were excitedly talking about the beauty of the Ancient Forest and the challenge. The challenge morphed onto Siri McCormick, Norma Westcott, Coleen Nimetz and many others whom I don’t know and live in the States & all over ….

 My dilemma was where would we showcase our Ancient Forest creations, especially now with social distancing? Then I thought of The Memo.  Would you be okay with us sending you our photos of our inspiration from the Ancient Forest, the story and photos of our creations?

 I’m tossing the deadline of our creations to be completed around the end of June.  I haven’t heard back yet from my “Challenged Group” as to an agreed completion date, but thought I’d pass my idea onto you for feedback. Is the Memo a place for our “virtual show”?”

I can’t imagine a better place for this “virtual show”… so we will look forward to it at a later date.   BUT I was wondering if there were other ideas out there to add to this super project?  (we could use this email as a thread, perhaps…)

All the best from Lyn

From the WebMaster:

The HWSDA website will disappear the end of May (when our renewal is due) so if you want to keep copies of the newsletters or the list of the library books (with their call numbers) in the Olds Library, you should print them out in the next two months.

March 1, 2020

1. From Judy and Lynn

This was received from Jenna Stanton at the Alberta Craft Council: “We can definitely let your members know that the two of you, representing HWSDA, [a representative from] the Craft Council, and the expert Endowment Fund team from ECF [Edmonton Community Foundation] are developing the endowment and the terms… and that we look forward to letting them know more of the specific details as the process develops over the next few months.  I m hoping to have it sorted, and an article in our next magazine, announcing everything.   So hopefully we can work towards that goal, the next magazine is out in May.

2. Alberta Craft Council


In the meantime, the ACC in Calgary has been showing their support for focal fibre arts by inviting Sheep Creek Weavers to their gallery space.  Members of the guild participated in interactive demonstrations and make-and-takes on two Saturday mornings (Feb 1st and upcoming March 7th) to coincide with the venue’s year-round Farmers Market.





Coincidentally at the moment they have fibre art represented in the exhibition Cultivate | Instigate, showing work of influential creatives at the forefront of post- secondary craft education in Alberta. The artists in this exhibition balance the dual roles of educator and professional practicing artist; Mackenzie Kelly-Frère, Bill Morton, and Laura Vickerson represent the Fibre Department of Alberta University of the Arts, Calgary.   The show is on until March 21.

The Alberta Craft Gallery – Calgary (1721 – 29 Avenue SW, Suite #280) is in the renovated cSPACE King Edward Arts Hub located in the inner-city neighborhood of South Calgary near Marda Loop. Visit for original exhibitions and fabulous shopping.

HOURS: Wednesday – Friday 11am-5pm

3. Also to see in Calgary

The discipline of constructing, Jolie Bird, from January 17 – March 6, Stride Gallery Main Space, 1006 Macleod Tr SE, TUE – SAT 12-6PM

“an ode to the process of making, the cadences of intimacy between the artist, her tools, and materials.                                       

The exhibition collates weavings, textile installation, in-gallery performances,and idea and skill sharing

with the community.”




At the Glenbow two shows that opened February 22:

Dynamix Connections: Threads of Living Memory

Drawing on Glenbow’s Inuit textiles collection and loans from across Canada, objects and artworks are manifestations of the dynamic connections between the makers, the viewers, the land, the spirit world and future generations of memory makers.


Aganetha Dyck

Beeswax, humour and social commentary are the key ingredients that bind together this selection of art by the senior Canadian artist and feminist icon.


New fabric store – RICK RACK Textiles
A garment-focused sewing shop with a passion for inspiring makers with a great selection of fabrics, indie patterns, accessories and workshops.  They are a sister store to STASH Lounge.
Located at 1317 9th Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0T2 TeL: 403-263-8088. Info at

4. Happenings at the Sheep Creek Weavers

We have a fabulous new website, please check us out at or on Facebook.

On May 21, 22 we will host a workshop on ikat dyeing, with Mackenzie Kelly-Frere.  Updated information will be posted on the website.

Millarville Fair Fleece to Shawl is in the planning stages, and we hoping to issue application forms by the end of this month.  This is such a happy crow-pleaser, and has been a part of the Fair on many occasions since the mid-70’s.

5. Wild Rose Fibreshed!

An amazing event just happened here in Alberta… our first Alberta Fibreshed.   So run, don’t walk, to Facebook and Search for Wild Rose Fibreshed.

For those who already have an interest, you will be thrilled to hear the news.  If you have not heard of this movement, please go to to find out its background.

Briefly, Fibreshed is a California non-profit corporation, formed 20 years ago, out of concern for textile sustainability and the health of related agricultural and manufacturing activities.  “Its goal was to illuminate that regionally grown fibers, natural dyes, and local talent was still in great enough existence to provide this most basic human necessity—our clothes.  Within months, the project became a movement, and the word Fibershed and the working concept behind it spread to regions across the globe. Burgess founded Fibershed’s 501c3 to address and educate the public on the environmental, economic and social benefits of de-centralizing the textile supply chain.”

6. Additions from the WebMaster:


RoseCity FibreFest 
The very first RoseCity FibreFest will be held in Camrose on Saturday, May 23, 2020. There is still room for a few more vendors. Here is a list of current vendors. There will be workshops (from 10-1pm and 2-5 pm) and vendors. They are on Facebook. Contact


Camrose & District Craft Centre

We have a new location! Our previous location will be demolished in the spring so we moved in February. We now are located in the large Rosehaven building and have the entire 4th floor of the building-room for potters, woodworkers and, of course, weaving. Best news – we will be paying the same rent amount as before. We are warping our looms and starting projects. We will be doing Strickler #728 for tea towels on the 16 shaft dobby loom. Other projects include scarves, ponchos and more towels. Come visit and we will show off our new digs!


The HWSDA website is still active. Items are being posted on the For Sale page. Be sure to check it out.

September 22, 2019

The minutes from the September 22, 2019 Special General Meeting are on the Strategic Planning page. HWSDA will be joining the Alberta Craft Council.

September 2019

1. From the President

I hope everyone has had a lovely summer.  The HWSDA Working Group had a busy few months and as of last Sunday, have sent out packages regarding the Reinvention Options that the membership mandated us to look into at the AGM.

Please look closely at this document along with all the attached working group documents from our meetings.  Again, the 3 options that you will be voting on have come directly from the research from the past year, and I encourage you to read through the documents so you have a full picture of how we came to these final options.

The Special General Meeting (SGM) to vote on which of these options you as a membership would like to put in place, takes place on

Date: Sunday, September 22    Time:  1:00 pm

Location: Tin Roof Fibre Studio –  Priddis, Alberta.

RSVP: By September 15th your intention to attend to Judy Sysak at

We need you to either attend the meeting or send your proxies by mail or with a member/friend that is attending so we again, can have as much of the membership represented in this vote.

If you have any questions at all, please contact one of the executive members – we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on the 22nd.

2. Visiting Instructors

Denise Kovnat was here in July and her workshops were very popular… and she is a pleasure to have as a guest instructor”   Edmonton Weavers Guild. Denise was also much appreciated by Sheep Creek Weavers and Crocus Fibre Arts Guild.   Thank you to Mary Telfer for the pictures from the Crocus workshop  (the last by Dave Connelly)

Gladys Paulus was here from UK in July… she taught at Red Deer College, for Series (summer school), and for Sheep Creek Weavers and Edmonton Weavers Guild.   She was a wonderful teacher, and her students produced amazing work.

Gladys too was a joy to be with… and our thanks go to EWG for sorting out the problems with her  tax payments .

These are from her “Masks” workshop in Edmonton:

The Fleece to Shawl competition at the Millarville Fair this year produced some amazing shawls.  We removed the time element from the competition, and the 4 teams were able to concentrate on the quality of the carding, spinning and weaving.  The Sheep Creek Weavers thank all the teams, two from our guild, and one from Heritage Weavers and one from Crocus Fibre Arts Guild.

Some news from FSWG:        with thanks to Gayle Vallance

On July 21st the Fernie Spinners and Weavers Guild put on a Shibori workshop in co-ordination with the local Museum’s display of Geisha Kimonos.   5 Guild members instructed members of the public, and although it was only 3 hours long, 15 participants each produced 4 indigo-dyed shibori (stitched, tied, clamped, folded) samples.   We worked outside the museum on a paved parking area with a tent to protect us from the sun and wind.    Because of the short time, we had to be well-organized, and we got everything done and cleared up within the 3 hours.

We plan to do a shibori/indigo demonstration at the local Fall Fair on September 22nd.   We are hoping this will generate new memberships in the Guild.

Our Guild is also planning a tapestry workshop in October.  We are using the talents of a local member to teach us tapestry basics, and one of our members, who is a woodworker,  is building small portable tapestry looms for member purchase.

Through our workshops, we are hoping to provide a large number of projects for display in a Gallery show scheduled for May, 2020, in the Fernie Museum.

 INSTRUCTORS PROPOSED FOR   NEXT YEAR:    Gladys Paulus, Inge Dam (painted warps and tablet weaving)

Please let me know whom your guild would like to bring in, and I will make a list of all guild workshop coordinators and circulate the names.

Please note that I would love to coordinate major workshops and to publicise them, but I need to find a volunteer who would enjoy to look after the details of “importing” instructors.   EWG has learned lots re instructors coming from UK, but we could really use someone who would be willing to do the research concerning visas, tax arrangements etc. so that we could handle people from anywhere in the world.

June 2019

1. Annual General Meeting

The AGM was held June 1st in Calgary with 23 people attending and 22 proxy forms submitted–constituting a quorum. The executive had worked astonishingly hard to ensure that attendees remained focused and clear so the meeting went as smooth as silk.

Going Forward – Lynne Cowe Falls presented a summary of the work done to date concerning the structure of the guild. (Check the Moving Forward presentation on the Strategic Planning page.) Members then cast ballots to choose one of the three options presented: to dissolve, keep in its present form, or to reinvent the guild. The meeting voted to reinvent by a margin of 2:1. The present executive will stay in place for the next 6 months, to ensure continuity as we explore what this decision will mean. They will come up with a broad plan to present to the membership on September 21 (location to be determined), for ratification. The relevant information will be sent out to each member by August 21. There was some discussion about various aspects of these decisions, but the meeting remained very focused-a tribute to Judy and the executive. The need for all of us to think clearly about the purpose of the guild was raised as was the responsibility, particularly of the “reinvent” voters, to participate in the process…an essential ingredient of ratification of the  plan.

2. Archiving our records

Boxes of records, including copies of thesis from our spinning and weaving programs, have been lanquishing in Norma Westcott’s garage for anumber of years (traditionaly kept by the librarian). Norma approached the Provincial Archives of Alberta, who will be very pleased to receive these documents, and the meeting voted to donate to them the HWSDA documents from 1974-2012. This will be an ongoing process. Call from Norma to all members: Call for HWSDA records. What we have done matters! This is from Tom Anderson of the Provincial Archives:

“We are eager to acquire records that document what you have done, and we look for material like board/executive records, committee records, administrative files, newsletterss, retreat or course educational masterial, event and AGM records, photos grant and scholarship records, basicaly anything that captures what you do and how. Anything from the 1970’s until the present is welcome.”

Check your studios, basement, garages. If you were involved in any part of HWSDA activities and still have the original records for these, please contact Norma Westcott to arrange transfer. Thanks!

3. Fibre Fair, Olds College

Because we make a financial contribution to Fibre Week activities, we have a table at the Fibre Fair from July 5 to 8, and we need some volunteers to be present for a few hours to answer questions about HWSDA, and to take names for a mailing list. The table is in the Merchant Mall, a prime location to spend time for a fibre enthusiast!! Please contact Lynne Cowe Falls for information, we need your help.

4. Visiting Instructors

Denise Kovnat was in Alberta for 3 weeks, during which time she taught at 4 guilds, teaching 5 workshops and giving 2 lectures.She was exciting, informative, inspiring, challenging, and fun! and she added to the weaving expertise of over 100 Alberta weavers. For a year with no conference, this seems a good result.

Janine Jones, Tracy LaRose, Ellen Kovar (pictured below) from Denise Kovnat’s website.





And now it is time to think about next year. I would love to hear suggestions, because to share an instructor means sharing both costs and organization. (I wouild also like to hear from you with suggestions for improvements in the organization of the event.)

P.S. Gladys Paulus will be in Alberta in July and our felters are all looking forward to her workshops with huge excitement! See the Upcoming Courses/Events page for information.

5. The Alberta Craft Council Deadline for Entry: June 1 2019 June 3, 2019

The Alberta Craft Council is calling for exhibition proposals for the 2020 line-up at the Alberta Craft Discovery Gallery. It is going to be an exciting year, as we begin programming for the Alberta Craft Council’s 40th Anniversary, and Craft Year 2020 the nation-wide celebration of craft organized by the Canadian Crafts Federation and Provincial Craft Councils.

The Exhibition Team is looking for fully-developed exhibitions and themes that highlight mastery in craftsmanship, feature new work, push the boundaries of craft, and/or celebrate the achievements of our members. Our public exhibition galleries are dedicated to showcasing work by emerging, mid-career, and established craft artists. The proposals can be for individual or group shows.

6. Heritage Weavers 40th Anniversary

Congratulations from all of us on this important occasion…and our thanks to Heritage Weavers for inviting the members of all guilds to attend Denise Kovnat’s lecture as part of their celebration. Great leture, inspiring examples and wonderful food what more is there?

Some of us attended their celebratory brunch before the HWSDA AGM and enjoyed seeing their 40-mile coat which was revealed at the end of the fashion show. (webmaster)







7. Glenbow Museum to show the amazing work of Nick Cave – June 29 – September 22, 2019

Nick Cave is a maker of beautiful, provocative, socially enagaged work-he is probably best known for his “sound suits” and if that sounds intriquing I suggest you check him out!


At the same time there is another exhibition that sounds interesting to fibre enthusiasts: Second Skin June 29-Sept 15. This is an exhibition of contemporary art that features work by the five Canadian artists: Brendan Fernandes, Skeena Reece, Barbara Astman, Winnie Truong and Tia Halliday, who explore the transformative potential of adornment, costume and disguise.

May 1, 2019

1. HWSDA Membership – Message from our President

“Hello everyone: I am hoping that by now all members have their package that was sent out mid-April by email, from Katherine Rankin, our secretary–and that you have marked the date of the AGM on your calendar…June 1 at 1 pm at the Railway Cafe at Heritage Park. We will be voting on the detailed presentation in your package. If you cannot attend, please give your proxy (also in the package) to another member who is attending, or mail it to Katherin Rankin. Please contact her for her address at”

Note: the package is also available on the website on the Strategic Planning page. (WebMaster)

2. Who is Coming to Town

The workshops by Denise Kovnat in Edmonton, Calgary and SW Alberta are coming very close and all partipants are eagerly awaiting the new weaving experienes. Crocus guild has a couple of spaces left if you suddenly find you can come. The information has been in the last number of Memos and is on the website.

3. Peace Country Spinners and Weavers are hosting a workshop with Lela Witt-McNie entitled “What is your Intention?” October 18, 19 and 20th in Rose Prairie, BC. A workshop for both the weaver and spinner, this workshop develops a confidence-building of potential. Your designs become an individual unique reflection of your personal expression-a three-day intense workshop that includes design materials and inspiration. A questionnaire is sent out and comunication a month before in order for you to have your loom warped with the foundation of your intention.

4. A thank you to Leanne Elias from the Lethbride Weavers, who recently hosted Anita Mayer…from the look of the photographs, they had a wonderful workshop with this amazing teacher.








April 1, 2019

From Judy Sysak, HWSDA President:

Please mark your calendars for an important Annual General Meeting taking place on Saturday, June 1st at 1:00 pm at Heritage Park’s Railway Cafe.

In early April we will be e-mailing out a pre-AGM package for all members consideration. Hope to see you there!







1. Lethbridge Weavers: Anita Mayer Workshop April 10-11, 9-4 at the Casa Arts Centre, 230 8 Street S., Lethbridge. For examples and more information, contact Donna Mosemann or to register or for questions email as spaces are limited! A color lecture will be part of the course showing ways to successfully select and use colors in weaving. Cost: members $175, Non-members $225.

2. Crocus Country Fibre Arts Guild: Denise Kovnat Workshop – We still have spots available for our workshop in May. $225 is the fee. If you would be interested in auditing the workshop, the fee would be $100. Again, our members are willing to billet anyone traveling for the workshop.

3. The Heritage Weavers and Spinners would like to invite you to a talk given by Dawn Lawson of Camrose. She will be visiting us on April 14th at 10 am and will be bringing soe of her wheels with her. The talk will start at 10 am and be more about the history of wheels, which she is quite knowledgeable about. After that we wil be having a spring potluck, and you are quite wlecome to join us. We just ask that yhou along with your potluck dish you bring a plate and cutlery. Dawn will also be doing a spinning wheel clinic in the afternoon, but space is quite limited for that, there are 4 spots left at $40 for non-members of the Heritage Spinners and Weavers. The clinic is focused on wheel mechanics and maintenance. Dawn was keynote speaker for the HWSDA, hosted “The Wheel Thing” spinning wheel; clinic last year, has recently written an article about SpinWell sheels published in the Jan 2019 Spinning Wheel Sleuth periodical, and currently owns a dozen wheels. She has helped countless spinners get started, either through finding wheels or getting their wheel into running condition, or advising long distance for purchases or repair advice. I have a sign-up going, just so I have an idea of how many people can make it to this special event. I think we will limited the talk to about 25 people due to space restrictions If you hve trouble accessing the sign-up just let me know and I will do it for you.

4. Show and Tell – I would love to make this a regular feature of the Memo, so please do send me a picture and a short description of something you would like to share. I will start off, but I will count on more submissions from members!

Multipurpose tea towels: When life is chaotic I love to weave – in particular I love to weave samples and to try out new weave structures, and to use up stash yarns, and to make gifts for friends. These tea twels did every one of these things…I used a draft from Marian Stubenitsy’s latest book, The Stubenitsky Code (p. 49), as a first step in understanding her discoveries in pattern weaving using only one tie shaft – this enables very compkex patters with fewer harnesses. I used 8/2 cotton warp and weft, sett 20epi, woven 20 ppi.

March 1, 2019

Who’s Coming to Town – Denise Kovnat will be teachng in Alberta in May, and ther are a few places left in her workshops:

1. Crocus Country Fibre Arts Guild, Calgary “Paint Two, Beam One: Maximizing Color in Your Weaving”,   May 20-22. This workshop has 5 spaces left. Our members are willing to billet anyone who would like to come so they can save on hotel costs     CONTACT: Robin Nixon

2. Edmonton Weavers Guild “Once Upon a Warp” lecture and “One Warp, Many Structures: An Exploration of Extended Parallel Threading” workshop, Edmonton Weavers’ Guild, Edmonton, Alberta, CA      May 24-26. Fee: $270 (students must supply their own warp and weft) Location:  Strathcona Community Hall, 10139 87 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB CONTACT: Kyla Fischer   those interested can find more info at:

3. Sheep Creek Weavers “One Warp, Three Fabrics”    This workshop is designed to enable students to weave many samples, for different purposes, using very fine silk yarn     15-17 May, 2019. Location: Millarville Racetrack Hall, (south of Calgary)  Cost: $250     Kit Fee: $80 (all materials provided)   Level: Intermediate. CONTACT: Lyn Pflueger

4Heritage Weavers and Spinners Guild, Calgary would like to invite you all to come a presentation by Denise Kovnat on May 9 at 7PM. Denise describes the talk: “Once Upon a Warp: My Process and Trunk Show” will be a one-hour lecture with Power Point presentation, exploring my weaving journey from concept to completion of a garment, followed by a fashion show. Every year for the past decade, I have set myself a challenge: Weave a garment (or two) that will be juried into the Convergence fashion show, part of the biannual conference of the Handweavers’ Guild of America. Since 2008, I have been able to meet the challenge – but there’s more to the story, with lots of ups and downs along the way! Anyone who weaves or creates fabric or designs garments will relate.” And there are a few spaces left in the workshop: “One Warp, Many Structures: An Exploration of Extended Parallel Threading    May 9-11. CONTACT: Lorel Dederer   or go to

Other Learning Opportunities

1. Immerse yourself in your art!    Series Summer Arts School is gearing up for another exciting July at RDC!  This arts program at Red Deer College offers weeklong courses for adults in a variety of mediums, from painting, to drawing, sculpture, mixed media, calligraphy, printmaking,  papermaking, beadmaking , jewelry and metals, ceramics, fibre arts, literary arts and more.  Experienced as well as amateur artists will find the perfect class for their ability level with something for everyone – from personal growth to professional development.  We even have 1 day workshops on July 20th – for those wanting a taste of Series Summer Arts School. CONTACT: Joyce Howdle,  Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator, School of Continuing Education, Red Deer College,100 College Blvd. Box 5005,Red Deer AB T4N 5H5  403-342-3526

2. Tin Roof Fibre Studio in Priddis, Alberta will soon be launching their Spring/Summer workshop offerings. There will be something for everyone with over 15 classes being offered including SAORI Weaving, Spinning, Felting & lots and lots of Dye Workshops. Please go to and subscribe to the email list so you get first notice of when registration for these classes opens.

3. AN INVITATION TO Show off your Guild’s Skills in the Fleece to Shawl competition at this year’s Millarville Fair… Sheep Creek Weavers invite you to come to the Millarville Racetrack this August–Saturday 17th –for the 2019 Fleece to Shawl competition.   The event is always such a crowd pleaser, and we are making a few changes this year in order to make it even more pleasing for the participants. The biggest change will be to have the winner decided by an impartial, expert judge who is familiar with all aspects of technique and colour/design.   Teams will be given a clear list of judging criteria, as well as detailed “rules of procedure” for both entrants and organisers.   The first prize remains $100. We will provide an effective location for the silent auction of the shawls; the difference from last year is that the bids will have no impact on the first place award. The focus will be to represent to the public the beauty of handspinning and handweaving. Please contact Janine Jones 403-931-2170 or Site 17, RR1, Box 7, Millarville Alberta T0L 1K0   or Lyn

2. Interesting, Very Interesting…with thanks to Margaret Hall

Carlisle Castle 2018, ‘A Stitch in Time’ An 11th c castle built on an old Roman fort to protect the northern border of England. It has seen much conflict and now houses the memorabilia of many conflicts and wars, in Cumbria’s museum of military life. As part of the commemoration of the end of WW1 it housed an exhibition ‘A Stitch in Time’ showing artifacts linking military life and recuperation from shell shock to embroidery and textiles.







Notes from our WebMaster:

1. A listing of the HWSDA books that were donated to the Olds College Library are now on the website. Available in PDF format. Also available as an Excel spreadsheet by contacting the WebMaster.

2. Anita Mayer is going to be in Lethbridge! The Lethbridge Weavers are planning a workshop called One Warp Two Scarves where they will weave two panels of rya knots and two panels of tapestry techniques. Dates: Aprl 10 & 11, 2019.. Fee $225. Location: Casa Arts Centre, 230 8 Street S. For more information, contact Donna Mosemann.

3.  The Fernie Spinners and Weavers Guild will be hosting a one-day “Creative Block Printing” workshop on Saturday, May 11th.  The workshop will be held at the Arts Station located at the corner of 1st Ave and 6th St in Fernie and will run from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm.  The instructor is Athena Knibbs of Kimberley, BC.  The cost is $60.00 per participant, and includes the instructor’s fees and travel, and all blocks for carving, inks and fabrics. The number of registrations is limited to 8 so if you are interested in attending, please send a cheque made out to Fernie Spinners and Weavers to Gayle Vallance, 4122 Cokato Road, Fernie, BC V0B 1M4. If you have any questions, please contact me. Gayle Vallance, President, Fernie Spinners and Weavers Guild. 250-423-6473

February, 2019

1. Fibre Potpourri

Western Canada Conference: Red Deer, Alberta…Hosted by the Calgary Guild of Needle & Fibre Arts    … a Stitching Retreat & Classes to be held at Red Deer College, May 31 – June 2, 2019.  Registration February 2019

2. Series at Red Deer College

Series Summer Arts School is offering a number of fibre arts classes this July at Red Deer College.

“The Magic of Silk Painting” – Bonny Macnab –  techniques from how to stretch, dye silk, mix colors, use resists and design on silk.  July 8-12

“Painting with Wool” – Rosemarie Peloquin –  Work with line drawing, value and colour plane exercises and then needle felt your drawing on reclaimed fabric. Learn concept to experiment with on still life, self-portraits and landscape.  July 15-19

“3D Needle Felting Basics” – Rosemarie Peloquin – Focus on getting to know the feel of the wool and what the needle can do, making shapes, practicing skills and adding colours and forms.   July 20

“Reduce Waste, One Cloth at a Time” – Lily Liu – Create a unique line of repurposed wearable art through learning multiple techniques that include dyeing, discharging, deconstructing, reconstructing, printing, stitching and embellishing. July 29 – Aug 2

For more information go to

3. Northern Alberta (thank you to Mary Tylosky)

(i)  Peace Country Spinners and Weavers have invited Leola Witt-McNie to present a workshop at our fall conference entitled “What is your Intention ” October 18,19 and 20 th at the Rose Prairie Curling Rink near Fort St John. This workshop is goal orientated and explores the plethora of ideas you have narrowing, editing and arriving at exactly what your intention is. As an Educator and Artist, Leola Witt-McNie, Owner of Leola’s Studio in Whippletree Junction, has been weaving and knitting for more than 30 years.

(ii) The 1st Annual Peace Fibre Fest will be held on April 28th, 2019 at the George Dawson Inn in Dawson Creek!   A Fibre Fest is a gathering of awesome makers of goods related to our crafts, such as hand dyed yarn and fibre, artisanal crochet hooks, yarn bowls, project bags, stitch markers, looms, etc, all in one fun, easily accessible event. We’ll be hosting local vendors, as well as vendors from across BC and Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

4. ANWG Conference

The ANWG conference is coming, June 12-15, 2019 in Prince George, BC. Check out the conference website and their blog.

5. Southern Alberta

From Robin Nixon at Crocus Country Fibre Arts Guild: Our workshop with Denise Kovnat (May 20-22) will be her “Paint Two, Beam One: Maximizing Color in Your Weaving” workshop. This workshop can hold about 4-6 more, please get in touch with Robin if you are interested.


A word from Norma, our Treasurer about Grants for Guilds: Each year the executive decides how much money will be available for grants to guilds. The deadline of February 28 is coming up. If your guild is planning a workshop in the coming year you may apply for assistance. For information go to:

Interesting Gallery Shows

1. Calgary Glenbow Museum

Their exhibition of the fashion work of Christian Dior   will be at the Glenbow from     Feb 3- June 2, 2019

The fabrics, as much as the clothing, should be well worth a visit… go to Eiffel Evening Jacket, Christian Dior, Paris, Trompe L’Oeil, Spring-Summer 1949 © Royal Ontario Museum, Photograph by Laziz Yamani


2. Alberta Craft Council, Calgary

Current Exhibition: Portraits, January 26-April 27, 2019.

On its base level the portrait can convey the likeness of a person in physicality, personality, or even mood, but when the call was sent out nation-wide we knew that artists would dive even deeper. “Portraits” features the work of 35 Fine Craft artists from

across Canada, emerging to established, who share stories of family, culture, place, being, and belonging through their work.


3. Alberta Craft Council, Edmonton

Family Fun Day, Saturday, February 16 from 10 am – 2 pm. Make your own happy pompon!




January, 2019

And a very happy New Year to all!

1. HWSDA Membership Matters

From Velma our Running Threads Editor: Happy New Year from the Running Threads team!  To help you on your resolution quest, just cut and paste the following on your list of to dos…

New Year’s resolution:  1) Write short article for Winter 2019 issue of Running Threads; 2) Submit article by January 15; 3) Bask in the glory that is accomplishing a New Year’s resolution.

Please note that Velma, who has done a fabulous job with the newsletter, is unable to continue in the position.   Unfortunately there will be no newsletter unless someone volunteers to take her place. There will be another request/reminder in the next newsletter in the editor message.  Velma says that the time commitment is not huge, “just intense for a couple of weeks 4 times a year”. 

From Judy Sysak, our president: The strategic workshop was a fascinating and comprehensive look at all facets of the HWSDA . (We are thrilled to tell you that we had an 83% response to the survey!!!! giving data which was truly representative of the whole guild.)  The session was conducted by Bespoke Consulting; there were 13 people attending from the executive, the Strategic Planning Committee, and area representatives.  A more detailed analysis of the results and recommendations will be provided to the Strategic Planning Committee by the beginning of February… at that point the Strategic Planning Committee will start the process of analysing all information coming from Bespoke.

From Norma Westcott, our treasurer: Olds College is seeking individuals to add to the Master Spinner and Master Weaver instructional rosters for casual/part-time instructional assignments on a contract basis. The assignments may vary from a few hours to several weeks of course instruction throughout the academic year. Opportunities may be available in classroom instruction, support, and evaluation in the Master Spinner and Master Weaver programs. A typical assignment includes instructing a 5 day workshop, (30 hours) and an allotment of marking hours after the class’s homework period.

Assignments may occur on campus and off campus across North America. Additional instructional assignments may be required for distance learning students and in evaluating the distance students’ homework assignments. The successful candidates will be team players with strong organizational abilities, effective communication and interpersonal skills, basic computer skills, active within the fibre arts community and a commitment to the curriculum established by Olds College. Applicants with proven advanced spinning and/or weaving skills, instructional experience, and involvement with the Fibre Arts industry will be considered for this position. For information and to apply:

2. Who’s Coming to Town

Check out the information in the December 2018 memo.

December 2018

And a very Merry Chrismas to all!

1. HWSDA Membership Matters

From Velma at Running Threads: After the Christmas rush is over, why not give your fellow HWSDA buddies the gift of a story and/or pictures.  We all benefit when we all share. The deadline for submissions for the next newsletter is January 15.

From Judy Sysak, our President: A big heartfelt thank you to all members and past members that responded to the online survey sent out mid-November.  We had a whopping 84 responses, which is just incredible!  The team at Bespoke Consulting is currently organizing the results as well as the results from the one on one interviews they held with 5 of our members. On December 12th, the HWSDA executive and team from the Strategic Planning Committee will be getting together for a day long meeting where the team from Bespoke will go over the results of their research with us and then help us draw up a strategy moving forward, that aligns with what the members indicated were their needs/wants from their provincial guild.  Thank you again to everyone who took the time to contribute!

2. Who’s Coming to Town

a) Gladys Paulus, Feltmaker, Feltmaker

16-18 or 17-19: July Sheep Creek Weavers (3 days)

22-26 July Series Summer School at Red Deer College (5 days)

29-30 or 30-31 July: Colour Play for Edmonton Weavers Guild (2 days)

 2-6 August: Animal Masks for Edmonton Weavers Guild (5 days)

b) Denise Kovnat

Coming to Sheep Creek Weavers on the  15, 16, 17 May, for “One Warp, Three Fabrics: Weaving with 60/2 Silk” 3 Day Workshop

And to Heritage Weavers around the same time – topic to be decided. YIou may even want to take both while she is in the area!!

c) Diana Twiss

We are talking to Diana about a 2-day spinning class hopefully 18-19 June.  Diana will be teaching at ANWG in Prince George June 11 – 16, and (hopefully) Olds College Fibre Week July 5 – 11th

3. You Might be Interested – Well Worth a Look

May I recommend a visit to the Nickle gallery at U of C…this is a beautiful, fascinating and intriguing show of work made from natural and “other” materials.  Her thought provoking work speaks about forces of transformation within nature. The show is on until the middle of December… entry is free, there is a fab coffee shop a few steps away, and a lovely gift shop!




These images are all from the Nickle Gallery wesite.



From Lyn: please think about contributing some news to the Memo as well as to Running Threads.

November 2018

1. Who’s Coming to Town


Denise Kovnat will be coming to both the Sheep Creek Weavers and the Edmonton Weavers Guild in late-ish May. If your guild is interested in having this amazing teacher, weaver, and colourist come to your guild, please contact her directly…https//

…and don’t forget Gladys Paulus. I have been in correspondence with Gladys Paulas at present it looks most likely she will be in Canada from mid-July for 3 weeks or thereabouts Please keep checking with her website, http://www,gladyspaulus,co,uk/workshops/ and the HWSDA website, and of course I will update the information in another memo. I have included her new workshop list as an attachment.  (See October memo.) Sheep Creek Weavers will certainlhy invite her to teach a 3-day workshop, and I am hopeful that she will be invited all over the proicne! (Incidentally her fee converts to $584 per day.)

Local Teachers – Liv Pedersen will be coming to the Sheep Creek Weavers this coming Thursday, we are looking forward to her workshop on weaving tapestry on a siple plank loom.

And, by the way, PLEASE know what is going on in your guilds so I an talk about all guilds!

2. Anni Albers

I mentioned last time that there is a big Anni Alberts show in London at the moment.

Albers does not differentiate between the designer, the craftsperson or the artist. She questions what makes textiles art; ‘a fabric can be great art if it retains directness of communication in its specific medium.’ She laments our loss of appreciation of the process involved in textiles, and the shift towards outcome, which diminishes the craft, ‘[the] potency of textile art has been lost during centuries of efforts to produce paintings.’ The best tapestries, she argues, are not the great paintings transferred onto cloth, such as Renaissance tapestries, but rather the simpler pictorial weaves of Ancient Peru that have a ‘vigor… often surpassing that of cultures that have other, additional methods of transmitting information.’ As writing took precedence elsewhere, Peru developed a culture where ‘threads were the earliest transmitters of meaning’

3. Catarina Riccabona

I w

as interested to read, in Selvedge magazine, an article about an amazing young weaver who has been much influenced and inspired by Anni’s work. I think her work is gorgeous…very focused on structure, quality and simplicity.


4. What’s On

The Heritage Weavers and Spinners Annual Fall Sale! Our annual artisan sale for 2018 will be held on Friday, November 9 from 5-8 pm and Saturday, November 10 from 10 am to 4 pm. Our annual fall sale is an event featuring weaving, spinning and fibre art…all made locally by our members. This is a wonderful opportunity to purchase a unique fashion item ideal for Christmas birthdays, weddings or that special something for yourself. Come and join us for a fun day out. Demonstsrations are available throughout the day. Free admision. Please mark your calendars and join us. The sale is held at our studio at Artpoint in Inglewood: 1139 – 11th Street SE, Calgary AB  T2G 1J8. Go to Google, we are a bit tricky to get to!





October 2018

1. Retreat

So sorry that the retreat was cancelled, but there was not enough interest to run it.  Many thanks to the team in charge, Kathy Sosnowski and Cheryl Renwick, … and to Ruth Blazenko, Catherine Ross, and Margaret Hall who volunteered to share their knowledge and expertise.

2. HWSDA Matters

a) Strategic Planning Committee – We are excited to report that the committee has hired Bespoke Consulting to create a strategic plan for HWSDA. They will be distributing an online survey sometime in the next few weeks, and we REALLY NEED your participation … it is so very important that the results of the survey will have included as many voices as possible.

b) Running Threads – Don’t forget, the deadline for submissions for the fall issue of Running Threads is OCTOBER 15.  Tell us what you’ve been doing over the summer, what you’re planning for the fall, something new you’ve learned, something old you’ve rediscovered.  Nobody expects Shakespeare, just write a few lines, include pictures if you have them and make Running Threads a great resource of information, inspiration and entertainment.

Note from President Judy Sysak: Velma Hudson, our editor for Running Threads, is hanging up her editors pen after the January 2019 issue, so we are in need of a new editor for our very popular newsletter.  If anyone is interested in taking over this position, please get in touch with Judy Sysak for the job description & details of the position. A big heartfelt thank you to Velma for doing such a marvellous job for the past couple of years!

3. Who’s Coming to Town

a) I have been in correspondence with Gladys Paulus, at present it looks most likely she will be in Canada from mid-July for 3 weeks or thereabouts. Please keep checking with her website, and the HWSDA website, and of course I will update the information in the October Memo.

I have included her new workshop list as an attachment. Sheep Creek Weavers will certainly invite her to teach a 3-day workshop, and I am hopeful that she will be invited all over the province!  (Incidentally her fee converts to $584 per day.)

b) Also,I have been talking to Denise Kovnat,  Random Acts of Color who is able to teach during the month of May of next year — or anytime from July on. Denise has said that she can do a two-week stay if we can work out a schedule with other guilds. Fees are $450 per day for workshops and $200 for a one-hour lecture. (And she is happy to stay with fellow weavers!)

4. You Might be Interested

In a few days the Tate Modern Museum in London will open an exhibition of the work of Anni Albers…. A long overdue recognition of Albers’s pivotal contribution to modern art and design, this is the first major exhibition of her work in the UK.

On the website they show how “Anni Albers combined the ancient craft of hand-weaving with the language of modern art”, and they have the most beautiful images of her work.

Having grown up (in weaving) as a huge admirer of her work, it is so great to see it in all its glory, even if only on the computer.  I was fortunate to see a real show of her work at the Renwick gallery about 35 years ago, and will never forget how amazing it was technically, as well as showing an incredible creative imagination.

September 2018

1. Retreat – Note: The retreat has been cancelled due to low registration.

The HWSDA fall retreat at Terratima Lodge is coming up on Sept 28, 29 and 30. The lodge accommodates 20 people so get your registration in now for a fantastic, fun filled weekend of sharing and learning.

The cost breakdown is as follows:  Food – $136.50 – Friday supper, Saturday, 3 meals, 2 snacks, Sunday breakfast and lunchLodging -$109.00 for 2 nights.  NOTE: this may be adjusted higher if we don’t fill the 20 spots.

Register by email to and mail your cheque to: Cheryl Renwick, Box 1461, Turner Valley, AB  T0L 2A0  Cheques are to be made out to HWSDA in the amount of $245.50

The lodging is shared rooms so indicate if you have a preferred room buddy also let me know about dietary restrictions and mobility issues such as stairs.

Planned activities are as follows:
Ruth Blazenko- bow weaving
Margaret Hall -resist felting
Catherine Ross – peg weaving
Individuals can plan a community dye pot

“Whatever happens, happens”

“This is a great opportunity to enjoy a fall weekend in the foothills doing what we love to do with our community of fiber friends.”    Cheryl Renwick and Kathy Sosnowski

2. HWSDA Membership Matters

a) Membership Renewal: Check your records! If you have not renewed for 2018-2019 this will be the last Memo or Running Threads you will receive. Also, a new password will be assigned for the members only pages on our website. Do it now! Contact Lorel Dederer:

b) New! A new, members only web page is now set up to display digital images of original samples created by our members! Check it out. Better yet, send a digital image of a sample you designed with information about how it was done to our webmaster: Lois Larson:

(P.S. Don’t forget the other wonderful and informative pages on the HWSDA site.)

3. Running Threads

The summer edition of Running Threads has received many compliments!  Thanks! To everyone who submitted great articles and reports.  Please keep it up.  We all benefit from each other’s stories. Anyone have a report on the Conference for those of us who couldn’t attend? It would be great to hear about it and see some pictures. The next submission deadline is OCTOBER 15

4. Stragetic Plan

Please look on our website for the Request for Proposal Strategic Planning Consultant.  This was a result of the brainstorming session mentioned in the last Memo, and you will be kept informed as the process proceeds….