Memo to Members

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….

5. Who's in Town

Custom Woolen Mills are hosting fibre artist Rosemarie Péloquin as artist-in-residence for the month of September.While she is here, she will be teaching two needle felting classes; Introduction to 3D Needle Felting (for beginners), and 2D Needle Felting and Design (for folks with previous felting experience).

 Look online for more information  or phone 403-337-2221.  They are near Carstairs AB, at 30453 Range Road 272 RR#1  Carstairs, AB  T0M 0N0

6. Who's Coming to Town

This is a copy of a letter I sent to Denise Kovnat—I am including this to illustrate the system I would LOVE to use to facilitate bringing in great instructors!!!

hello Denise
I am writing to you from Alberta, on behalf of HWSDA (Hand Weavers,
Spinners and Dyers of Alberta), to ask if you would like to come here to
teach a number of weaving workshops...
I am proposing that I invite you on behalf of the Sheep Creek Weavers
(just south of Calgary) then inform all the other guilds in Alberta that
we are in discussion with you  and that they should contact you to book
you around the same time.
I am trying to initiate this as a way to streamline, cut travel costs,
make life easier for the instructor etc and I send out a monthly Memo to
all HWSDA members which includes information about possible instructors..

In other words, the instructor will be invited to a particular guild, then other guilds can share travel costs, as well as make it more attractive for the instructor to travel here.

I sent a similar letter to Gladys Paulus.  Both instructors were pleased to come to Alberta, and appreciate that we were able to get the word out locally.  (The only problem—not insurmountable, we hope-- is getting a visa  …if you have any knowledge of how to do this, please get in touch with me.)

SO DO LOOK AT THESE WEBSITES.  Sheep Creek will be contacting both instructors next week with a date.     incredible felt     incredible weaving and colour


August 2018

1. HWSDA Membership

Last Sunday (July 29th) a brainstorming session was hosted by Judy Sysak, and organised and guided by Lynne Cowe Falls.   We spent a number of hours putting information and ideas together to help the executive and the membership move the guild forward in a more sustainable and growth-oriented direction. 

It was a fascinating process and Lynne’s expertise was invaluable. Thank you to all members who attended and to those who sent in their insights and recommendations via email. It was most appreciated!

2 Check this out...

If you are in the vicinity of Millarville AB on August 18, do stop by at the Millarville Fair to cheer on the Fleece to Shawl teams.  We have 5 teams registered! Flower Power (Crocus Guild), Baa’d to the Bone (Olds College Master Spinner/Weaver Program) and The Weft Overs (Heritage Weavers and Spinners Guild of Calgary) plus two Sheep Creek Weavers teams who will choose their names in the next week.

Judy Sysak of Tin Roof Studio’s will be providing 5 dyed wool fleeces.  The fleeces will be dyed by Judy in variegated colours in the themes of Alberta Landscapes.   We will draw numbers out of a hat to see which team gets which fleece.

3. Mary Garnham Andrews

It is with great sadness that I need to tell you all that our old and very dear friend, teacher and mentor, Mary Andrews, passed away last Sunday night (July 29, 2018) in Banff at the age of 102.  Mary was a lifelong member of this guild, giving us her time, knowledge, and encouragement over many decades.  Mary was passionate about the quest to perfect our skills, to be proud of our work, and to keep on learning.  She taught for many years at the Banff School of Fine Arts, and was responsible for training a whole generation of weaving teachers.


July 1, 2018


Happy Canada Day to all!


1. Fall Retreat

Save the date, and get ready to book! September 28-30 at the wonderful Terratima Lodge! It is east of Red Deer, so easily accessible for many of us.  Do check their website, it looks gorgeous!

We will have our HWSDA retreat weekend, with a variety of mini activities for your fibre enjoyment.

Bring your favourite pastimes, and enjoy the opportunity to learn new ones. At this point we have Ruth Blazenko teaching bow weaving, rumours of backstrap/tablet weaving, and there may be a leaf plant pot simmering.  Margaret Hall has volunteered to do some resist felting, depending on her overseas schedule. If any of you have something you would like to share with the group, please let your light shine!

Rooms are double occupancy with one double bed and a day bed, washrooms down the hall, with the Bath House providing showers, and two saunas, and an outdoor hot tub. Food is amazing, and plentiful, with much consideration for dietary needs. Rates are being worked out, but 20 people is the maximum.

Contact Kathy Sosnowski  if you would like to teach, and remember, if you are sharing, you get a space at the retreat, kind of like Disney f

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