On January 13, l977, nine fledgling spinners and
weavers met at the home of Lynda Rowan to organize a weavers’ guild. The purposes of the guild, we decided at that first meeting, were
threefold: 1) to share our knowledge of spinning and weaving and bring in teachers who could expand that knowledge, 2) to educate the general public about
our craft, and 3) to find ways to market our handspun and handwoven items.
Thirty-some years later, the San Juan Weavers Guild continues to fulfill
these purposes. Members give programs and workshops in their various areas of expertise from weave structures, spinning techniques, dyeing and
basketweaving to papermaking, tatting, and making tamari balls. Study groups are formed from time to time in different towns where members can easily get
together. We have a one- or two-day workshop at least once a year with a nationally-known instructor. Three
of our own members—Bobbie Irwin, Susan Wilson, and Bonnie Inouye—are well-known workshop presenters; we call on them often.
To educate the public about our craft, we have given demonstrations at
local schools and public events, such as the Montrose Bluegrass Festival, the Cedaredge Pioneer Days, and the Sheep Dog Trials at The Creamery Arts Center in Hotchkiss. We have participated in Sheep-to Shawl contests at county and state fairs. We have displayed our artwork in businesses
Beginning in 1978, we have held an annual Show and Sale in
November. All members are encouraged to bring as few or as many items as they wish to sell. The variety of
items on display and for sale is amazing, and the standard of excellence in the handwork is outstanding. The only craft sale of its kind on the Western
Slope of Colorado, it is a highly-anticipated local event.
Our newsletter, Treadle Talk,
has been published monthly, except during the summer, since January, 1986. We have fabric swatch exchanges, including squares for a Friendship Coverlet;
lunch bag, runner, and tea towel exchanges; and postcard exchanges (participants exchange postcards and make something from fiber inspired by the card).
We have published two cookbooks, San Juan Sampler (1996) and More Time to Weave (2004) and have made two
remembrance calendars to sell. We support a monthly gathering of spinners in Delta.
At the end of our first year, we had 23 members. Our membership roster at the end of 2010 listed 88 adult members and one junior member. With members coming from a
radius of 65 miles from Montrose, we just get bigger and better every year.