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L.A. Beat

Galt Museum helps Lethbridge Handicrafts Weaving Guild celebrate 65 years

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The Galt Museum and the Lethbridge Weaver’s guild are working together for the Galt Museum’s new exhibit “Woven In Time: Celebrating 65 years with Lethbridge Weavers” which runs June 7- Sept. 14.

 We started this because the Handicraft Guild of Weavers celebrates 65 years, so we partnered with them to bring them this exhibit,” said curator Wendy Aitkens, who found creating the exhibit a learning experience.Judy Hasinoff explains  the weaving process to Wendy Aitkens while setting up the loom on display  for Woven In Time. Photo by Richard Amery

“ I never knew there was so much that went into weaving,” said Aitkens who learned the vocabulary.

“ We have a Lethbridge tartan and I didn’t even know there was one,” she said, indicating a display case including the tartan, the history, the meaning of the colours it includes and a sample of it in one display case.

Other cases include items dating back to 1866 and 1875,  a wedding dress created on a loom and a history of the Weaver’s Guild itself.

 There is even a case including  the many different types of yarn.
“You can make it out of steel, silver, soy, corn and even recycled pop bottles,” Aitkens enthused.
 Members of the Guild will also be doing displays of weaving periodically throughout the exhibits run on a loom they set up in a side room. When they aren’t there, a video will be shown outlining all of the many steps it takes to weave.

“The Guild has helped preserve the art of weaving that was getting lost during the Industrial revolution,” Aitkens said.

 The Galt Museum provided items form their collection while the Guild provided most of the others.
 There is also an interactive component to the exhibit, which allows people to help create a giant community weave by threading multi-coloured ribbons through an exaggerated loom on  the west wall of the exhibit.

 Guild member  Judy Hasinoff became interested in weaving in the ’70s as a “hippie,” who was interested in learning about natural processes to make clothing.

 She noted a lot of pre-planning goes into weaving and joined the Guild to learn the skills but took a break from it to focus on her career and got involved again when she  retired.
“ I find it really relaxing. I like to create a nice pattern and choose the colours,” she said adding after joining  the guild, she learned her great  grandmother was a talented weaver as well.

“ She ran a weaving company in Ontario, so  it may run in the blood,” she said.
 She said weaving is time consuming process as all of preparation and even setting up the loom takes several hours to transform yarn into woof then into an end product like a tea towel. She said the  Guild members often work as a team to complete a project, which cuts down on  the time it takes to complete one.

 She said the Guild, which has 25 members, is always looking for more members.
 They operate out of CASA where they have  several different types of looms of varying sizes to teach  members and ongoing classes.

“We have members of all different ages. We have 25 members, but we’d like 35,” she said. The Guild members mentor each other and keep classes very small — around three to six people.

The exhibit is opened June 7, though  official opening day activities  are June 8 from 2-3 p.m.. It will feature a talk from long time Guild member Frances Schultz — “Warp and Weft In Lethbridge from a Historical Perspective,” which will include a brief history of  the Lethbridge Handicraft's Guild and their  contribution to the arts and  craft revival.

 There are several programs being held in conjunction with the exhibit, throughout the exhibit's run. Details can be found  at

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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