CNCHnet . . . The Textile Arts Webzine of the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

A Short History of the Golden Gate Weavers

The Golden Gate Weavers, one of the first weaving guilds in California, was organized on October 29, 1938, at the home of Mrs. Carl Werner.   Fourteen persons joined for the purpose of giving one another help and encouragement in weaving.  Dues were 50 cents per year.  At first, meetings were held in members’ homes, but increasing membership made necessary a move to larger facilities.  Several locations have been used over the years.

In 1941, with a membership of 38, an exhibit was given at the Claremont Hotel.  It featured six furnished rooms: a colonial and a modern living room, a dining room and a bedroom.  All textiles were handwoven.  Three hundred dollars was cleared and given to the British War Relief.

During World War II, many members taught weaving at hospitals, many wove baskets and others donated handwoven articles to aid charitable institutions.  A Citation was awarded to the Guild by the Disabled Army Veterans in recognition of meritorious  services rendered.

During the busy years of the 40’s, two exhibits of weaving by the Guild were staged at the M.H. deYoung Museum in San Francisco, and a traveling exhibit was sent to nearby towns.

Throughout the years the Guild has participated in many exhibits and has demonstrated weaving to interested groups.  Most recently this has included instruction to public school classes in several districts.

The major showcase for the Guild shifted to the Conference of Northern California Handweavers with its founding in 1953.  The Guild has enjoyed reflected glory of the the many individual ribbons won by its members over the years and received several awards for the excellence of its displays.

The year 1970-71 must have been a banner year- isn’t that the height of the Hippie Period when people were interested in doing things by hand?  There were 65 members that year!

Currently we have 25 members.  We meet from September to June the third Monday of the Month at the North Berkeley Senior Center.  We also have a monthly Study Group that often goes on during the Summer.  We decide what topic to focus on.  Our next topic is Inkle Weaving.

We have a speaker at our General meetings on a topic related to textiles.  We have an annual picnic in May where we auction off surplus yarn and equipment in order to raise funds for a scholarship.

For the last ten years we have launched an outreach program.   We go to schools to demonstrate spinning and weaving with a heavy emphasis on letting the children do it.  We also demonstrate at East Bay Regional Park, Tilden Nature Center.

In 2012 we had an exhibit at the East Bay Municipal Water District headquarters and we currently have an Exhibit at the Tilden Nature Center.

One of the series,'Three Houses' by Jodie Schoenhard that were inspired by her sons art work. Made with bailing twine.

One of the series,’Three Houses”, by Jodie Schoenhard that were inspired by her sons art work. Made with bailing twine.

One of a series, 'Three Bags Full",by Sharon Lawless. Silk, Cotton and repurposed jewely

One of a series, “Three Bags Full”,by Sharon Lawless. Silk, Cotton and repurposed jewelry.

Orange Velvet Saki-Ori "Orange Velvet Saki- ori"  vest  by  Koko Baker.    Made from torn fabric from kimono woven on a cotton warp. strips torn from a kimono

“Orange Velvet Saki- ori” vest by Koko Baker. Made from torn fabric from kimono woven on a cotton warp.

Above are a small sampling of the works on display at The Tilden Nature Center titled Golden Gate Weavers Guild Recycled and New Materials. The show closes on September 1,2013.

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