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

Friendship is the Shining Path We Weave

50 year logo

A group of eleven weavers met on January 11, 1962, at the home of Marcellene Baxter in Morro Bay to form a guild for discussion of weaving problems, exchange of patterns and techniques, and preservation of handweaving in general. That meeting drew weavers from the coastal communities of Cambria, Cayucos, and Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. Temporary officers were chosen, and dues were set at $1.00 a year.  The name Central Coastal Weavers was selected.  An active group from the beginning, meetings were held monthly.  Charter membership of 33 closed in July, formal installation of officers took place in August, and the first full year began in September. Those early programs included dressing the loom, tapestry weaving, showing samples of yarns and weaving supplies, a demonstration on use of a warping board, and the importance of keeping records.  Attending and participating in the Southern California Conference of Handweavers, displaying handwovens at local arts and crafts and garden shows and at a church’s table setting tea were all activities that first year.  A summer picnic was held, and in December the first holiday party took place, both traditions to this day.

Today the guild, now the Central Coast Weavers, has upwards of 125 members. Some past activities were demonstrating spinning and weaving on Heritage Days, put on by the County Historical Society; demonstrating in elementary schools and at Cal Poly (Calif. State Polytechnic University in San Luis) and at the Monterey County Fair, and participating in many community events that gave weaving a presence, and participating in conferences.

For the past five years the guild has had a very popular booth at the Pismo Beach Art Festival in October where we do a sheep to shawl demonstration (starting with a fleece and skipping the shearing) in celebration of National Weaving and Spinning Week; demonstrating spinning at the Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles every summer for many years along with our frequently award winning booth there, and many submissions of woven articles to the Home Arts display. We often have annual displays at the San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay libraries, and for the past six years we have held a weekend retreat at Camp Ocean Pines in Cambria, attended not only by local members but others from Santa Barbara and Ventura and as far as Utah, who are also members of CCW.  For the past seven years our sale in November of a wide variety of items made by members has been hugely successful. Presently we have a two mile stretch of Highway 101 in which to pick up trash with a very prominent sign announcing CENTRAL COAST WEAVERS as being responsible for that location.

We hold meetings on the second Thursday of the month from September to November and January to May, Saturday meetings on the last Saturday of the month, with spinners meeting every Tuesday. Joint meetings take place in December and June.  A new study group begins every January with the samples exhibited at the December meeting and party.  A Challenge is selected every year:  past ones included weaving with metallic threads, and using triangles in weaving. This year’s is using the initials of our names that correspond to a color chart (R can be red, rose or rust, E can be eggplant, evergreen or ebony, etc.) to design and make at least a 48 inch table runner.  As many of the members who wish to take part will show their items at the June picnic.

Several members teach beginning weaving, and several workshops are offered every year for advancement of members’ skills.  Several scholarships are offered each year as a Teach It Forward grant to assist members in learning new skills and/or advancing weaving in general in return for presenting a program on their chosen subject.

We draw members from all of San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara Counties and some from Northern California and San Joaquin Valley.  We continue to add members, both new and experienced weavers.  Dues are no longer $1.00 a year.

Our motto is not an empty statement: We help and support each other, we support our guild and its activities, we are inclusive, and we welcome new members and encourage them to take an active part in it.

We recently celebrated our Golden Anniversary and 50 years of friendship by publishing a calendar featuring photos of some of our beautiful items being made and of our activities, and commemorated with etched wine glasses, glass mugs, and embroidered aprons with a weaving logo and the statement, “50 Years and Still Warped”.  It’s true: we love weaving, and we love our guild.

Ruth Rusch
Historian, Central Coast Weavers
Information obtained from our well documented scrapbooks

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