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Woven in Time: Celebrating 65 Years with Lethbridge Weavers

From warp to weft, thread to tartan, follow along the lives of local women and their drive to preserve the art and craft of weaving everything from household goods to official municipal fabrics in “Woven in Time: Celebrating 65 Years with Lethbridge Weavers”—a new special exhibition showing at the Galt Museum & Archives from June 7 to September 1, 2014.

In 1935, a Lethbridge Branch of the Canadian Handicraft Guild was formed. They operated until the Second World War began when Red Cross work became a priority. In May 1949, eleven women met to re-organize a local Handicraft Guild which involved many different types of crafts. By 1951, the Guild focused its skills, teaching and shows on weaving.

“Woven in Time celebrates 65 years of weaving in southwestern Alberta with examples of weavings from current and previous members of the Guild,” says Galt Museum Curator Wendy Aitkens, “along with historic weavings from the Galt collections, weaving demonstrations by Guild members and video of the weaving process.

According to Judy Hasinoff, a spokesperson for the Guild, “The Lethbridge Handicraft Guild of Weavers is delighted that the Galt Museum is hosting an exhibit of our work of over 65 years. We are proud of what we have accomplished, but the fact that the Galt has mounted such a major exhibit featuring our guild makes us feel that all those years of cooperative weaving, exhibiting, selling, and working hard to be a part of the weaving scene provincially, nationally and internationally are being acknowledged.”

Aitkens says the Galt enjoys partnerships with local organizations “where we can play a part in the celebration of their history, accomplishments and contributions to the broader community. Working with the Lethbridge Handicraft Guild of Weavers has resulted in an exciting exhibition of the works by local weavers who are current and past members of the Guild. The story of this organization and the art of weaving is an important part of the history of this area and the telling of this story is richer because of the involvement of many members of the Guild.”

“Well over 250 members of the Lethbridge and area community have been dedicated members of our guild over the last 65 years,” says Hasinoff, “and both the Galt and the LHG feel they deserve to be acknowledged for their contributions to the local art scene. However, while the exhibit is in part focusing on past works, there is also a strong component inviting visitors to experience weaving and observe and talk to our members as they create on-site, and it is our hope that this will encourage people to consider becoming a part of our guild or at least take away a stronger appreciation for the craft of weaving.”