Mary Meigs Atwater Weavers Guild 

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October 2006
From the Weaver’s Bag
by Deanna Baugh

Twenty Years ago this month

Martha Klein Haley presented a pre-meeting discussion on “But will it Last?” based on an article that was coming out in Threads magazine.  She talked about the durability of various fibers and dyes and how to improve the longevity of your weavings by making informed choices about materials, providing good care instructions and using good display or storage techniques.

For the guild meeting, in support of the show coming up in January 1987 at the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah, she presented a lecture “This side up:  How to plan Ahead for a Local Exhibition.”  She said, “It matters much less what you do than how well it stands on its own.  Your goal is to get your work to look as beautiful to the juror and the public as it does in your mind’s eye.  This means that there must be no distracting flaws in craftsmanship and that the work must be well “presented” (exhibition jargon for the packaging you work comes in).  This may mean a frame, but most likely it means finding a more natural way of arranging you work to show off its best points.  Don’t expect your weaving to hover in mid-air like a magic carpet.  Have a coherent plan for exhibiting a piece, preferably before you ever sit down to the loom.”

            Also that October, the Guild held a three day fall retreat at Capital Reef National Park with a Saturday workshop presented by Terry Tempest Williams.  The retreat was an idea inspired by experiences and conversations with Terry Tempest Williams and Nell Znamierowsky during the Utah Handweavers’ Statewide Meeting the previous year.  Sandra Paul (then guild president) seen the retreat as an opportunity for weavers to receive inspiration, not only from one of the most beautiful areas in our state, but also from each other.

 Thirty Years ago this month

            Sharon Alderman presented the program about what it took for her to receive the Handweaver’s Guild of America Certificate of Excellence.  She told why she had decided to pursue this and also showed her samples and what she learned from the experience.

            Also listed in the newsletter were classes in weaving and textiles that were being taught in the area.  The teachers listed were Sharon Alderman at the Kimball Art Center, Julie Connell at the University, John Hess and Martha Klein Haley at the Salt Lake Art Center, Carol Huey at the Boys and Girls Club, Sam Moya at Weber State and Eleanor Coolidge and Jane Jennings teaching in their homes.

            Thanks to Jane Hartford, Carole Wangsgaard, Marie Irvine and Christine Barker we were finally granted a non-profit designation under federal tax laws.  With this status, we are able to apply for a grant for the show at the Natural History Museum and use the funding to bring in a guest speaker to enhance community interest.

            Linda Ligon, editor of Interweave magazine, and Anne Bliss visited last month. Guild members Martha Schack provided a place to stay and Jan Gisler hosted a pot luck dinner so that we were able to meet and talk to them.  They announced that Convergence ’78 would be held in Ft. Collins and requested any ideas or suggestions that Utah weavers could offer.

            The newsletter also included natural dye samples from Eleanor Coolidge from her experiments using Dusty Miller and Dock.  She included instructions on how she got the plants, her tests with pre-mordanting the yarn with tin and chrome and the amounts of plant fiber she used to get the great colors.


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