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The Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts

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The Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts
Fleece, Felting and Flax

By Bill Jackson

The Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts is celebrating 65 years of shepherding the ancient crafts of weaving, spinning, felting, and knitting into the 21st century. The Guild, with more than 100 members from Sonoma, Lake, Marin and Mendocino counties, embraces all aspects of the fiber arts: weaving, spinning, tapestry, felting, basket making, knitting, crochet, lace, etc.

The Guild began in 1949 with a core group that was very active in presenting their work and their passion to the public. First known as the Redwood Empire Weavers Guild, they did exhibits in San Francisco and Santa Rosa. The Guild began an outreach program to the schools in the area, letting children – and some adults – know what went into making cloth and how their clothes came to be.

Soon a group of local spinners joined the Guild and the name became the Redwood Empire Weavers and Spinners Guild. They were known as that for several decades. They continued meeting, exhibiting, demonstrating and growing as they passed on the ancient knowledge and skills of the fiber arts.

In the past decade, many knitters, felters, and basket makers joined the Guild. Another name change was in order. The Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts became the official name of the organization in 2010. As the name suggests, the group now embraces all aspects of the fiber arts from the raw materials of fleece, cotton, flax, etc. to finished goods. The Guild holds monthly meetings and workshops. Topics include natural dyes, dyeing methods, weaving techniques from around the world, contemporary tapestry arts, blending colors while spinning and weaving, spinning and weaving techniques of all levels from beginning to master weaver/spinner, contemporary basket making, and more. 

The Guild is continuing its outreach program. Each year it presents demonstrations of spinning and weaving at the County Fair and at Ag Days. Demonstrations are also done at local schools throughout the year. Currently the Guild has Fiber Arts exhibits at the Healdsburg, Petaluma and Central Santa Rosa Libraries.

In celebration of its 65 years, from 1 – 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday, November 21 and 22, the Guild is holding its first Fiber Arts Sale at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High Street, Sebastopol. Items for sale include a wide variety of handmade linens, towels, scarves, rugs, fashion accessories, natural dyed yarn skeins, art yarn, fleece, felted items, fashion accessories, gifts and more. The sale is being held in conjunction with the International Fiber Arts Show that is on exhibit at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts Gallery.

Check out the Guild’s website for more details – www.redwoodgfa.org.