Sunday, January 30, 2011

Trying to Revive a Local Fiber Guild

I have a licenses’ plate holder on my Honda CRV that says “I’d rather be Weaving”. That’s kind of an exaggeration for the Procrastination Queen, but it sounds better than “Slightly Warped”, which might be closer to the truth.

Just before the Christmas holidays we had a stretch of heavy rainy weather that produced flooding in the St. George area south of here. One day I rushed into Staples office supplies store and forgot to lock my car. Locking your car in Vegas is second nature, in Cedar City not so much, but old habits are not necessarily bad. Anyway, when I came out of the store I found a note on the driver’s seat from a new resident of Cedar City who was also a weaver and wanted to connect with me. How great was that! Can you imagine if I had locked my car door it would have been a lost opportunity to meet a fellow weaver? Who, incidentally, has turned out to be a very nice lady about my age from California who has been in Cedar for about a year. We’ve really hit it off and are “partners in crime”—not really, but we are working pretty closely on a project.

Both of us have come from active fiber guilds and miss the give and take with other fiber people. So we decided to try and find the weavers and spinners that we know must be here. Both of us were surprised to find that Iron County is sheep country. The University Farm is just “down the road a piece” from my home, and I go by their flock every time I go into Cedar City.

During the summer the sheep from the surrounding ranches spend the time ‘up on the mountain’ and the different flocks are herded or trucked up to the higher elevations east of the city. One Saturday afternoon on the way to church we were almost late because we had to wait for a flock of sheep to go down the same road ahead of us on their way to summer grazing. They were being herded by a young girl on an ATV and an Australian sheep dog, now that’s a little different than Vegas.

It's getting close to spring, even though it's suppose to snow tonight (!), and this ad appeared in the local paper today.

Then in late October Cedar City has a Heritage Festival when they bring the sheep down from the mountain. The Main Street is closed down and the sheep do down the center of town. The sheep end up in a stock yard west of town where some ‘winter grooming’ takes place. Nearby in an arena there are the typical festival attractions of food, demonstrations, and craft booths. All of this was totally new to us.

So, in the past month or so, my new weaving friend and I have been deciding what we should be trying to do. We decided to sign up for a meeting room at the public library to hold an organizational meeting. Then we found out that there had been a local guild some years ago in the area, but was now inactive. It had been made up of weavers from Cedar City, St. George and smaller surrounding areas. Another weaver, Ann Nelson, is a local librarian, and long time resident, her family long involved in raising sheep in Cedar City, was a member of the old guild. She gave us a list of members of that still lived in the area.

So we started with a mailing to about 25 households, and then we spent two days visiting businesses in Cedar City explaining out project and leaving small fliers. We even took out an ad in the student newspaper at the local college, Southern Utah University. I tried creating the ad, but finally asked my son, Dustin, to improve on what I had done. Dustin is a graphic artist, so maybe our college investment would start producing dividends. He was generous and said his payment would in the form of my babysitting for Paige and Jordan, a real hardship.

I think the ad turned out pretty nicely. I even printed some on a sheet and replaced a few of our small fliers with the new fliers.

So this week Thursday evening we’ll see if anyone else is interested in reviving a fiber arts group in this area. Regardless, my weaving buddy and I have decided to start a less formal weekly get together for fiber people at the local coffee house, The Grind, at 19 N. Main Street on Wednesday mornings from about 10:30 until lunch time. The guild in Las Vegas had such a group that met in the local yarn shop and we called it the “WOW Group” (the Weaving on Wednesday Group). But Cedar doesn’t have an independent yarn shop anymore, so The Grind will be the next best thing.


Tece said...

Oh, my! I'm sorry I missed it- I just found you on the 'net this evening :) I don't spin or weave but crochet, knit, tat, and a few other needle arts; I want to learn bobbin lace but especially want to learn how to spin w/ the drop spindle- know of anyone offering classes for that? I live west of Cedar City proper.

mjsmg said...

Nice to see that you are settling in and have resumed your blog.

Cedar City weaver said...

Tece--Sorry I haven't checked my blog in awhile. We are trying to teach ourselves how to spin with a drop spindle. We are meeting every Wed.AM at The Grind in downtown Cedar City, started about 3 weeks ago. Some of the girls are starting to pick it up. Between books, DVD, and UTube videos we've been able to get a good start on it. The next weaving and spinning meeting is Thursday, March 3, at The Visitor's Center, 581 N. Main St. in Cedar City, from 6:30 to *:30 PM approximately. You're certainly welcome to join us. One of the ladies has expressed an intersted in giving some spinning lessons if you're not able to make the "do it yourself" WOW get togethers at the Grind. -- I would also like to learn a bit about bobbin lace myself, that sounds like a program possibility, hmm.

Cedar City weaver said...

MJSMG-- Yeah, I'm settling in, but I'm still too spotty on my blog entries. I'm getting ready for the next snow storm and the next weaving meeting! But I really do like Cedar City, I just wish it wasn't quite so far from LV or SLC. I miss the shopping and seeing the grandkids as often. But I'm glad that I've found the weavers and that seems to be getting off the ground pretty well.