CLEARWATER - The first floor meeting room at the Clearwater Main Library was filled on January 18 with people wanting to learn more about the art of weaving. Addressing the group was Deborah Chandler, author of "the best selling book on weaving ever published", according to Pinellas Weavers Guild workshop chair Judi Jetson. A demonstration of various weaving techniques was also on the agenda. Further down the hall, the Carnegie and Osceola Galleries were filled with examples of inlay weaving, tabby weave, twill weave and plain weave in an exhibition which will run through February 26. CaroleAnn Lovin, Nancy Ryder, Carolyn Hoedl, Ila Jensen Lathan, Pat Knesley and Judy Saitta are among the guild members whose creations are featured in the show.
In addition to the recent three-day workshop, the group will present a spinner demonstration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 3. The Pinellas Weavers Guild, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, was founded for the purpose of continuing the art of handweaving and other fiber arts and preserving them for future generations. It all started with members enrolled in the adult education classes organized and conducted by a Mrs. Louise Barker under the Pinellas Superintendent of Schools. Classes were held in centers in Largo, Oldsmar, St. Petersburg, Gulfport, Clearwater and Tarpon Springs. The object of the original group was to bring together weavers for mutual benefit to promote the appreciation and use of handweaving and to educate the public as to the value of handweaving.
The guild, which currently meets the third Saturday of each month, September through May, at the North Greenwood Recreation & Aquatic Center, 900 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, promotes--in addition to handweaving--the study of spinning, dyeing, bobbin lace, kumihimo and other related fields such as beadwork. Nationally and internationally recognized instructors are brought in to conduct the workshops it sponsors. Guild members share their areas of expertise with fellow members through mini workshops. A year round project is the weaving and sale of rag rugs.
The group also lends its support to Religious Community Services through the donation of non-perishable foods and paper goods to the RCS Food Bank and collection of toys during the holidays for the children living in RCS homes. Throughout the year individual members make items such as hats, scarves, mittens and other items which they donate to the charities of their choice.
Officers for 2006-2007 are Don Darr, president; Sandy Carr, vice president; Penny Hunter, secretary; and Diane Drutowski, treasurer. Judy Saitta is immediate past president. For more information on the Pinellas Weavers Guild, phone 595-5776.
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