Here is some weaving history from Manitoba that may be of interest.
"It has been found from years of experience in Quebec, in the Maritime
Provinces, in Newfoundland and in the United States that a five or six
weeks’ course is sufficient to teach farm women or girls to be able to
make almost anything in their homes in the way of blankets, curtains,
bedspreads, tablecloths, towels, material for making dresses or suits
and so forth."
"the judges in Quebec were most enthusiastic about the high quality of
the workmanship, and the clever designs and composition of the various
pieces. They said that these qualities were quite unexpected. We are
told that the Supervisors and teachers in Quebec who have had twelve or
more years of experience “examined this material not without some
An incredible article! Let's hear it for The Searle Grain Company!
Thanks for sharing this!
The Manitoba History website has a surprising amount of weaving history, although it can be sort of "woven" into other stories.
Here is the book 'Home Weaving' from 1939 by Oscar Bériau mentioned in the article above. The site notes that the copyright expired in 1989. It is in PDF format.
Thanks ReedGuy! Coming from a long line of Manitoba women the article was great! Although can't claim any involvement with The Searle Grain Company for them, they were in Winnipeg during those years. Although one was a Weaver , learned at the Guild.
Thanks also for Tracking down ' Home Weaving' by Beriau( excuse the lack of accent) it's getting downloaded. Just up my ally.
great piece of weaving history. I love stuff like this!
Interesting - sort of like Great Northern in Michigan today - yarn, looms, advice. The short duration of instruction (though taking place DAILY) was definitely enhanced by using the literature from Berieau. I've had a copy of his "Home Weaving" from 1954 on the shelf for years and find it one of the best English books on weaving.
The methods are very similar to today's "Big Book of Weaving" and interestingly, during warping, he presleys the reed as done in Sweden, and transfers the cross PRIOR to beaming. An interesting variation.
In spite of the dated clothing, the book is still relevant and an excellent resource.
We have an interesting history of weaving in Canada. If you want to know more about our fore mothers, the Guild of Canadian Weavers has a collection of bios of those who have achieved the Master certificate as granted by the guild. Learn more about Mary Black, Mary Sandin, Dini Moes, Jane Evans, Linda Heinrich etc.
Many of them have been responsible for publications, some still in use today.
Mary Black's papers have been archived on line for anyone interested. I don't have the URL handy (still in Sweden, using a foreign computer)
Yes, I will have to check their website.
We used to have a group of commercial hand weavers here in northern New Brunswick, known as the Madawaska Weavers in St Leonard. There is a website with photos from the 50's, but this business was still going in the 90's. Weaving doesn't seem to be a craft that gets promoted here (NB) much. There are no active guilds here and weavers are very sparse.
Does Banff still have the Arts and Crafts School? I remember my Great Aunt traveling there from Winnipeg each summer to study weaving.
On another thread, people were talking about legacies of other weavers. When my Aunt died she left me all her workshop notes, samples and notes, and many issues of Loom Music. All treasures!
I will certainly have to check out those websites, Laura!
Banff still exists but hasn't had much of a weaving program for a number of years. Mary Andrews was the last of the weaving teachers that I know about. I took a 2 week class with her in the early 80's. Last I heard she was still weaving although she must be in her 90's by now. :)
While it isn't in NB there is a place in Sydney NS (on Cape Breton) that offers classes. I taught there about 10 years or so ago. Nice bunch of weavers. :)
Janet Dawson (The Bobbin Tree) teaches quite a bit, including on Craftsy.com and there is also a lovely group on PEI. I thought there was something in Fredrickston (SP?) Afraid my geography of the Maritimes isn't as good as it should be!
There is a textile college in Fredericton, but I think it's about modern weaving with mechanized looms and such. There is a loose knit weaving group there in the city. But not really a guild as far as I can tell, for a few years now. There is the beginnings of a yahoo group I think, but nothing active. I think there are 3 guilds in NS though. That's always the way here in NB, not much support or interest except the older generation. I've talked to local Mennonite women and none of them weave either and not really much interest.
Too bad, Reed Guy. Always nice to find weavers near you to share ideas and such. The internet is nice but not the same as meeting people face to face and getting to actually touch their textiles! :)
As Laura mentions above, Mary Black:
Wills can be interesting:
There are some wonderful things out there, and with more digital connections to the web, more and more findable.
Also, the work of the Burnhams (Canada's National Museum, now Museum of Civilization, soon to be Museum of Canaddian History). Books, exhibit material, just wonderful stuff!
The museum's collections online are very limited, but if you can find a copy of Keep Me Warm One Night, you will get a sense of what terrific information they collected and worked out. Drafts and all.
I looked for that book one time recently and it was very expensive.
Library? At least here in Sweden libraries are a good place to look for "famous" but rare books - and in most places ILL is free.
I have not gone that route yet Kerstin because we only have small village libraries in my area. But you are probably correct about the free ILL, so something may be available from one of the cities. I use the term cities lightly because none of them in NB would have 100,000 population. We are very rural.
Which is why ILL is so wonderful. The reference librarian in my town saw it as a challenge to find the textile books I wanted for some research I did a few years back. Sometimes there is a small fee for the service but we are blessed in Canada to have a mostly free ILL service. Good luck with finding a copy. I am quite sure there will be one somewhere in the country to be borrowed via the library. :)
There is one at the UNB Harriet Irving Library. Being a college library may mean that it's only lent to students of the University. Will have to check this coming winter.
It's a start. :)
I have been lucky that there is a copy in our local library, the best price I have found for a copy is $90 (plus shipping). But ILL is a great option, and it can't hurt to contact the Museum and ask if they have ever thought of a reprint edition? It is a wonderful book.
I emailed the Museum, and they sent me to the University of Toronto Press, the co-publisher. I received a warm response, and my email has been referred to the person in the marketing department who is in charge of reprints (I won't put their name here, as I am not sure if they would want me to).
Do let us know if they decide to reprint...
Eagerly awaiting. :)