Guild History

Formed exclusively as a weaving study group in 1955 by six Northern California weavers,

Mt Lassen Weavers Guild met quarterly for a week’s practical workshop at the Lake Almanor cabin

of the first Guild President, Polly Yori. Membership in the Guild was juried, each prospective new member required

to submit a sample of their weaving to demonstrate competence.

By 1959, the Guild had grown to 25 weavers from all over California, including professional production

weavers and hobbyists. The quarterly meetings featured instruction by noted weavers of the period, including

Bea Tanner, Kay Sekimachi, and Irma Robinson. The Guild filed workshop samples with warping and treadling

notes and other pertinent information, and members kept similar personal records.

Guild records for the period between 1959 and 1999 currently are missing. We are searching for them and

plan to interview the few early members who still reside in the area to glean information from their personal

records and recollections to fill in the gaps. Several of these interviews have been conducted.

During the period for which we have little information, the Guild focused yearly on creating a themed weaving

display that competed with those of other guilds at the April CNCH meet. Josie Otwell, a Chico State art professor

and weaver, developed workshops throughout the year to support the theme and was a judge of the various

guilds’ works.

From 1988 to 1993 the Guild was very involved with CNCH. Doris Moran was chair of CNCH in 1988 and

the Guild hosted the annual CNCH conference in Chico. Five years later, in 1993, the event came to Chico again;

Nancy Hodges was co-chair. The Guild relocated its meeting to Chico in 1999, changing its name to

Mt Lassen Fiber Guild and its mission to include all fiber arts.The Guild, now meeting at AVL Looms in Chico,

numbers more than 45 members with various skills. Spinning, basketry, knitting, dyeing, surface design,

raising fiber animals and cultivation of textile fiber-producing plants are some of the areas in which members

share their expertise with other members and the public.

Guild members have provided venues for members to share and experience fiber arts outside their own expertise,

as well as sponsoring workshops by professional fiber artists. Additionally, there is an open spinning group, and

various members offer one-on-one mentoring in their particular fields.

Fiber Fusion is an event created and organized by Mt Lassen Fiber Guild to celebrate natural fiber and color,

featuring demonstrations and mini-workshops in traditional and contemporary fiber arts, exhibits of various species

of fiber animals, and a marketplace. The first Fiber Fusion was held in September 2012 and subsequently in early

October 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 at Patrick Ranch in Durham, California.

The Guild participates in local events such as the California Nut Festival, Patrick Ranch Museum Country Faire

and Threshing Bee, the Tehama County Museum Annual Jubilee, Farm City Celebration Harvest Festival at

Bidwell Mansion in Chico and various holiday bazaars and school events, such as Chico’s Blue Oak School May Faire.

At some events, the Guild’s sheep-to-shawl team demonstrates the steps from fleece to woven cloth.  At others,

some members  provide hands-on activities in portable fiber arts, such as kumihimo, drop spinning, knitting, crocheting, and weaving on table looms, inkle looms and rigid heddle looms.

To promote the study of textile and fiber arts, Mt Lassen Fiber Guild offers an  academic scholarship to residents

of the Northern California counties served by the guild.  Students who are pursuing college coursework in the cultivation of textile fiber-producing crops or animals and/or the fiber and textile arts may be eligible.

Additional details of the guild's history are published on page 3 of the February 1959 issue of the periodical Warp and Weft:

Felicia Heidrick,
Mar 19, 2018, 9:10 AM