Arlene Richards shares her passion for fibre arts with granddaughter Amadea.

Weavers and Spinners set for show

Group's popular annual showcase and sale, Fibre Flare, at Ocean Park Hall.

The Peace Arch Weavers and Spinners Guild may be based in Cloverdale these days, but it’s been part of the fabric of the Semiahmoo Peninsula culture for 45 years.

That’s why it’s appropriate that the guild celebrates the anniversary by continuing to present its popular annual showcase and sale, Fibre Flare, at Ocean Park Hall.

The 2011 edition comes to the hall (1577 128 St.) Saturday and Sunday  – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – offering a juried selection of knitted, woven and spun items perfect for Christmas gifts, including handmade wearable art, bags and baskets, knitted and felted items, handspun wool and fibre-based jewelry, as well as demonstrations by artisan members of the guild and a silent auction.

Guild historian Elizabeth Davies said it has evolved from a small group that met in founder members’ homes to a thriving organization occupying regular venues at Centennial Arena and the former Station Arts Centre on Marine Drive, and even drawing members from Washington State, which continues to this day.

In 1989, the guild was invited by the Surrey Parks Recreation and Culture Commission to move to the Honey Hooser Weaving Centre, named for a local weaving pioneer, and in 2005 it moved to its current headquarters at the Surrey Museum, where it has a library, looms, spinning wheels and other equipment available for members’ use.

There’s something about the group that promotes long membership, said Davies, who joined in 1977 with her friend, Carol Strauss, who was also instrumental in organizing the first Fibre Flare in 1983.

“It’s very relaxing,” she said, adding the group, which hold regular drop-ins every Wednesday, has always allowed members to develop expertise in their direction and at their own speed.

“I’m not a weaver – I’m a spinner and a knitter – but we have other people who can weave a whole piece in one day.

“We try to mentor and assist people. We give out Hooser scholarships, which allow anyone who wants to go to workshops and classes to attend, provided they give us a demonstration of what they’ve learned.”

The fascinating multiplicity of skills and techniques for creating with fibres show up at Fiber Flare, which generally feature the work of between 25 and 40 people out of a membership of 80 plus five life members, Davies said.

The guild’s other major events include the Sheep to Shawl competition, in which participants create a finished item from raw, oily wool, to the annual Spin-In at Stewart Farmhouse which usually draws some 70-80 people from across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley region.

For more information on the guild and the show, call 604-592-6956.