Oscar Beriau, appointed by the Minister of Agriculture to be Director-General of Handicrafts of the Province of Québec in 1930, became a significant force in weaving in Canada in the 1930s and 1940s. Beriau founded a school for the domestic arts, hired weavers from the US and Europe to instruct future Québec teachers in the most modern, attractive, and efficient methods of weaving, and created a system for delivering these skills throughout the province. He published a book on natural dyeing, followed by two weaving books. The detailed instructions in these books, on everything from preparing and spinning wool to making ‘original’ works from drafts, was unprecedented at that time in materials available to home weavers. The drafts gave specific uses or functions for each woven piece.
The chair of this group began researching Oscar Beriau in 2001 with the intention of publishing a book to include both a history and sets of samples recreating the original drafts and drafts created by the sampler. There are no known collections of the original samples used in the original Beriau books. Beriau took care to suggest to weavers how they might take existing drafts and alter them to make something original. And in the spirit of Beriau and weavers at that time, we create both reproduction and original drafts.
There are two very different skill sets for this group: weaving something exactly as written, using materials appropriate for the time period; and creating a ‘new’ piece of cloth by altering fibers/drafts/etc. Sample drafts will be assigned (owning a book is not necessary), but weavers can indicate preferences. Participants receive a complete set of instructions upon joining.
It is the chair’s fondest dream that a trip be planned to Québec for all participants to experience the historic & beautiful areas of Québec where weaving thrived during Beriau’s time.
The picture shows a Takadai with Kumihimo in progress; from Sandy Jessett
There is one exchange per year, with samples due at the end of April. For the swap, each member will make enough samples for the group, plus one extra for the CW Library. These are to be mailed to the group chair prior to the due date. Each participant who submits samples will then receive a packet with sample braids from each of the others in the group. Following email discussions within the group, a new topic and the date for the next sample exchange will be decided. Samples of other braiding strands or techniques may be accepted. The samples are presented on card stock along with the braid diagram and all information pertinent to that braid, ie; name of braid, number of bobbins, yarn(s) used. We communicate by mail and e-mail and occasionally by telephone. Please contact the chair at the address above for further information.
In the featured image: “Last April I purchased a used 32 shaft V Loom with an e-lift from a woman living in the USA. After a four day road trip with a friend, the loom was home in my Canadian Studio. The loom, barely used, required some work to get it up and running. The cat fabric was woven with a warp of 2/20 Tencel black (tie-down thread) and a 50% Silk 50% Wool grey (pattern thread) with a weft of 2/8 Tencel in black. The tie downs were on shafts 1 & 2, pattern threads were on 3-32. The sett was 28 epi in a 12 dent reed, dented, 2, 2, 3. It was woven with an alternating tabby. The cat motif was taken from a knitting pattern.” By Catharine Wilson.
The CWSG more/less was originally designed in the fall of 1997 by Terri Tinkham as a way to share 24 shaft designs. This was for all levels of weavers with 24 shafts: challenging new owners to use their looms. Someday a break off from CWSG 24 may occur requiring originality and virtual samples. Even then, this original CWSG 24+/- will be maintained. Dottie Smith became chairman in 2004. We do a woven sample exchange. Anyone interested in using drafts with a minimum of 17 shafts is welcome to join. Those with more than 24 shafts are also welcome. This group encourages all levels of weaving. There are no limitations as to structure, fiber or design. There is no particular study assignment to a given year, the sky is the limit. We do ask that you submit a record sheet including the complete draft, software, loom, warp and weft yarns, sett and picks per inch with the woven sample. We encourage you to design your own drafts. We ask that your drafts be designed so that your woven samples will have at least two repeats of the threading and treadling if possible. Stand-alone motifs may be woven as just a single repeat. If your threading and/or treadling draft is extremely large, we will allow this but will ask for a decent representation of the draft and a complete computer draw down of the entire draft. A discussion of problems encountered, design process and thoughts, and notes of interest should be included. New members should contact Dottie Smith for a membership form. Invitation to membership goes out June 1st, with active membership dues paid by September15th, when membership closes. October 1st a letter goes out to all active members with a count of samples to be mailed anytime after October 31st and no later than February 15th. Exchange CWSG24 Packets will be mailed March 1st.
- June 1st: Invitation to membership in CWSG 24 +/- sent.
- By mid-September: Membership and dues due to CWSG 24 +/- chairman, Dottie Smith. Membership closes for the current year at this time.
- October 1st : Notification of the number of samples required for February 15th. Exchange and membership list sent.
- Samples must reach Dottie no later than February 15th. Exchange sample and draft mailed to CWSG chairman, Dottie Smith.
- March 1st Exchange samples mailed out to participants.
For weavers of Intermediate to Master skill levels to explore Tied-Weave and Tied-Unit weave structures. The broad study group goal is to better understand, create and define Tied-Weave structures, as well as create variants and methods to “break the rules”. Each member will explore any Tied-Weave structure of interest.
Mandatory sample and information exchange due May 1 of each study group year.
On-line discussions and a private website for sharing photos, drafts and other visual information are in place. Members can share their questions, ideas, drafts and photos, enhancing our on-line study. All newsletters and correspondence, and the accompanying write-ups for the yearly sample exchange, will be done via email.
Write for a more detailed welcoming letter. Su Butler, email@example.com
Shown: A fancy twill. See the February 2009 CWJ for details.
Weave structure lesson topics are posted, and members can work at their own pace. Email, internet access, and weaving software that can write wif files required. Drafts will be shared on the Yahoo web page; dues cover the cost of a CD every two years. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
to join. Topics include:
- 01-Intro-Plain weave
- 02 Basket and Rib weaves
- 03-twills-3 and 4shaft
- 04-6 and 8-shaft twills
- 07-Lace weaves
- 08-Tied Weaves-assign
- 10-Twill variations
- 11-Creating Fancy Twills
- 13-Telescope analysis
- 14-Thoughts on Designing Double Weave