The South Haven Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers, founded in 1972, is closely affiliated with the Gaelic College in St. Annís, Cape Breton. Our nearly thirty members focus on traditional Scottish weaving, with a particular emphasis on tartans and the delicate overshot patterns brought to Cape Breton by the early settlers.
Eveline MacLeod, one of our founding members, has, over the years, taught hundreds of people to weave. Starting over forty years ago, Eveline had the foresight to research and to preserve the beautiful heritage patterns which had survived on Cape Breton where home weaving remained a necessary aspect of pioneer life until the early 1900's. Eveline has made several trips to Scotland to teach overshot weaving there, where these patterns had been completely lost because of mechanized textile production.
Over the years, our guild has demonstrated weaving and spinning at Expo in Vancouver, at the Scottish Festival in Maxville, ON, and at the Gaelic Society Fair in Toronto. We have sponsored a number of wonderful workshops on Cape Breton, taught by world renown weavers from England and from Peru. We hosted, at the Gaelic College, a week long conference attended by over 100 weavers from all over Canada and the U. S. We have individually designed, woven, and modeled at a fashion show, elegant 100% wool tweed jackets and skirts. As a guild, we traveled to Scotland for a seventeen day tour of weaving mills and textile museums.
For over thirty years, we have sponsored, in the fall, a two day handcraft festival in Baddeck. Formerly, there were resources to present demonstrations, and to award juried prizes in appreciation of a number of different handcrafts from members of the general community. Now, our fall festival presents, for viewing and purchase, the original work of approximately twenty-five talented, skilled people, representing many crafts.
Each spring and fall, we hold an eight week session of weaving classes, taught with great good humor and patience by a beautiful weaver, Marie MacDonald, a former president of our guild. If youíre a beginner or an experienced weaver, JOIN US! These friendly classes are held at our building at the Gaelic College, Thursdays from 10 am to 1:30 pm.
Some of our members are pleased to offer for sale their hand woven tartan blankets, overshot coverlets, place mats, and scarves.