30 years of crafting: Columbia Weavers and Spinners’ Guild hosts its annual holiday exhibition

Fiber crafters from all around mid-Missouri gathered to show off their creations.

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The fabrics that surround us every day have long and dramatic journeys to end up in our closets.

Your favorite wool sweater began as a fiber growing on a sheep. That fiber was then spun into a yarn, which ends up in the grips of a loom, which weaves and manipulates that string to come together to form something unrecognizable from what that fiber began as.

By hand, this process is tedious and difficult. That’s why since 1785, inventors have been finding easier ways to create these textiles.

One group in Columbia continues the tradition of weaving and spinning, crafting one of a kind creations that aren’t found in any shopping mall.

The Columbia Weavers and Spinners’ Guild has been a part of the Columbia community since 1947.

The group started as an exclusive bunch, only welcoming weavers who owned a loom. Nowadays, the group is more inclusive with fiber crafters of all kinds.

The group hosted its annual holiday sale this weekend from Friday to Sunday. The event was a chance for guild members to show off their creations and sell what they’ve made to Columbians.

Jean Williams has been a part of the guild since 1987. She stumbled upon weaving while attempting to fix her husband’s wool sweater. Williams says that being a part of the guild is about more than weekly meetings. The relationships she has formed with fiber artists of all kinds are most important to her.

“We inspire each other and we build each other up … what works in weaving can also be applied to spinning and felting and all sorts of things,” Williams said.

The event displayed projects of all kinds, from felted Christmas ornaments to handwoven shawls and scarves.

Ruth Walker, another member of the guild, focuses on felting, which is the process of separating, tangling and relocking animal fibers to create a piece of felt. She explained that the monetization of her products helps her continue to do what she loves.

“I found that what I really love to do is buy fleeces,” Walker said. “I love going to the farmer and seeing all the wool laid out on the table and picking what I want ... felting allows me to use wool faster.”

Debbie Prost, who is the president of the guild, said that the group’s purpose is “to increase public awareness and enhance appreciation for all aspects of fiber arts.”

The group has different levels of memberships that allow members to attend study groups, rent equipment and give them the ability to display and sell their creations at events.

Even though the holiday sale ended this weekend, many members sell their goods at Bluestem Missouri Crafts.

Edited by Janae McKenzie | jmckenzie@themaneater.com

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