History of the Fiber Arts Guild

The Southern Nevada Handweavers and Spinners Guild, Inc. was founded in November, 1967, for the purpose of promoting interest in educating and uniting persons interested in spinning, weaving, and dyeing through workshops, classes. exhibits and demonstrations in the community. The organization was the inspiration of Paul Mercer, an avid crafter and Edcil Zoller, a professional artist.

The Guild was almost immediately involved in national and international fiber events. In 1969, the Guild served as host for the Hand Weaver’s International Festival at the Stardust Hotel, which included workshops, vendor’s displays, speakers, and exhibits. This festival was the forerunner of Convergence. The Guild hosted the Interweavers Conference at the Alexis Park Hotel in 1993.

In 1970, the Guild received a grant from Channel 10 for a handweaving series and taught weaving classes in conjunction with the series. The Guild sponsored an award at the Jaycee State Fair for the winner in the weaving category from 1967 - 1972 and for the winner of the fiber category at the 1977 Clark County Art Roundup.

Community exhibits and demonstrations are central to our purpose of educating the public about the fiber arts. Over the years members have participated in demonstrations at the Jaycee State Fair, 1969-1972., various conventions, shopping malls, schools, and at the Flamingo Library for National Spinning Week in 1985. In 1978, an exhibition was held at the Las Vegas Art Museum of works by members of the Guild. More recently the Guild has participated in the annual Farm Festival at Horseman’s Park, an exhibit and demonstration of farming techniques, animals, fibers and other agricultural activities for the elementary school children of the Clark County School District. In June of 1979, the name “Fiber Arts Guild” was added as an AKA to the Guild’s title to encompass all of the fiber arts. The Guild hosted a knitting class in 1996 and crochet class in 1997, both presented by the Yarn Council at the Reed Whipple Cultural Center. In September of 1998, the Guild hosted a lecture and display by Park Bench Patterns at the Sahara West Library. The Guild has been an annual participant in Festival in the Pines to benefit the Spring Mountains Volunteers Association.

In 1981, the Guild participated in Enchanted Threads, a juried show at the Reed Whipple Cultural Center, Fiber Arrivals in 1980, Art Affair at the Flamingo Library in 1990, Fiber Then and Now in 1992 and Fiber and Clay in 1993. A fiber arts show featuring works by members of the Guild, were held at the Las Vegas Art Museum, 1993.

The Guild has been called to provide fiber-related exhibits for the public libraries of Clark County. A fiber display at the Spring Valley Library Gallery for the Salute to the Fiber Arts in 1986, a weaving display at the Sahara West Library and in 1999, a two day trunk show of hand knit items featured in Vogue Knitting Magazine held at the Sahara West Library.

From time to time the Guild sponsors events to promote the sale of its member’s creations. The Guild operated a shop at Old Nevada from April 1977 to April 1978. In 1995, the Guild had a booth at the Holiday Festival at the Charleston Heights Arts Center. The Guild had a booth at the Lobster Fair and Celebration of Nevada Arts and Crafts on October 2000.

In 1996, the Guild members wove two blankets of Harrisville yarns. One was donated to the Intermountain Weaver’s Conference for their raffle and the other was donated to the Festival of Trees and Lights for a raffle to benefit the Downs Syndrome Organization of Southern Nevada. Many Guild members regularly attend the Biennial Intermountain Weavers Conference (IWC). Two of our members serve on its Board of Directors. They are elected for four year terms..

The Empty Bowl is held yearly at the Green Valley High School for the benefit of Catholic Charities. The Guild donates hand crafted items that were sold in a silent auction.

For the Helldorado Parade, in Las Vegas we designed a float. On the float were members in pioneer dress demonstrating our crafts. In 2008 the Guild won a trophy for the Best Presentation of the Parade Theme.

We take part in an event called Something Scottish where the public learns about the heritage of the Scottish people. We have a booth at their annual fair which is held every fall at the Rainbow Library. The fair is put on by the Saint Andrew’s Society.

We take part in the Summerlin Art Walk where our members sell their weaving and knitted items and demonstrate spinning and weaving. We have kits made up for young people to try spinning and weaving under the supervision of our experts.

In October we take part in the Renaissance Fair at Sunset Park where the public see some of our members spinning and weaving. The Guild demonstrate at the fair every fall,

At the Spring Mountain Ranch in the fall, we demonstrate spinning and weaving in pioneer dress.

We demonstrate at the Old Mormon Fort for Nevada Days. We are dressed as Pioneers.

In May of 2010, the Guild was awarded 50 mini-cones of yarn from Halcyon Yarn as acknowledgment for all our efforts in community outreach and creating new weavers.

The Guild has a study group that meets once a month. We pick a project and follow it from planning through completion

The Guild donates a project to IWC for sale to benefit their scholarship program. We also make an item to be handed out to all members attending IWC.

In 2010 we sponsored a weaving workshop conducted by Marge Coe, a well known weaver. The Guild was able to acquire a grant from NAC which helped cover the cost to the paticipants. .The Guild is steadily growing in membership. Membership is open to all who are interested in fiber and working with fiber.