In 1972 Dee Ford Potter, as founder, began searching and found several weavers. She invited all to gather at Nancy Landis’s home November 1973, so that is the “start date” for the Guild. Being excited about “finding” each other, we decided to keep sharing our enthusiasm, skills, resources, about the wonderful world of weaving! Later Irma Klinghammer who moved to the Saturday Handweavers of Rogue Valley, shared a 1955 list of 23 members from a weavers group that existed in the 1950s founded by Jeannette Stollmack. Some of those weavers joined us, but many had passed on to the great loom in the sky!
The Central Oregon Weavers and Spinners Guild (COWS changed to COSW in 1980, not wanting to be called “cows”!) has kept with the purpose of mutual sharing and educating each other and the community about the wonders of weaving and spinning. Dues were $3.00 a year to pay for communicating with a newsletter when postage was $.15. Meetings were held on Wednesdays in private homes through 1980, then the Historical Society (now The Deschutes Historical Museum), Reid School, Park and Recreation Building (Pacific Park Lane), The Hay Loft of the House of Leather/Wildflower Fibers, Far West Federal Savings & Loan Community Room, Eagles Club on Franklin, Bend Senior Center (5th & Kearney) Deschutes County Library, Carriage Apts Rec Room, Redmond Senior Center, Redmond Public Library, Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, currently Highland Baptist Church in Redmond, and on Zoom!
With workshops and Holiday celebrations at the First Presbyterian Church (Bend), Bend Senior High Home Ec. Room, Cascade Jr. High Home Ec. Room, Shevlin Park Fish Hatchery, Village Wiestoria Depot, and retreats at Inn of the 7th Mountain, Cascade Junior High, Catholic Diocese Powell Butte, Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, and Tollgate Community Room.
2/27/1974 By-laws were created, 1978 revised, 1984, and revised again?
1975 First communication with the Association of Northwest Weavers Guilds (ANWG), and the guild became a member of that organization in 1976.
1976 June Our first newsletter was created by the new board, with the desire to condense the business meeting relaying as much information as possible through the newsletter including timetables, places, and subjects for future meetings.
1976 Created first “current” membership list, and each year since.
1981 October, started the First Saturday Guild meetings for those who work or otherwise were unable to come to the Wednesday morning meetings. Meetings were held every three months then faded. A partner group has meet on Saturdays in Sisters until recently.
1983 The guild began renting a Post Office Box: COSW, P.O. Box 6116, Bend, OR 97708-6116.
1983 Central Oregon Spinners and Weavers Guild became a member of Weavers Guilds of Oregon (WEGO).
1984 Members asked to bring their own mugs in order to stop the use of Styrofoam in the days when we shared coffee, tea and refreshments.
Guild Creed: To foster the arts of weaving and spinning to stimulate further interest in the crafts for those already engaged in them and to stimulate interest in the crafts for others. To fulfill the Guild Creed, members have created study groups for Spinning, Weaving, Rigid Heddle, Knitting/social, Independent Study, and Tatting.
The Guild has also shared in educating the public through displays, hands-on demonstrations, gallery exhibits, sales, and inviting the public to join presentations and workshops. We have expanded our knowledge and skills with workshops with instructors from out of the area, and with our own guild members who have presented workshops and programs sharing with the group their skills and love of the fiber arts.
Members share a holiday gathering with treats and our fiber talents, and a spring potluck picnic and swap meet/sale.
Since 1975 volunteers have coordinated with the Deschutes County Fair to supervise, present, and demonstrate. The Open Class Weaving category was created by the Fair Board in 1978, at the request of Dee Potter.
Equipment is available to rent, and a library of fiber art related books is available to members. A very wide swath of Central Oregon brings Guild Members from Bend, Redmond, Sisters, Tollgate, Prineville, Powell Butte, Tumalo, Sisters, Camp Sherman, Black Butte Ranch, Sunriver, La Pine, Crescent, Chemult, Summer Lake, Lakeview, Burns, Hines, Crooked River Ranch, Terrebonne, Madras, Warm Springs, Maupin, Shaniko, Paulina, Condon, The Dallas, Hood River, Klamath Falls, New Pine Creek CA, and Ketchum ID.
A notebook of the complete history of the Central Oregon Spinners and Weavers Guild, with photographs is being created.