Illinois Prairie Weavers

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September's Program:

Laura de los Santos -- Mexican Village Weaving

Laura is a Field Museum docent and will review Maya textile production through archeological evidence and Maya mythology that demonstrates weaving and weavers were central to this culture. The ancient Mayan tradition will be brought into today through the lives of 21st Century Yucatec Maya weavers and their work.

September 23rd Field Trip:

Field Museum's Ancient Americas

Join us on a guided tour of Ancient Americas, the permanent exhibit highlighting indigenous populations of the Americas. We will see textile representations in stone and ceramics and learn about the importance of textiles and their creation to various cultures of the Ancient Americas. Fee is $15 (transportation and lunch costs are not included).

Spotlight on The Free Spirits--Branching Out!

by Roving Reporter, Kate W

Taking us on journey along the three branches of the Chicago River, we saw how these multi-talented weavers were inspired by the river. Starting out on the North Branch of the Chicago River, Bev Atseff was inspired by Riverview Amusement Park. Using chain maille, she wove a beautiful pendant inspired by the Ferris wheel at the park. Going farther south down the forest preserves inspired two bead-woven butterfly wings for Bev, and the colors of spring daffodils and irises had Chris weaving cotton towels. Chris was motivated by the industrial buildings along the river to weave a runner depicting the windows of these buildings. Reaching the Main Branch of the river in the heart of downtown is where most of their inspirations came from. By taking a cue from the 1887 Illinois General Assembly to reverse the flow of the river from Lake Michigan, Bev took the yardage woven in tencel from their "lakeshore" program a few years ago and "reversed the water from the lake (yardage) to make a river project" by using the yardage to make two 80" shawls. The ripples in the river encouraged her to make a chain maille bracelet in blue/green.

Bev Savel wove three blue/green runners in shadow weave representing the river being dyed green on St. Patrick's Day every year. And of course, a river has to have fish--Bev Savel wove up a fish motif necklace with beads and Bev Atseff did a rag strip runner with fabric called "River Fish". Chris chose the bridges going over the river for her runners depicting them one as closed using a blended weave in crackle and an open bridge in crackle using cottolin that ended up on the floor tangled. Using the windows from the buildings along the river as inspiration she also wove a black and gold scarf representing the light from within. Taking a little side journey off the river Bev Savel was prompted to weave four theater signs in beads. Bev Atseff took a knitted hat that she felted but was too small to wear and decided it could be a representation of a bowl that perhaps the Pottawatomie Indians would have used living along the river.

Going down the South Branch and passing Union Station, Bev Atseff used the Santa Fe design for a 15" framed train motif. Chris paid tribute to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 by weaving crackle weave blocks to represent the fire then used the fabric to cover the pad on a shoeshine bench. It wasn't until Chinatown and Ping Tom Park before they really got their inspirations. The buildings got Nellie weaving a turned summer and winter pieces representing the colors of the skyline and the boathouse with their kayaks prompted her to weave a runner. Chris used her thrums to create felted bowls, taking her cue from the rice bowls in Chinatown, Bev Savel knitted panda hats, and Bev Atseff wove a 90" runner in summer and winter pick-up depicting Chinese lanterns in wool and hand dyed silk. All in all this presentation was a lovely way to see the Chicago River symbolized in weaving.

IPW Celebrates 65th Anniversary!

by Roving Reporter, Kate W

After our June 10th business and program, over thirty members attended a luncheon celebrating 65 years as a weaving guild. With a little help from the Anniversary Planning Committee, the meeting room was changed into a comfortable spot to sit, talk and eat from a buffet table of sandwiches, salads and fruit. Tables were decorated with blue and white cloths and fresh flowers. Off to one side were the history and raffle tables. Members enjoyed browsing the history table which included the original book of the guild's first few years of minutes plus the attendance records, and newspaper clippings with articles on members in the early years. There were yearbooks from the early years that had been made by hand and decorated with weaving from guild members. A display board with photos taken of members attending workshops or holiday parties served as a backdrop.

The raffle baskets were a huge success! Everyone was excited to buy tickets in hopes they would win a basket. There were three sapphire blue baskets, each filled with different types of fiber that can be used for our 65th Anniversary Challenge plus some additional weaving goodies. As an added bonus dots were put on underneath one chair at each table and the winner received the table decoration. The celebration cake was delicious and was a source of much laughter as tongues were turned blue from the frosting! It was a great time to sit back, relax a little and reconnect with fellow members and talk about how far the guild has come and hope for another 65 years.

Other Photos

Click here to view the latest Show & Tell pictures!

Click here to view pictures from the Free Spirits' program "Branching Out"!

Click here to view pictures from the 65th Anniversary Celebration!

Click here to view pictures from the 2013 Annual Challenge.

Click here to view individual guild member's photos, previous programs, and events.