Our Guild had its first meeting back on September 9th, 1948. The first members - eighteen of them - were students of an Ontario Government "Community Programs" course in weaving which had been held here during that summer. These ladies were so taken up with learning to weave that they immediately organized the Niagara Weavers Guild. They immediately became affiliated with the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners (OHS) and shortly afterward began holding exhibits, taking part in craft and folk festivals, convening workshops, and talking themselves up to whomever would listen.
We are one of the oldest continuing Guilds in Ontario, sharing this honour with the guilds in Kingston and Kitchener-Waterloo. Since we began, we have gone beyond our boundaries of Niagara Falls, with members now coming from all over Niagara including St. Catharines, Port Dalhousie, Thorold, Jordan, Welland, Pelham, Fort Erie, Ridgeway,Grimsby, Port Colborne and Wainfleet. And somewhere along the line we now include spinners, basket makers, dyers, knitters, and fabric artists of all kinds.
The purpose of the Guild is to bring together those persons interested in, and engaged in the crafts of handweaving, spinning and related fibre arts, to upgrade public awareness of these crafts in our community, to upgrade and improve standards of workmanship and to assist the members in any appropriate manner.
In that light, the Niagara Handweavers and Spinners demonstrate their craft at various Heritage and Artisan events throughout Niagara, provide workshops at schools, participate in outreach programs, place entries in Ontario Handweavers and spinners(OHS) competitions including 'Five Counties', and compete in the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair's 'Sheep to Shawl' contest.
Part of our community outreach includes hands on demonstration with public school children taking pioneer studies.
Guild members can be seen weaving, rope-making or spinning at various locations throughout the year. We have participated in Heritage Day events at Balls Falls Conservation Area, Short Hills Conservation Area, St. David's, the Willoughby Museum in Niagara Falls, Port Colborne's Canal Days, the Beamsville Fair and various malls in Niagara. Samples of our work have been displayed at the libraries in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Fort Erie and Ridgeway, Welland Museum .
We have masters weavers and spinners. Experts in punch needling, basket weaving, kumihimo, dyeing fibres, knitting, crocheting, needle felting, sewing and more.