This collective has expanded significantly from a core group over the last few years, to the point where space and equipment have become limiting factors. There are now 7 looms of various sizes and styles at MERA. Several of these looms are set up with extra-long warps which become cooperative projects that various members work on when they can.
10-12 PM (and beyond) Thursdays the weavers gather to plan and work on projects and are available to share ideas, advice and enthusiasm with each other and newer weavers. It’s an apprentice-like learn-as-you-go environment suited to those who have taken an introduction to weaving weekend workshop at a guild. MERA has on occasion had enough interest to hold such a workshop, but there is none planned this fall.
As with all groups at the schoolhouse, you must have a MERA membership to become a regular member of the MERA Heritage Weavers.
Check out the 2018 MERA Weavers Exhibition: Still Weaving After 20 Years
For additional information contact Lise Loader at 613 326 0087 or Mary Donnelly at 613 267 3447.
Weaving has been a tradition at MERA since its inception in 1998. Initially the schoolhouse porch was renovated to create a bright-lit studio under the direction of the coordinator Ellen Good. Looms, equipment and supplies were acquired mostly through generous donation. Classes were then initiated to teach weaving to the general public.
Demonstrations were given showcasing the local pioneer textile production, particularly the growing of flax for fibre and all the steps involved in the production of linen. These demonstrations were facilitated by a very generous donation of heritage artifacts from Saskia Mueffels of Ottawa.
At this point, the MERA Heritage Weaving Training Program in production weaving was launched. Local women were recruited who committed to an intensive program to learn all aspects of production weaving: from the weaving of quality items for sale, to the establishment of a business structure for marketing the items, to displaying and selling work through craft shows and local retail venues. When the training program came to an end in 2005 the trainees elected to form a cooperative group.
Exhibitions of heritage fibre production equipment and demonstrations of linen production as it was done during pioneer times were mounted at local fairs and craft shows and at Upper Canada Village. The weavers have carried on the production of heritage inspired textiles and continue to exhibit at local shows including:
- Fibrefest in Almonte in September
- Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild Christmas Sale in the first week of October
- Kingston Weavers and Spinners Guild Christmas show in the second week of October
- MERA Christmas Fair in late November