Golden Gate Weavers Guild, the first Weaving Guild in California, was organized on October 29, 1938 at the home of Mrs. Carl Werner. Fourteen persons joined for the purpose of giving one another help and encouragement in weaving. Dues were 50 cents a year. At first, meetings were held in members' homes, but increasing membership made it necessary to move to larger facilities. Several locations have been used over the years.
In 1941, with a membership of 38, an exhibit was given at the Claremont Hotel. It featured six furnished rooms: a colonial and a modern living room, a dining room and a bedroom. All the textiles were handwoven. Three hundred dollars was made and donated to the British War Relief.
During World War II, many members taught weaving at hospitals; many wove baskets and others donated articles to aid charitable institutions. A Citation was awarded to the Guild by the Disabled Army Veterans in recognition of meritorious services rendered.
During the busy years of the 40's, two Guild weaving exhibits were staged at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, and a traveling exhibit was sent to nearby towns. Throughout the years, the Guild has participated in many exhibits and has demonstrated weaving to interested groups.
The major showcase for the Guild shifted to the Conference of Northern California Handweavers (CNCH) with its founding in 1953. The Guild has enjoyed reflected glory of the many individual ribbons won by its members over the years and has received several awards for the excellence of its displays.
1970 to 1971 was a banner year for the Guild: the height of the Hippie Period when people were interested in doing things by hand. There were 65 members that year!
Currently, the Guild has 30 members. We meet from September to June, mostly at Sports Basement in Berkeley, and occasionally at members' homes. We also have a Study Group that meets on Saturday mornings, concentrating on one topic at a time. Guild meetings have a speaker program related to textiles. And, there is an annual picnic in June where we auction off surplus yarn and equipment donated by members with the funds added to the Guild treasury.
For the last 10 years the Guild has had an outreach program, going to local schools for weaving and spinning demonstrations with a heavy emphasis on letting the children weave.
We have demonstrated weaving and spinning at East Bay Regional Park, Tilden Nature Center, and the El Cerrito Recycling Center. We have had exhibits of our weavings at Marvin Gardens in Kensington, the East Bay Municipal Water District Headquarters, the Tilden Park Nature Center, and the Mens Faculty Club at UC Berkeley. In the spring of 2019, the Guild will submit a proposal to EBMUD for a future exhibit.