Back in 1975, two friends decided to place an ad in the local newspaper to see if they could find like-minded people who enjoyed arts and crafts. They announced a meeting date, and were overwhelmed at the number of people who attended.
That was the beginning of the Juan de Fuca Arts & Crafts Guild. Forty years later the umbrella group, with its various member groups focusing on their own genres most of the year, continues to help organize crafters from around the West Shore and beyond.
As evidenced by its recent donation of $900 toward the refurbishing of seats at Isabelle Reader Theatre in Langford, the Guild lends a hand to other community groups in the area, largely with the proceeds from its annual fall display and sale.
At that first meeting in 1975, a decision was made to “have a sale.” As with the meeting attendance the response was more than they could have hoped for. One result of that meeting was the creation of a mandate to “promote arts and crafts in the Western Communities.”
Members were separated into several groups with similar interests – cottage crafts (mainly needlework), Potters, Painters (all mediums); Fibres (primarily working with natural fibres); Photography; Graphic Arts; and 3-Dimensional (anything that did not fit into any other category – flower arranging, woodwork, stained glass, etc.)
Over the years they have had many more displays and sales. In the early years craft fairs were rare and it was not uncommon for 200 or more people to be lined up before the opening of a Guild event.
Guild members have participated in many community events in the past, including the old Gllangcolme Days, the Lavender Festival, Metchosin Day, Discovery Days in View Royal, Luxton Fall Fair, West Shore Town Centre Mall Hobby Show, Royal Roads Mothers’ Day Paint-In and last year’s B.C. Day Festival for the Performing Arts.
The Juan de Fuca Arts & Crafts Guild has seen many people come and go, and its membership fluctuate. Crafts have evolved, re-evolved and been revived.
The groups have changed according to the times, the latest being the formation of a machine knitting group. Unfortunately that group was unable to continue, but the members have remained in other groups.
This summer the Guild will host a 40th anniversary reunion for past and present members. For more information about the reunion or to how to join, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
– submitted by the Juan de Fuca Arts and Crafts Guild