KHWS holds monthly meetings on the second Wednesday of each month, except July and August, in our studio at the J.K. Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning. Meetings are preceded by a social time at 6:30, followed by the general meeting at 7:00. Members of the general community are very welcome to attend.
KHWS was formed in 1948 with a mandate to promote the teaching of weaving, spinning and related crafts in their historic, contemporary and technical contexts. Initially members met in each other's homes. As the organization grew, various studio spaces were used, including at one point the attic of Kingston City Hall. In 1973 KHWS moved to the City-owned J.K. Tett Centre, occupying a substantial studio space. The Portsmouth Town Hall became KHWS’s interim home in 2009 as a complete renovation, restoration and rejuvenation of “The Tett” was about to begin. That work has been completed and we now occupy a wonderful, beautiful studio space.
KHWS is one of the largest guilds of its kind in eastern Ontario, drawing its membership of over 80 members, from a radius of about 100 km. It is now incorporated under the laws of the Province of Ontario as a non-profit corporation.
KHWS offers workshops, seminars, mentor programs and open studio activities to its members and interested community members, and also participates in a number of City-sponsored events each year. From simple beginnings the Guild has developed into an important contributor to the cultural life of the citizens of Kingston.
Threads of History Project 2021
MEDIA RELEASE: Threads of History digital exhibition launched
Kingston, Ontario - The Kingston Handloom Weavers & Spinners (KHWS) is pleased to announce the
launch of its virtual Threads of History display. Generously supported by a grant from the City of
Kingston Heritage Fund, the Threads of History project brings together oral histories, objects, and
images to tell the story of KHWS, from its founding in 1948 to the present.
Interviews with twenty KHWS members were conducted by two graduate student research assistants
from Queen’s University during the summer of 2021, using a variety of technologies to accommodate
Covid-19 safety measures. The resulting interviews were paired with images of fibres and friendships
forged—gleaned from the Guild’s archives as well as members’ collections—to create five digital
exhibitions. These exhibitions explore the formation and early days of the Guild, KHWS’s involvement
with the Kingston community, its commitment to fibre arts education and its social importance, as well
as the personal stories of the Guild’s members. Together, they highlight the continued importance of
the fibre arts to individuals and the Kingston community, and the deep connections between KHWS’s
In addition to capturing the rich history of KHWS, the Threads of History project reflects the narratives
of makers and community members who are often overlooked in official histories of the region, and
further serves as a model to other multi-generational guilds who might be looking to preserve their
stories. As Guild President Rosamund Hyde notes,“What we knew was, people in our guild have
wonderful stories to tell; what we learned was that many, many people were willing to help bring those
stories to the world in this Threads of History website.”
The project also offered valuable research experience to two graduate student researchers, Jung-Ah
Kim and Shaelagh Cull. Of her involvement with the project, Kim states “Coming to Kingston, I had no
idea such a dynamic and creative fibre arts community existed. I feel very fortunate to have been part of
this project and to learn the rich history of KHWS as well as the beauty of fibre arts. Not only has the
project sparked my appreciation for textiles, but it has also informed my own graduate research in an
exciting direction. I would like to deeply thank everyone for welcoming me to the project and sharing
such wonderful stories."
Visit the Threads of History project at https://khwsthreadsofhistory.omeka.net/