Moving on??????

by | May 27, 2024 | Fibre Arts, Qualicum Beach

The Qualicum Weavers and Spinners Guild has had many homes over the years.  In the early days, the guild met at The Old School House Art Centre and Valhalla among other short term locations.  Then the guild found a longer term home in the old Via train station in Qualicum Beach.

QB train station

The guild was granted the “loft” area in the train station.  With its narrow zig zag stair case, low ceilings and tiny casement windows, it was more like a garret than a weaving studio.  Guild members and their friends raised money and turned that garret into a busy work space with two looms, a library and meeting area.  The Fanny and Gilmore looms were kept in narrow alcoves.  Setting them up required some agility to get at the back beams.  Our sale fixtures were stored in makeshift cupboards under the eaves.  Again agility and flexibility were essential to retrieve anything out of those dark recesses.  As the membership grew we had to rent space for our monthly meetings.

myrtle weaving in an alcove

Check out the two small windows in the attic space, they were the main source of light.  The guild flourished in that cramped attic.  Members produced some amazing group projects.  We learned and laughed together.  Some how we managed to organize guild sales, demonstrations, workshops and even a retreat for all the guilds on Vancouver Island out of our “loft”.

a mini workshop at “the loft”

Qualicum Commons

In 2017 the town of Qualicum Beach decided to dedicate the train station as a technology centre.  The guild was forced to move.  The town gave us both physical and monetary assistance to move into a school room in the Qualicum Commons.

town staff helping with the move

 

Suddenly we had more space than we had furniture for.  The ground floor entrance was a blessing to members with mobility issues.  No more crouching to get through “alice-in-wonderland” doors to get equipment.  And there was light!  We had space for 3 looms, a library, yarn inventory, supplies and we could still host a workshop or a meeting.

classes in progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no doubt that the access to good space has allowed us to expand our membership and programs.  We now have over 80 members.  So it was concerning when we learned that the school board is discussing the possibility of closure of Qualicum Commons to renters like us as of July of 2025.  That would give us one year to find new accomodations.  Nothing definitive has happened and we will not know the school board’s intention until after June 25th.  We understand that Qualicum Commons requires serious repairs and upgrades and that the school board simply does not have the funds needed.

We have an opportunity to give input into the decision and we are working with other tenants in Qualicum Commons to determine what that input will be.  We also plan to set up a committee to review what we need in the way of a new home so that we can begin a search by the early fall.  Even if the board’s decision is to keep the building as rental space (in the short term) it is in our best interest to know what our options are.

While this may seem like a serious blow to our group, remember, the guild is the sum of its members.  It is not the space it occupies.  If this group could flourish in a mouse (I’d rather not think they were rats) infested garret with tiny windows that didn’t close and a staircase only a monkey could navigate safely then we’ll be just fine.

If you are a member and want more information then check the notes that will come out with the minutes of our business meeting on May 26th.

 

 

 

 

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