Showing posts with label weaving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weaving. Show all posts

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Living Heritage Podcast Ep219 Mentor-Apprentice Program: Weaving with Jessica McDonald and Christian Dauble

Jessica McDonald and Christian Dauble.

In this episode we talk with mentor Jessica, and apprentice Christian who are two participants of Heritage NL’s Mentor-Apprentice Program. Jessica is a Textile Artist who completed the Textiles program at the College of the North Atlantic and fine-tuned her skills at NSCAD University. She has presented and taught workshops at the Anna Templeton Centre and the Craft Council of NL, and continues to promote and bring awareness to weaving. Christian, an avid knitter, became enamoured with weaving in 2019 and decided to pursue it further. They built a small loom from a canvas frame where they began to practice basic tapestry weaving. Christian has completed over twenty projects in the past two years.


Living Heritage is about people who are engaged in the heritage and culture sector, from museum professionals and archivists, to tradition bearers and craftspeople - all those who keep history alive at the community level. The show is a partnership between HeritageNL and CHMR Radio.

Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Living Heritage Podcast Ep217 Weaving Her Life Across Canada

Weaving and hooked rugs by Celeste Colbourne.

In this episode of the Living Heritage Podcast we talk with Celeste Colbourne about weaving including her interest and background with the craft, the process of weaving, and her experience weaving across Canada.

Celeste Colbourne in front of her loom in her home.

Celeste Colbourne is a weaver who was introduced to the intricacies of making yarn, threading a loom, and creating beautiful cloth 28 years ago in British Columbia. Over the years miles of handwoven cloth have been woven and sold in almost every province, and now she is home, weaving in Newfoundland.


Living Heritage is about people who are engaged in the heritage and culture sector, from museum professionals and archivists, to tradition bearers and craftspeople - all those who keep history alive at the community level. The show is a partnership between HeritageNL and CHMR Radio.

Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Living Heritage Podcast Ep186 Carding and Weaving in Millville, Codroy Valley

Today, we are taking a trip to the community of Millville, in the Codroy Valley on Newfoundland’s west coast.  We’re going to have a chat with Edwin “Hockey” Gale, whose family started the carding mill that gave the town its name.  Joining him is Megan Samms, who is a weaver and textile artist living and working in Millville near the house she grew up in, and where she learned to spin yarns and knit them together. 

You can visit Megan's website and see some of her gorgeous work here:

You can also follow her on Instagram here:


Living Heritage is about people who are engaged in the heritage and culture sector, from museum
professionals and archivists, to tradition bearers and craftspeople - all those who keep history alive at the
community level. The show is a partnership between HeritageNL and CHMR Radio.
Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Heritage Weaving - Condon's 100% Pure Wool Blankets, Prince Edward Island to Newfoundland


A while back, I got an email from Joanne Morrissey, who we've been working with on her North River project. She had just cleared out an old trunk that had been stored in her basement since 1992. Her mother used to buy sheep's wool when they were shorn in the spring, wash it, pick it and mail via Canada Post to Wm. Condon and Sons, PEI, to have blankets made. 

She writes, "They would make and return in the mail, or return a blanket in the mail, maybe not from the exact wool, but at the time I thought it was from the exact wool!"

If you have a memory of wool processing in Newfoundland, or the Condon mill in particular, email me at

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Wicker work and woven furniture in Newfoundland - Have you seen a chair like this?

I've been scanning some photos from North River and Halls Town in Conception Bay, as part of an ongoing project we have there. If you are on Facebook,  you can look at all those photos in the North River Halls Town Memories group.

One of the photos is scanned from a slide from the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation, circa 1994. I have no information for it, but am assuming it came out of a house in North River, and was photographed when the Heritage Corp was doing heritage inventory work there in the 1990s. It shows a wicker rocking chair, painted white. I don't know if it was made locally or imported, but I'd love to have more information on it, or pieces like it.

Back in 2012, I photographed the woven bassinet below, owned by the Barnable family. It was purchased in 1959, and was made as part of a craft training program run by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). You can see more on that here.

If you have any pieces of Newfoundland (or Labrador) made woven furniture or basketry, or if these spark a memory for you, email me at or comment below.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Where are the Looms? Help HeritageNL track down the province's looms and weavers.

A new group is turning to social media to track down some old technology - the wooden weaving looms that might be hiding in attics or basements somewhere in the province.

“A loom is the apparatus used for the purpose of weaving cloth,” says textile artist and researcher Jessica McDonald. “Its rudimentary principle is to hold threads under tension. Whether it be a floor loom, table top loom, or tapestry loom, its main purpose is to facilitate the weaver in creating a cloth”

McDonald is a recent graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, who creates her own textile art, teaches, and researches weaving and craft in Atlantic Canada. She has recently created a woven piece for the “Newfoundland through a Window” Exhibition located at the Arts and Culture Center in Corner Brook.

McDonald’s work is the most recent chapter in a long history of weaving in Newfoundland and Labrador. From the days of the Grenfell Missions and the Jubilee Guilds, to the craft revival of the 1970s and the current makers movement, looms have been constantly busy in the background of the local craft scene.

“We want to find those old looms, some of which were hand-made, and figure out who the old weavers were,” says McDonald.

In addition to looking for old looms, the group is hoping to compile a list of living people in the province with weaving skills, as well as collecting old photos, stories, or memories of family members who used to weave.

“People who hold the knowledge of our various heritage crafts seem fewer in number, year by year,” says Heritage NL folklorist Dale Jarvis. “We want to document what has been lost, but also to record who still knows today how to make the tools and objects of yesterday.”

In response to what they see as a craft tradition at risk, Heritage NL has started up a Facebook group called “Weavers and Spinners of Newfoundland and Labrador” and will be hosting a “Where are the Looms?” online forum Thursday, April 9th at 11am, open to all interested in the textile heritage of the province, weavers and non-weavers alike.  The event is free, but pre-registration is required at

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Weaving Pillow Tops in Cupids

Yesterday I was invited out to Cupids to instruct a pillow top workshop. Dale came along and we had a great time at The Cupids Legacy Centre teaching a lovely group how to weave this interesting textile. 

Pillow tops are square-shaped textiles woven from wool using a wooden frame, made by Newfoundland women and men. Women would make these in various sizes and used them around the house as pillow covers, table toppers, and backs for chairs. Pillow tops were also made by men working in the lumber camps. Cutting and collecting lumber was arduous work and the only day the men in the camps had off was Sunday. To pass the time some men would make pillow tops to give to girlfriends, wives and mothers.

For more information on pillow tops check out the Intangible Cultural Heritage Pillow Top Collection on Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative. 

And here's some of the finished pillow tops. One thing I love about these is they all look different, I've yet to see two pillow tops that look the same. 

For more information on the tradition of Newfoundland lumber camp workers weaving pillow tops, check out this issue of the ICH newsletter

If you're interested in making your own pillow top frame, check out this blog entry which includes instructions and lots of pictures.

And if you'd like to have us out to your community to teach a pillow top workshop, you can reach Nicole Penney at 1-888-739-1892 ex.6 or via email at

Happy Weaving! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to Make a Pillow Top Frame

A few days ago in the ICH Office we tried our hands at making a small pillow top frame. The plan is to use the smaller frames in workshops, particularly with younger kids. It currently takes about 4 hours to complete a pillow top on the large frame. Using the small frame, the pillow top can be completed in about 2.5 hours, making this activity much more accessible. 

Our small frame turned out well and the end result is a cute little pillow top, with very fluffy pom poms, that can be used as a trivet or table topper. Several of these mini pillow tops could be sewn together to make a blanket.  

After receiving a few requests, I decided to put together this step-by-step guide for making your very own pillow top frame.


  • 8 pieces of wood measuring 8" long, 1-1/4" wide and 3/4" thick
  • wood glue
  • clamps
  • 24 x 2" nails 
  • 12 x 1-1/4" wood screws 
  • power drill
  • hammer
  • ruler
  • pencil

Step One: 

Take four pieces of wood and arrange to form a square. Add a layer of  wood glue and  place the other four pieces on top.

Step Two: 

Using the drill, insert screws into the end of each piece of wood, as seen in the picture below. Before this step you may need to clamp the pieces together and put aside while the glue sets. 


Step Three:

Using a ruler and pencil, draw a line down the middle of each side of the frame, lengthwise. Then along this line, mark off, in even spaces, where you will hammer in your nails. Space the nails about 1 inch apart. 

Step Four: 

Drill holes in each of these markers to make it easier to hammer in the nails. Hammer 6 nails into each side. Make sure they are even. Leave about half the nail sticking out of the frame. 

Once all the nails are all hammered in you can start weaving!

Here's the finished product! : )

If you have any questions about how to make your frame or are interested in having us put off a pillow top workshop in your community, feel free to get in touch with Nicole at (709) 739-1892 ex. 6 or via email at 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: English Picnic Baskets

A woven basket owned by Neal Wells of Grand Falls-Windsor
A woven basket owned by Patricia Mchuge of Grand Falls-Windsor
Last year the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office undertook a collection project focused on basket making in this province. We documented several basket styles, including what we believe to be two English picnic baskets. Beyond that we know very little about these baskets and would like to figure out exactly what they are woven from. We suspect the baskets to be made of willow, as this is a very common material used by English basket makers. Also, both these baskets seem to constructed using the randing weave, which is a common style of English willow weaving.

If you happen to have any idea what these baskets are made of  please get in touch with the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, we'd love to hear from you! Contact Nicole at 1-888-739-1892 ex.6 or email at