Event brings together weavers from across the country

Master Weaver Ethyl Warbus teaches a student at a previous Weavers Teaching Weavers gathering, an annual conference organized by Northwest Indian College that helps preserve the art of weaving. Photo by Maxine Stremler
Northwest Indian College’s (NWIC) annual Weavers Teaching Weavers conference will take place April 12 and 13 on the college’s main campus, and will be followed by a Native art market on April 14 at the Whatcom Museum, which will feature several Master Weavers from the conference.

The Weavers Teaching Weavers conference helps to preserve the art of weaving by providing a venue where apprentice weavers can learn from Master Weavers, said Susan Given-Seymour, director of Northwest Indian College’s Cooperative Extension Department, which organizes the conference. Last year, 139 people representing 29 tribes participated.

“This is an opportunity for Native weavers to come and learn from each other, and from some highly experienced weaver teachers,” Given-Seymour said.

One of the experienced weavers who will be sharing her knowledge at this year’s conference is Carol Emarthle-Douglas, who is Northern Arapaho and Seminole and has been weaving for more than 15 years.

Emarthle-Douglas won first place at the 2010 Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market, Best of Class for Basketry, and first place at the 89th Annual Sante Fe Indian Market. This will be her third year leading students at the Weavers Teaching Weavers conference.

Emarthle-Douglas said the NWIC conference gives weavers of all types of basketry the chance to share their particular styles of weaving, and that she’s honored to be a part of it.

“The level of basket weavers at this gathering is phenomenal,” Emarthle-Douglas said. “Each is a master and as a participant in the past, they are all so giving in their teaching and are so eager to share their talent with anyone who wants to learn. It is such a great chance for anyone who wants to learn the art of basketry.”

In addition to teaching at the conference, Emarthle-Douglas will be the featured artist at the April 14 arts market, where she will demonstrate contemporary coiled waxed linen basket weaving.

The art market will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Whatcom Museum at 121 Prospect St. in Bellingham. Admission will be $3, or free for museum members.

To register for the Weavers Teaching Weavers conference, contact Ruth Solomon at (360) 392-4239 or email rsolomon@nwic.edu. Registration is $150. Project kit fees range from $25 and up.