Dyers, Spinners and Weavers

The Guild of Dyers, Spinners and Weavers

Guildmistress (acting): Duchessa Alessandra Melusine

Aims & Objectives

Members must strive to increase their knowledge and skill in their craft, with particular reference to the styles and techniques of their chosen period.

Rules of Advancement

Apprentice Any person who expresses an interest and a desire to learn may enter the Guild as an Apprentice. No distinction is made between the crafts at this stage. Journeyman In general, aspirants should show skill in the basic techniques of their craft, and knowledge of the basic theories involved. This may be tested by verbal or written examination.

Produce samples of at least three different colours using natural dyestuffs. Understand the use of, and function of, mordants, and the difference between substantive and subjective dyes.

Demonstrate the basic techniques of preparing a clean fleece and the production of a spun thread by using a drop spindle, hand spindle, great wheel or fly wheel. Understand the different types of fleece and their uses. Understand the theory & practice of plying yarn and show a sample of a simple plied yarn.

Produce sample pieces of tabby weave and 2x1 twill weave. The pieces may be produced on any type of loom, or by needle weaving on a card or simple frame loom. Have a basic understanding of different types of looms, including the warp-weighted method. NOTE: Samples of other types of weaving e.g. tapestry or braid weaving are acceptable.

Master In general the aspirant to mastership should show considerable skill in the basic techniques of her/his chosen craft, plus a working knowledge of at least some of the more specialised techniques. In addition, it would normally be expected that a master should show some evidence of original design work or research.

Show a range of samples demonstrating the use of various dyestuffs & mordants. At least one sample of a colour produced by an unusual method, such as woad or lichen by fermentation, should be included; plus at least one sample of a colour produced by over-dyeing e.g. Lincoln green. Show a good knowledge of the dyes & mordants used during the aspirant's chosen time period.

Show samples of woollen yarn spun from different types of fleeces by the woollen, semi-worsted & worsted methods. Demonstrate the preparation & spinning of any fibre other than wool, such as flax, cotton or silk. Demonstrate at least one method of a special effect produced plying technique. Show a hank of at least two ounces weight of plain piled yarn to demonstrate consistency of twist, thickness & texture.

Submit a masterpiece for consideration. This piece should be fairly substantial and should show some original design work, e.g. a Viking tunic with braided edging; a piece of cloth at least three feet square (which may be pieced) showing wither a complex twill weave or interesting use of colour; a complex piece of tablet weaving.

Notes to the Rules of Advancement An aspirant wishing to submit work at variance with the requirements above should discuss this with the Guildmaster. In general, alternatives are acceptable provided they demonstrate a suitable level of skill and knowledge. If more than one craft is being pursued it may be possible to combine these when submitting work for evaluation e.g. to weave with hand spun yarn. A weaver may use commercially spun and dyed yarn, a dyer, commercially spun yarn or woven cloth, a spinner, commercially prepared dyes. All craftspeople should strive towards authenticity, notwithstanding the above, particularly in the use of materials in medieval times. Thus, man-made fibres should be avoided and the use of natural and self-produced items is to be encouraged.

Guild Rules

  1. Applications to join the guild will be welcomed from all members of the Society. Applications, however, are subject to the final approval of the Guildmaster.
  2. There will be a tri-partite system of advancement. Members may pursue any, or all, of the crafts of dyeing, weaving & spinning. Any person who achieves mastery in all three skills shall be awarded the title of Grand Master.
  3. Members must provide their own materials for the practice and furtherance of their craft.
  4. Members of the rank of Journeyman and above may accept commissions and be paid accordingly, and may offer goods for sale. A donation to Guild funds may be levied at the discretion of the Guildmaster.
  5. The Guild may issue licences to non-members who wish to sell their wares at principality events. Persons wishing to obtain a licence must approach the Guildmaster and present a sample of their wares for inspection. A donation to Guild funds may be levied at the discretion of the Guildmaster.
  6. Members of the rank of Journeyman or above may instruct others in their craft, but should inform the Guildmaster that they are doing so.
  7. Members of the rank of Journeyman or above may be requested to conduct demonstrations and/or workshops for the instruction of others.
  8. Members of the Guild are encouraged to produced learned articles for publication in Guild, sub-group, or Society, publications. A copy of all such articles must be submitted to the Guildmaster before publication.
  9. The Guildmaster shall be elected by the Masters, and from their number. Grand Masters shall have the same voting rights as Masters.
  10. The elected Guildmaster shall be the Guild's voice to Council, and shall chair all Guild meetings.
  11. The Guildmaster retains a casting vote on all Guild matters
  12. Guild Officers may be appointed by the Guildmaster. These Officers shall assist the Guildmaster as required.
  13. The Guild shall hold a meeting annually, plus other meetings as required.
  14. The Guild will organise workshops or instruction on request by any member of the Society, at a time & place agreeable to the Guildmaster.
  15. Books, pamphlets, masterworks & instructional materials owned by the Guild will be freely available to all members on request.
  16. Current lists of members, their skills & ranks held, will be freely available to all members on request.
  17. All members of the Guild shall undertake to be known for their honourable behaviour. Any Guild member who, in the opinion of their fellows, calls the Guild into disrepute may be expelled from the Guild. Appeal from such expulsion will lie with the Head-of-Society.
  18. The Guildmaster may vary these rules at any time, and must inform the Master of Arts & Sciences and all Guild members of such changes.