• Our supporters

    • * NWT Arts Council
    • * Yellowknife Community Foundation
    • * Canadian North
    • * Yellowknife Direct Charge Coop
    • * City of Yellowknife
    • * YK Dairies
    • * Yellowknife Home Hardware
    • * Creative Basics
    • * Genesis Group
    • * Coast Fraser Tower
    • * Emco Frontier Mining
    • * BHP Billiton Diamonds Inc
    • * St. Patrick High School
    • * Diavik Diamond Mines Inc
    • * Dave Pritchard
    • As well, everyone who volunteers, teaches, buys a raffle ticket, loads a kiln, purchases an item at our sales, mops the floor or takes a class contributes to building our Guild community. Thank you!

History

When the Yellowknife Guild of Crafts first began in 1946, women joined because they were new in town or because they needed to share their art with others, or because it offered an excuse to get out of the house once a month to socialize. The reasons people join today are not much different. “The Guild” is as important now over 60 years later in this city of 18,000 as it was when Yellowknife was a conglomeration of mining camps with only 3,000 people.

Over the years the Guild has changed and moved along with Yellowknife. Classes, meetings and sales have been held all over town – at Con Mine and Negus, in the old St. Pat’s school, Sir John Franklin High School, the Legion and Elks halls, in the basement of the old library, rooms in the old City Hall, and in the basement of the old Northern Health Building (known to many as the Guild of Crafts or IODE building.) A partnership with the Catholic School board allowed the Guild a place in their art room for several years. The Guild now runs out of a two story building owned by YK Dairies – the first time we have paid rent in our history, but also the first time we can work in our own space any time or way we please.

Teaching and promoting arts and crafts is the primary focus of the guild. Classes taught by local people with talents to share have included sewing, leatherwork, copper enamelling, batik, fabric printing, basketry, jewellery making, weaving and pottery. One to two hundred people each year take classes, and hundreds more line up for the annual spring and Christmas sales.

Dynamic women have always been in charge at the Guild. By all accounts, the first president, Ruth Stanton set the example for all who followed. With Yellowknife’s ever-changing and growing population, many talented people have arrived at our doors over the years. Their contributions as teachers, motivators, Board members and craftspeople have maintained and renewed the Guild for the past 60+ years.

Like many crafts, the Guild is characterized by scope and endurance. Members share with and support each other whether they dabble or devote themselves to their craft and whether their work is wild and woolly or precise and contained. Its endurance is a sign of its worth to the community.

(adapted from an article by Ann Peters)

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