Guilds of Christmas Sale promises ‘bang-up show’

May 15, 2014

I remember when I was working as a reporter on the Gulf Islands Driftwood, one of my colleagues said that once Remembrance Day, on November 11, was over then everyone became preparations for Christmas on Salt Spring Island. 

Over the 16 years I lived on the island, I realized over and over again that this was SO true. One of the reasons that people ‘start’ Christmas on November 12 is because there are so many Christmas events that island people participate in. They feature many of the many,many artistically creative people who live on Salt Spring Island. These events need lots of planning time to put together whether they are choir concerts, theatrical plays or the many Christmas craft sales. There can be many disagreements among those who organize these numerous events. Maybe because the people are so talented is why the disagreements and the politics involved can sometimes be quite venomous. 

This story is about one of them. I invite you to read between the lines:

Gulf Islands Driftwood

November 24, 1999

Guilds of Christmas Sale promises ‘bang-up show’

by Tanya Lester

About 90 of Salt Spring’s most renowned craftspeople from a variety of guilds are as busy as Santa’s elves right now as they gear up for this year’s The Guilds of Christmas Sale (GCS).

“This is the time of year when people have the opportunity to see really quality work,” said Judith Mitchell, manager of the GCS which opens Friday at Mahon Hall.

“I think sometimes we fail to recognize how much talent exists on this island,” said Mitchell.

Donna Vanderwekken of the weavers guild said the overall quality of the GCS is usually higher than the summer’s ArtCraft sale as there is less of a focus on “touristy stuff”.

“I think it will really be a bang-up show,” said potters guild member Judy Weeden. She is contributing half a dozen of her “one-of-a-kind” pieces.

At this point in her career, Weeden explained, she is not interested in making items she is not inspired to create or does not have time to make.

Weeden said there will be many more potters with their pieces on display than there was last year because, after going through a “bit of a slump like many groups sometimes do,” this guild has “rejuvenated”.

Members are now meeting for breakfast at ArtSpring once every three weeks, said Weeden.

In addition to this, Weeden credits GCS manager Mitchell with doing an excellent job of encouraging craftspeople to participate by approaching them on a one-on-one basis.

“We’ve left the old guild sale behind,” said Weeden. “Judy (Mitchell) has done a good job of handing it back to the guilds.”

There is also a wider range of guilds participating and new items that have not been sold at GCS before.

There will be a variety of baskets, including ones woven into wood bases and those made of willow. Mitchell said proceeds from handwoven Christmas decorations made by basketry guild members will be donated to the Salt Spring Food Bank.

Vanderwekken stepped up her production in October in preparation for the GCS. She believes the number of weavers contributing this year is up slightly.

The GCS has been an annual event at Mahon Hall for 22 years, said Salt Spring Community Arts Council president Lawrie Neish. It began with three guilds: the weavers, potters and painters.

Over the years, an event called A Touch of Salt Spring helld on Vancouver Island has competed with the GCS. Neish explained that event features very few Salt Spring craftspeople and draws the buld of its participants from Vancouver Island.

Mitchell hopes to collaborate with Christmas sales at Fulford Hall and Beaver Point Hall to attract people from Victoria and other parts of Vancouver Island to Salt Spring on the December 3-5 weekend, when A Touch of Salt Spring is scheduled to run in Saanich…


To read the earlier posts in this blog, go to

Facebook. LinkedIn.Twitter.

Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester. Read the first few pages and/or purchase by going to the title and author name at or purchase directly from me, the author.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s