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How the JST Online Guild Came to Be

When I started weaving, 40 years ago, I did not belong to a guild. In fact, I’d been weaving for nearly eight years before I even knew there was such a thing as a weaving guild.

It was when I moved to beautiful Salt Spring Island after art school that I discovered the joy of the weaving guild. I was swooped up by my local guild: a wonderful group of warm and caring women. These women supported me as I navigated so many things that were new to me at the time–especially being a new mother and the loneliness of not having family close by.  I started my teaching career at that guild and I remember that period as a lovely time of sharing, weaving, a lot of love, and a lot of laughter.

For many years, as my teaching schedule became more and more demanding, I travelled all over both Canada and the US teaching what were almost always weekend workshops. I loved those weekends–but I always felt like we were all just getting started when it was suddenly time to leave. Sometimes, I felt sad and maybe even a bit cheated that we could only scratch the surface over a weekend.

After years of this I saw I wanted to do it differently.  I committed to making my home studio a fully functional workshop space, so that I could offer retreats that could extend a full five days. I saw so clearly how much further we’d be able to journey in those five days, especially if everyone had access to floor looms.

Those first workshops, I had no idea if anyone would sign up. I had that voice in my head—you know the one. (“All the way to Salt Spring Island? For a weaving retreat?”). I just had to hope it was true what they say (“If you build it they will come”) and I had to trust that, somehow, weavers would show up.

Show up they did. We sold out every offering within hours of posting, and our weavers came from all over the continent.  I was completely blown away.

For the past 10 years, that’s been my mode of teaching. A workshop every three weeks, like clockwork, for all those years.  It’s been great.

How the JST Online Weaving Guild Came to be

Fast-forward to the fall of 2016. The workshop wait lists had been getting longer and longer. I started to see that I was never ever going to be able to accommodate all the weavers who wanted to attend my workshops. So I started to consider the possibilities.

I had made a few videos for Louet many years before and I had heard from hundreds of Louet’s customers over the years how much they had enjoyed them and how much they had learned from them. So, then—what’s the next step? Videos for workshops? My retreat students and I tossed around lots of thoughts and ideas and slowly I found the courage to attempt it. I still had that voice in my head—you know the one. (“An online weaving guild? Really??”) But as always, I would never know unless I gave it a try.

I really didn’t know where to start but one of my students, Ellen, is an experienced marketer. Ellen helped me collect all my thoughts and ideas on a storyboard–and suddenly, it all just fell into place and I saw what I would do. I would start at the beginning—the same way I do in my live workshops–so that all weavers could come along on the journey. Then–the same way I do in my live workshops–I’d take my online students through the possibilities of various weave structures.

On the set with Jane Stafford
I hired a local film crew who make videos in the community and we booked our first five-day session, just to see what we could do together. It was a blast! In our first week we captured enough footage to make three episodes. We learned a ton together and have now made over 30 videos together.

And here we are. It’s now official: JST’s Online Guild is a going concern with members on every continent. (Well, except Antarctica. What’s with those penguins anyway? Or could it be a shortage of string?)  And so, I would like to thank you for your support in this exciting adventure, and invite you to come join the party.


13 thoughts on “How the JST Online Guild Came to Be

  1. Looks amazing. I would love to learn to weave.

  2. As a relatively new weaver I was directed to the online guild and what a fantastic find it was! I watched everything within days of joining and learned so much. Now I’m re-listening to each episode as I progress to that level. Some I’ve watched 3 or 4 times. What a wonderful journey it’s become. Thank you so much for sharing with us online, as I could never afford the trip to Salt Spring, even though I wish I could!

  3. Jane, Jane, Jane! I am so happy that you started the online guild. I joined at the beginning of the journey and the beginning of my journey into weaving. I look forward to every episode. It is wonderful to be able to go back to an episode if I have a question.

    Maybe, someday I will be able to afford a trip to Salt Spring Island for a workshop but until that time online it is! Keep up the great work. Thank you for everything you do.

  4. Not only do I watch and re-watch episodes but the whole of the guild is a wonderful reference library for any weaver. Sett, finishing, color theory (that in itself is a gold mine of information), looms, yarns, and on and on… WONDERFUL!! I hate when I have finished an episode and I can’t wait for the next one. Jane is one of those people that everyone would like to be her friend! I don’t believe her kindness, gentle spirit and fun way of teaching is just for the camera either. She makes each one of us feel as if we were right there in the studio with her. As long as there is a JST Guild, I will be a member!

  5. Been enjoying the guild from the beginning and have been spreading the word here in the uk. So far introduced 6 of my guild and a couple more are interested. Not bad for a small guild. I might apply for a discount if I can make it up to 10 !

  6. I love the on-line Guild! I’ve been weaving for more decades than I care to admit and do belong to a really good Guild in MN, but I still learn something every time you post a new episode. This years Color and Design episodes have really blown my mind. Totally changed my approach to project planning, use of color and experimenting with a long warp. Keep up the good work!

  7. Your guild was a gift from the wonderful Joan Sheridan owner of Heritage spinning & weaving. She treated it to me when I bought my Louet Spring. I will forever be great full. I love your guild the best part was that you began at the beginning! Thank you.

  8. Jane you are amazing. I have loved being in your workshops and love the online guild too. You are an amazing teacher and inspire us all to reach our highest potential. The workshops allow us to be with you in person which is fabulous – such a sense of humour. But the online guild allows us to see you again and again to jog our memories on the key elements of colour and design. I watch the episodes over and over. That is how I get my “Jane” fix. Thanks for all you do for the weaving world.

  9. Jane, I’m so happy you are doing this guild, I have learned so much and made so many lovely things. Your the best!!

  10. Love love these Jane episodes…I have had the good luck and planning to attend 5 Jane workshops. Now I can relive and review and get inspired again and again.Watched your warping videos today, reminded of proper technique.
    Keep it going. Thank you

  11. Thank you so much Jane for all that you do for the weaving community! I have been weaving since the early 1990s and I learn something new in each of your episodes!!

  12. JST online guild is fabulous! I have had the good fortune to take real time workshops with Jane in the deep murky past but I signed up for the guild anyway, mainly to support her. Even as an experienced weaver, I know I can always learn something new from Jane or be reminded of something I have forgotten. This is a golden opportunity for weavers around the world- new, old or wanna be! Do join the party!!!

  13. Diving into an on line class took only a few moments to decide. I was fortunate to take two classes from Jane but then I could never decide what to weave. Both color and design were a struggle. I became a cookbook weaver. Well, has that ever changed! And now I can’t wait to get the next project on the loom. Thanks for being you. I’m having fun with my weaving now. And proud to be able to share it with those I love.

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