NEWSLETTER 70th Anniversary Special Edition

October 2017

Editor: Mary Brunell 

Photos:  Janet Cooper, Jody Brown, Mary Brunell, Noriko Crasso

Seventieth Celebration Message from our President, Janet Cooper

This is a great day, and I have the pleasant duty of welcoming you all

to this celebration of the Weavers’ Guild of Rhode Island as we complete

our 70th year. We have a big afternoon planned with festivities and food.  

We’ll have some awards and a fashion show, and cake! I’d like to thank our

party co-chairs, Norma Smayda and Mary Brunell who worked hard to

make this happen.

On Oct. 21, 1947, an organizational meeting was held at RISD with

Mr. William E. Fales, head of the textile department, presiding. Our first

president was Mrs. William Brigham. The first meeting was held on Nov.

28, 1947, in the “Little Museum” at the Brigham’s home in Providence. Mr.

and Mrs. Brigham were the speakers. Mr. Brigham produced Villa Looms,

a large, Swedish style countermarch loom. Dues were $3. Sixty-nine

names were listed on our first member list. (Wouldn’t you like to know

what the “Little Museum” was? I would!)

Here are a few other tidbits: The first bulletin was in April 1948, with

a logo designed by Mr. Will Taylor, Director of the Art Department at Brown

University. The logo showed a nursing lamb woven into the web on a

loom. This was thought to be inappropriate and a second logo was

designed, the one we use now, of a lamb on a shuttle.

In 1995, the guild officially became a nonprofit corporation, a large

endeavor undertaken by members Janet Doyle, Vicki DiMartino, Katie

Schelling, Betty Kennedy and Nancy Ayton.

We are able to commemorate the past today because of those who

committed to the guild with their time and talent. We are also here today

because we have continued their work for 70 years.

Today, we have 61 members and our dues are $30.

I would like to recognize some special people. When I mention you,

will you please raise your hand? (and then you can lower it for comfort’s


Katie Schelling and Norma Smayda both attended the 50th

anniversary celebration. We are happy that they are here today. Katie was

president that year. We welcome Tony Kormos back home and we thank

her daughter for making that possible.

If you’ve ever served as president?

If you’ve ever served as vice president?

Secretary? Treasurer? Newsletter editor? Membership? Hospitality?

Education? NEWS representative? Show ’N Tell? Greeter? Name Tags?

Weavers’ challenge, towel exchange, towel exhibit? My personal


As this demonstration shows, operating the guild takes many

people. In fact, it has taken most of you at one time or another. The words

Thank You seem insufficient, but they are the ones I have. Thank you!

While this sounds like the end of my welcome speech, I’m not quite

finished. To continue our impressive tradition, we need to reflect on the

future and where our guild will be in another 10 or 70 years. While there is

no doubt that you have given much, I am asking you to give more. I hope

you will continue to work and give of your time, talent and treasure. We

need you. We need you to be officers and volunteers, for the small jobs as

well as the big ones. We need you to promote the guild. We need your

creativity, new ideas and individuality not only to fulfill our mission but to

expand it and our membership.

I’d like to end with some wisdom that appeared in our first

newsletter. It was written by Lea Van Puymbroeck Miller, Assistant

Professor of Design, University of California at Berkeley and could have

been written today.

“Weaving, one of the oldest of human undertakings, is perennially

new, because it reflects in each generation, the needs, the techniques and

the artistic impulses of the particular period which brought it into being.

The weaver of today has greater possibilities than ever before because of

the unprecedented abundance of materials that are available. The

Weavers’ Guild Rhode Island has a challenging opportunity to explore new

avenues of self-expression on the loom.”


Thank you.

Janet Cooper, President

Weavers’ Guild of Rhode Island


Weavers’ Guild 0f Rhode Island Celebrating Seventy Years

1947 to 2017

Co-Chairs:  Mary Brunell and Norma Smayda

North Beach Clubhouse

79 Boston Neck Road

Narragansett, Rhode Island

Saturday, October 21, 2017, at Noon


WGRI Officers

Janet Cooper, President

Mary Brunell, Vice President

Gretchen White, Treasurer

Joy Beeson, Secretary



Luncheon by WBG

Musical Hits from 1947 and Bertha Gray Hayes Songs

Welcome:  Janet Cooper, President

 Certificate of Accomplishment from U.S. Senator Jack Reed

Certificate of Special Accomplishment from Governor Gina M. Raimondo


Hand Woven Fashions Worn by Members

Moderators: Margaret Moone and Gretchen White

Donors For Door Prizes and Celebration  

Yarn Barn, Lawrence, Kansas

Norma Smayda, Saunderstown Weaving School

Pro Chemical & Dye, Fall River, MA

Gowdey Reed, Central Falls, RI

North Light Fibers, Block Island, RI

Mary Brunell, Turkey Haven Farm, RI

Joy Beeson

WEBS, Northampton, MA

The Woven Path, Wickford, RI

The Midnight Sun, Wickford, RI

Table Flowers, Deanne Gregson-Shaw

Honors and Recognition of Members

By Janet Cooper, President and Mary Brunell, Vice President

Special Awards and Recognition  

By Janet Cooper, President and Mary Brunell, Vice President

The Weavers’ Guild of Rhode Island Established

The Norma Smayda Guild Leadership Award

 For Excellence in Guild Leadership, Weaving, and Teaching  

 At the Seventieth Celebration

On October 21, 2017

Award Read by Janet Cooper

The Weavers’ Guild of Rhode Island Established

The Antonia Kormos Weaving Award

For Excellence in Weaving, Dyeing, and Color

At the Seventieth Celebration

On October 21, 2017

Award Read by Sally Rianhard


Attendees at the WGRI 70thCelebration (**Past President)

Alfonso, Polly

Azure, Anastasia

Ballas-Beeson, Joy

Bernier, Sandee**

Brown, Jody

Brunell, Mary

Calenda, Giovonne

Calenda, Mary

Cavanaugh, Lida

Cavanagh, Marty**

Cooper, Janet**

Crasso, Noriko

Dantona, Cheryl

Ferland, Paulette

Geigen, Lisa

Gregson-Shaw, Deanne

Goodrich, Carolyn

Jarzombek, Barbara**

Kammerlen, Susan

Kilgour, Sylvia

Kistner, Mary Ann

Kirschenbaum, Susan

Kormos, Antonia**

Kormos, Liz

McCarthy, Susan

Moone, Margaret**

O’Donnell, Michele

Pelletier, Manon

Reynolds, Sandra

Rianhard, Sally

Richardson, Anne**

Rhynard, Linda**

Rudman, Ann

Schaefer, Judy

Schelleng, Katie**

Sherman, Mary

Smayda, Norma**

Tysman, Judy

Walsh, Ginny**

Wanebo, Claire

Wheeler, Marjorie

White, Gretchen

Westcott, David**

Wertheimer, Sheila


The Norma Smayda Guild Leadership Award

For Excellence in Guild Leadership, Weaving, and Teachin

Read by Janet Cooper

Norma Smayda’s leadership has had a tremendous influence on

furthering the art and craft of handweaving. As a Master Weaver, teacher,

exhibitor, juror, and author, her ability to inspire, educate, and empower

weavers of all experience levels cannot be overstated. Her advocacy for

the Weavers’ Guild of Rhode Island has made the guild what it is today.

Norma established the Saunderstown Weaving School in 1974,

where she continues to teach year-round. Norma learned to weave in

Norway, and Scandinavian design, colors, and weave structures continue

to be an important focus of her work. She also specializes in the

contributions of Rhode Island weavers William Henry Harrison Rose, aka

“Weaver Rose,” and Bertha Gray Hayes. She is a coauthor of Weaving

Designs by Bertha Gray Hayes: Miniature Overshot Patterns. More recently

Norma has immersed herself in weaving with fan reeds, and in designing

and exhibiting her ondulé textiles. Her latest book, with Gretchen White, is

Ondulé Textiles, Weaving Contours with a Fan Reed, published by Schiffer

Publishing, Ltd., and released in the summer of 2017.

Norma earned an MFA in Visual Design from the University of

Massachusetts Dartmouth. She has taught seminars and workshops at the

John C. Campbell Folk School, Convergence, the New England Weavers

Seminar, Complexity, and at numerous conferences and guilds. She has

written articles for major weaving publications including Complex Weavers

Journal, Fiberarts, Handwoven, Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot, and The

Weavers Journal.

Norma received the New England Weavers Seminar’s Weaver of

Distinction Award. She is past president of the Handweavers Guild of

America and the Weavers’ Guild of Rhode Island. She is a member of the

Weavers Guild of Boston.

At the 2017 New England Weavers Seminar, Norma’s ondulé work

was featured in the Special Exhibit, along with work by Jan Doyle and Tony

Kormos. She has exhibited at Hera gallery in Wakefield, RI, most recently

with Jan Doyle in a show called “The Shape of Weaving.”

In March of 2017, Norma wrote about her creative process: “I leave

the stresses of the world behind when I become immersed in designing

and creating cloth at my loom in my search for a unique textile. There is

magic in interlacing of warp and weft, always dependent upon use of fiber,

color, weave structure, and design that challenges and delights me, while

producing cloth suitable for its purpose. 


Antonia Kormos Weaving Award

For Excellence in Weaving, Dyeing, and Color

Read by Sally Rianhard

Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot Spring 1979 issue 38 Volume X No. 2

Applicant #029: Antonia Kormos

By Sheila Wertheimer

Sheila Wertheimer spent several days with Tony, walking the Rhode Island beaches near her home.  She filed the following report.Tony was born in Hungary and spent her childhood in Freiheit, Northern Bohemia, where her family owned a paper mill. Some of her best recollections of that time are of working with her mother on craft projects: knitting, crocheting and embroidering. Perhaps one of her more comic memories of this time was an impossible habit she had. “I used to collect pieces of colored crepe and tissue paper from the scrap bins at the mill,” she said. “I did nothing with those scraps, but put them in my closet to look at and hold again. Every few weeks my mother would tidy up the closet, take out the paper and put it back into the bins. I would then go back to collect more. Back and forth those pieces of colored paper went.”


Eventually the little girl grew up. Tony and her husband Kalman immigrated to the United States, settling in North Scituate, Rhode Island. In 1951, daughter Elizabeth was born. When Elizabeth was eight years old, Tony began reading some very scary articles in women’s magazines. “After the children leave the nest, they reported, women of middle age often undergo a severe depression. “It was 1960. Tony decided she’d better prepare herself for the day when her fourth grader would go away to college.


She found a pottery course offered at the Rhode Island School of Design and, for the next two years, studied pottery. During a visit to the Worcester Craft Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, she was drawn to the weaving studio. “This is it,” she thought. She bought a small two-harness table loom from Lily Mills, and picked up a copy of the “New Key to Weaving” by Mary Black.


After reading the directions for warping, Tony decided that this was much too complicated. There must be an easier method. She would do it her way. “For the next three days, she wound that warp on and off the back beam. After a week of sheer determination, the loom was finally dressed. What should have been a set of eight placemats became a set of four and one-half place mats. “The next time I warped”, she said  “I used Mary Black’s directions.”


Tony finished a few sets of placemats on the two- harness loom and then decided she would like a little more challenge. With the help of her husband, the two-harness loom became a four-harness loom.. 


In those days, few people were weaving and there were not many library books on the subject. Tony worked through Black’s book and all the others that she could find in the library. By the end of a year, she had taught herself to weave and was beginning to dream of a larger loom. She discovered Mr. Macomber, the craftsman who built her 40-inch six harness loom.


Throughout the year of experimenting on the two- harness loom, she had attempted to find other weavers, but to no avail. No one knew where the Rhode Island Weavers Guild met. People at the Handicraft Club told her she would need a sponsor to be admitted to their organization, and even then admission was difficult. Shortly after the Macomber loom came on the scene, Tony entered work in the Rhode Island Craft Association Exhibit and won an Honorable Mention. This brought an invitation to join the Rhode Island Weavers Guild and to teach at the Handicraft Club.


Tony Kormos was and still is a member of the Weavers Guild of Rhode Island, the Boston Weavers’ Guild, the Handweavers Guild of Ct and since moving to Saratoga, NY she has also joined the Hudson-Mohawk Weavers Guild. Tony was a committee chairman of New England Weavers Seminar (NEWS) and was the State Representative in Rhode Island for the Handweavers’ Guild of America. At Convergence '78 She joined a newly formed nationwide group for multi-harness weavers. Once unable to find a single weaver near her home she now had access to weavers throughout the nation.


Like many weavers who get serious about their work, Tony still wondered, “But how good am I?" The Boston Guild had a ratings program. She would join the Boston Guild and work through the ratings program. The discipline of working toward a set goal helped and, within four years, she was awarded the rating of Master Weaver by the Boston guild.


By this time she had also discovered the workshop as a stimulating and helpful way to learn. Her first experience in this kind of growth was Lee Barclays weaving and dyeing workshop at the Weaving Department of Rhode Island School of Design. This was the beginning of an interest in dyeing which has remained a part of her work ever since.


A year after receiving the Master Weaver rating from the Boston Guild, Tony began work on a new challenge: the HGA Certificate of Excellence in Handweaving. She plunged into a study of lace weaves and in 1976 Tony earned a Certificate of Excellence for her work in hand- manipulated lace weaves. During this time a much more exciting idea had been emerging. She would use multi-harness double weave to illustrate the results of her dye experiments.


This time she was free to concentrate solely on the conception and design of the specialized study. The fundamental ideas had already been formulated during the earlier research. Using the familiar color wheel, she designed a color chart, which would use a minimum of dyes. She then went on to tints, tones and shades, mixing the color opposites. She wove three double-weave color blankets: the first on a white ground, the second on gray ground, and the third on black ground. Together the three illustrate the visual variations, which, the same color has in different contexts. She also arranged her color sequences in such a way as to achieve surprising light effects: the eye is drawn to the gold-hued center of the blanket, then follows the lines outward, tracing the lines of a cross.


The woven color studies illustrated the color theories that have been in the literature for some time. Apart from the aesthetic impact of the pieces, and the woven applications, the studies develop a system for careful control of acid dyes. Tony had devised a system of ratios and measurements whereby any color on the charts could be duplicated, simply by reference to the woven piece. In 1978 Tony was awarded a second Certificate of Excellence for her study of Dyeing with Acid Dyes. Though her certificate focused on wool she continued to work with dyes on silk also.


In 1979 her studio was equipped with three looms: a portable eight-harness, a ten-harness, and a brand new 20- harness loom. Tony has owned various other looms since then and continued to expand her knowledge of patterning with a draw loom, complex weave structures and eventually her 32 shaft Louet, computer controlled dobby loom which she wove on for many years.


Tony said she only wanted to sell enough of her weaving to pay her fare to Germany each year so that she could visit her family there. “Beyond that,” she said, “I’d rather give the weavings away.”


Recently Norma Smayda informed us that the Thousand Islands Art Center and Handweaving Museum in Clayton, NY were very pleased to be the recipient of pieces of Tony's weaving and several notebooks which included some of the work she did for the color studies. Norma noted that the museum is a research center and a great repository for weavings and notebooks of Notable American Handweavers.


Special Awards and Recognition  

By Janet Cooper, President and Mary Brunell, Vice President


In Recognition of Dave Westcott

“The Master of Ceremony of the Guild


In Recognition of Gretchen White

“The Guild Treasure” and “Keeper of the Oxford Comma"


In Recognition of Janet Cooper

“The Person Available All The Time For The Guild


In Recognition of Jenny Dean-Howes

“The Hostess With The Mostest for the Guild”


In Recognition of Joy Beeson

“The Writer of Memories of the Guild”


In Recognition of Katie Schelleng

“The Historic Brain of the Guild”


In Recognition of Linda Rhynard

“The Guiding Light of the Guild”


In Recognition of Lisa Geigen

“The Scanning Queen of the Guild”


In Recognition of Manon Pelletier

“The Education Master of the Guild


In Recognition of Margaret Moone

“The Great British Weaving Show and Tell”


  In Recognition of Noriko Crasso

“The Newest Member of the Guild”


In Recognition of Norma Smayda

“The Arm Twister of the Guild”


In Recognition of Pam Rathmell

“The Digital Wizard of the Guild”


In Recognition of Sally Rianhard

“The Martha Stuart of the Guild”


In Recognition of Sylvia Kilgour

“The No Need to Thank Me Honor (But She Does It All for the Guild)


In Recognition of Mary Brunell

“The Rock Star Award: Nobody Does It Better”


Flowers Arranged for Each Table by our own

Deanne Gregson-Shaw


WGRI Presidents 1947-2018

(This list is incomplete.  I continue to review old records for a full listing.)


President:  Janet Cooper, 2017-2018

Co-Presidents:   Janet Cooper & Ingrid Buhre, 2016-2017

President:  Linda Rhynard, 2014-2016

President:  David Westcott, 2012-2014

President: Barbara Jarzombek, 2010-2012

President:  Anne Richardson, 2008-2010

President:  Norma Smayda, 2006-2008

President:  Sandee Bernier, 2005-2006

Co-Presidents:  Sandee Bernier & Marty Cavanaugh, 2004-2005

President:  Ginny Walsh, 2002-2003

President:  Laurie Bosman, 2001-2002

President:  Barbara Doyle, 1999-2000

President:  Janet Wood, 1998-1999

President:  Katie Schelleng, 1997-1998

President:  Margaret Moone, 1988-1989

President:  Linda Emerson, 1987-1988

President:  Karen Donaghay, 1985-1987

President:  Margaret Tyson, 1983-1985

President:  Andrew Staley, 1981-1983

Past Presidents Received an Honorary Name Tag with a Handwoven Button by  our own Sally Rianhard


The Fascinator, Handmade by our own Sally Rianhard

Why is a Fascinator called a Fascinator?  

The noun Fascinator has long had an association with headgear and in the 19thand early 20thcenturies a Fascinator referred to a lightweight knitted or crocheted headscarf as evidenced in various novels of that time. It seems that the word comes from the Latin “fascinatus” meaning  “to bewitch or cast a spell on.”

How is a Fascinator worn?

A Fascinator can be worn in many ways, but generally is affixed to the front or side of the head.  It looks best when worn just above the eyebrow.


      Giovonne Calenda




















Margaret Moone and Lida Cavanaugh







Sheila Wertheimer





                                                       Anne Richardson












 Ginny Walsh









                                                   Sandee Bernier









Jody Brown























                                           Janet Tenczar and Susan Kirschenbaum














Marty Cavanagh






                                         Mary Calenda











Bertha Gray Hayes Birthday Celebration


October 19, 1878 to December 10, 1947










“Happy Birthday, Bertha” was led by Gretchen White, Katie Schelleng,

Norma Smayda, and Jody Brown, the authors of

Weaving Designs by Bertha Gray Hayes








The Fashion Show!


Margaret Moone with her first layer!




And her third layer with a little help from her friends!




And those last two layers, who could forget?








Mary Ann Kistner



















 Marjorie Wheeler







Paulette Ferland




















                                                       Susan Kirschenbaum








Antonia Kormos


                                           Liz Kormos






Norma Smayda





The Fashion Show displayed our members’ talents at weaving and sewing with beautiful scarves, shawls, jackets, shirts, and skirts!  And then there was Margaret Moone and her one-woman show!  What a delight!


We ended our beautiful fall day at the beach with cake and tasty deserts.  The most wonderful part of the day was the celebration, stories and companionship of our group.  We relaxed and got to know each other a little better.


A few group photos to leave you with and thoughts for our 75thCelebration in 2022!


Gretchen White, Margaret Moone, Mary Brunell, and Janet Cooper



Michelle O’Donnell, Jody Brown, Mary Calenda, and Giovonne Calenda





               Sally Rianhard and Barbara Jarzombek





Margaret Moone, Lida Cavanaugh, Gretchen White, Claire Wanabo, Janet Cooper, Linda Rynhard, and Paulette Ferland