Carmel Crafts Guild: A Fiber Rich Tradition
Carmel Crafts Guild started as a non-profit organization of craftsmen and women, centered on the Monterey Peninsula.
Its purpose: to further the interests of craftsmen; to encourage, develop, and maintain a high standard of craftsmanship;
and to stimulate an appreciation of fine workmanship and originality in design among its members and the general public.
The Guild was organized in 1948 by a group of local craftsmen and women
who thought that these purposes could best be fulfilled through a cooperative effort.
It was incorporated in 1952. Francis Whitaker, widely known for the Forge in the Forest in Carmel, was the first president.
In the past the Guild was associated with the American Crafts Council
and was a charter member of the World Crafts Council.
Guild has carried out many projects that have contributed to the cultural life of the community. Probably the most noteworthy is the Crafts Exhibit at the Monterey County
Fair. This feature soon became one of the
major attractions of the Fair after its small beginnings in 1949 under the direction of Marian Brueck. The Weavers continue in this tradition to this day. The Guild actually put up the Fair's Craft Hall Building, which included
wrought iron hinges and latches forged by CCG President Francis Whitaker. The original building has been dismantled.
In 1945, Carmel’s Forest Theater was the scene of a widely publicized festival of
craftwork and demonstrations by Guild members. These craftsmen also enlivened many Sunday afternoons at the Theater
with their crafts-in-action programs. In 1958, the California Council of the American Institute of Architects held its
convention in Monterey. The CCG arranged such a successful display that it was given a special citation.
Weavers of the Guild have acted as hosts to the Conference of Northern California Handweavers.
In 1959, under the direction of Dora Crabtree, approximately 1,000 weavers attended, and they did it again in 1963 under
the direction of Joni Clayton. We continued the tradition this year, 2015, and held our annual conference at Asilomar.
Merrie Hewitt and Joan Near were co-chairs of this event.
Museum turned over its entire building to the Guild in 1963 for an exhibit of members’ works.
An article dated April 18, 1982 in the Sunday Monterey Peninsula Herald promoted a Tour of the Monterey Adobes and
featured the weavers and spinners of CCG at a Textile Fair held at the House of the Four Winds. Demonstrations of weaving,
spinning, smocking, cross-stitch, surface embroidery and bargello on canvas were presented. In addition, it was noted
that Rocky Stevens of Pacific Grove, a CCG member was representing the “menfolk” as a weaver.
We hope that this article has given you an appreciation for our Guild, it’s history and tapestry
of people, events and community. The fiber
rich tradition continues.
(Compiled by Mary Brown;
excerpts by Nancy Nix)