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A&E column: Weavers & More; history; Consort concert; book launches

Here’s what’s coming up in Cowichan Valley arts and culture

“The Tzouhalem Spinners and Weavers Guild has had an exciting 2023 celebrating its 50th Anniversary,” they say as they announce their Weavers & More show and sale for the first time after a three-year-hiatus.

The event will take place on Oct. 19, 20 and 21 at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan. It is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the first two days and noon to 4 p.m. on Oct. 21.

“This is the perfect opportunity to purchase directly from amazing local artisans, quality crafted gifts for someone special including yourself!” said a press release for the event. “Be sure to pick up some handwoven and knit treasures such as our always popular 100 per cent cotton woven tea towels, table linens, woven rugs, hats, scarves, baby blankets, handspun yarn and much, much more.

“Come out and meet some of our talented guild members and watch a weaving or spinning demonstration while you shop; you won’t want to miss it!”

The guild meets twice a month at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Duncan and they are happy to welcome new members of all skill levels.

Visit the guild website at for more information.


Learn about railroad logging on the B.C. coast with the Cowichan Historical Society’s next guest speaker on Thursday, Oct. 19.

Artist Doug Harrison will speak beginning at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Church Hall in Duncan.

Doug grew up in a railroad logging camp, ‘Alberni Pacific Lumber Camp 1’, explained Carolyn Prellwitz, president of the Cowichan Historical Society in a press release.

“This was one of the largest operations on the coast in the 1930-1940s. Doug’s love of the logging business, boating and railroads all stems from his childhood. His father worked directly on the locomotives and speeder operations, so Doug had the opportunity to meet many of the personalities in railroading at that time.

“He was trained as a forest engineer at the University of British Columbia and spent his entire working career managing logging operations for MacMillan Bloedel. These operations included Sproat Lake, Haida Gwaii, North West Bay, Nanaimo River, Copper Canyon and Shawnigan Divisions. He was always interested in the ‘hands-on’ logging and so worked with many loggers up and down the coast.

“His brother, Phil, took up art at any early age and inspired Doug in many ways with his own natural talent. His paintings tell stories of events that he witnessed in a lifetime of living and working in the logging camps and workboats on the B.C. coast. The images portrayed in his paintings come from his experiences and his imagination, not from existing photographs.”

Admission to the event by non-members of the Cowichan Historical Society is by donation, with all proceeds raised going to the Society.


The Cowichan Consort Orchestra is putting on a fall concert on Oct. 21.

Titled Metamorphosis, the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Christian Reformed Church at 930 Trunk Rd., in Duncan.

New conductor and musical director Pippa Williams will take th lead.

Clarinetist Samuel He will also be featured, playing the famous Mozart clarinet concerto. He lives in Victoria and studies with Patricia Kostek. He recently became a full time member of the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy.

The orchestra will play music by Dorati, Herold, Waldteufel, E. German, von Suppé, and the Mozart Concerto.

Tickets are available at the door, Volume One Bookstore on Kenneth Street in Duncan, or from orchestra members.

The ages of the Consort musicians are 14 to 94.


The Duncan Showroom is the spot for the launch of new book Your Body Was Made for This, with Cowichan author Debbie Bateman, on Nov. 5.

The event takes place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and is a celebration of this collection of short stories. Bateman and fellow authors Wendy Donawa and Lauri MacFayden will read their work and join a discussion moderated by Shannon Peck.

Admission is free.


Cowichan author R.J. Tromp has launched his debut novel called Seasons in Time.

It’s the story of a young teen who, “tired of being marginalized both at home and in school” leaves “life, as he knows it, far behind,” just a week before Christmas.

“In his search for belonging and love, Nathan’s venture soon becomes a journey of discovery and self-awareness. Through this pilgrimage there are unexpected twists and surprises that surface, not only for him, but also for those of his family in their quest to find him,” describes a press release for the novel.

Tromp has lived his entire life in the Cowichan Valley, and “has always been fascinated by the everyday lives and eccentricities of ordinary people that he has encountered through time.”

Check out his website at for further information about the novel and how you can get a copy.


Francine McCabe is introducing a new book of an entirely different kind.

Fleece and Fibre is about “the world of small-scale textile farms along the Salish Sea and their pivotal role in sustainable, artisanal textile production and the slow fashion movement.”

“This book explores the region’s vibrant fleece and fibre community and introduces the public to this growing land- based textile economy,” said a press release.

McCabe lives near Chemainus, and it’s no surprise then that the book looks at textile farms in the Cowichan Valley, including five in Duncan.

The book is available through Heritage House Publishing.