Teacher, Weaver and Mentor
Emily Post, a Master Weaver from Princeton, New Jersey, formed the Princeton Weaver’s Guild, and in later years taught younger weavers in her home. Retiring as Dean of a private girls’ school in Virginia, Miss Post was 66, when she combined her passion, her skills and her drive to establish the Thousand Islands Museum Craft School in Clayton, now the Thousand Islands Arts Center. A summer resident of Grindstone Island since 1923, she saw the possibility of making Clayton, a destination for people interested in history and the arts. She dreamed of a school, drawing people to the scenic River area, for Craft Courses. She knew there were wives of fishermen, who longed for something to do, while their husbands were out pursuing the fish! In 1966, under the auspices of the Clayton Museum, Emily developed a fledgling Craft School, which drew superior instructors and enthusiastic students.
Emily Post came to Clayton with her sister and her family, the Wrights, every summer since 1923. “Aunt Emily” often sat at the porch of Long Point with her loom, gazing out at Clayton. A “maiden aunt,”she doted on her 12 grand nieces and nephews and often let them sit on her lap to weave. She wove many rugs, table mats and scarves, sewing in her distinctive “Handmade by Ahminie” tag. . (“Ahminie” was her weaving name, dubbed by her nephew who couldn’t pronounce “Aunt Emily.”)
Emily Post came to Clayton with her sister and her family, the Wrights, every summer since 1923. “Aunt Emily” often sat at the porch of Long Point with her loom, gazing out at Clayton. A “maiden aunt,” she doted on her 12 grand nieces and nephews and often let them sit on her lap to weave. She wove many rugs, table mats and scarves, sewing in her distinctive “Handmade by Ahminie” tag. . (“Ahminie” was her weaving name, dubbed by her nephew who couldn’t pronounce “Aunt Emily.”)
In her early summers, trains arrived in Clayton daily and when people began to vacation by automobiles the main route to the 1000 islands was Rte. 12, dotted with many rental cottages and billboards for boat tours on the way up to Clayton. In the sixties, Miss Post became concerned that the new interstate Rte. 81 would bring tourists to Alexandria Bay, bypassing Clayton and severely depressing the area’s tourist economy.. Also, Clayton was already a destination for fishermen, but she felt there was little for the wives and children of the fishermen to do. At age 66, Miss Post founded the “Craft School” as a sister organization to the Shipyard Museum and the Thousand Islands Museum, establishing Clayton as a destination for those interested in history and the arts. Attracting well-known artisans in pottery, weaving, early American decoration, wood carving and painting, the school flourished and bought the John Street. building (formerly the home of the Faith Healer Antoine Tetrault). Miss Post was Dean of the Craft School for the first 10 years. Originally named the Thousand Islands Museum Craft School, it now is the Thousand Islands Arts Center ~ Home of the Handweaving Museum (TIAC) and offers over 120 courses each year.
Emily Post, a master weaver, was especially fascinated with tartans, and wove many scarves of well-known tartans. Her winter residence was Princeton, NJ, and as founder of the Princeton Guild of weavers, she guided many area weavers to learn the art. The first looms at the Craft School came from the Princeton Weavers Guild. She was friends with many fine weavers and it was these friendships that led famed weavers like Berta Frey to donate their extraordinary weaving collections to the Craft School, becoming the nucleus of today’s renowned Handweaving Museum. Miss Post was a great admirer of the St. Lawrence tartan designed by her friend Helene Cobb of Clayton, so she decided to design a Thousand Islands tartan to reflect the colors of the river, rocks, trees and sunsets of the area. Before she retired she designated the Thousand Islands Craft School as the home of the Thousand Islands tartan.