The Handweavers Guild of America educational opportunities
The Handweavers Guild of America (HGA) offers educational opportunities that depend on countless unnamed members of local spinning and weaving guilds. As a nonprofit, international organization, HGA’s mission is “to encourage excellence, inspire creativity and preserve fiber traditions through education.” One of the vital keys to fulfilling this mission is guild support of the endeavors they sponsor. Here are some recent examples.
• Contemporary small-scale artworks in fiber techniques such as interlacing, beading, papermaking, felting, and embellishing are featured in HGA’s annual juried exhibition “Small Expressions.” The Jacksonville Weavers’ Guild (Florida) hosted the 2008 exhibit and through the efforts of the Midwest Weavers Association, Inc., the 2009 exhibit is currently on display at Grinnell College (Iowa).
• The biennial HGA Convergence conference is supported by groups who make a commitment, often years in advance, to help with local exhibits, coordinate community efforts, and provide behind-the-scenes volunteers to run it. Guilds from New Mexico are deeply involved in bringing Convergence to Albuquerque next July with the theme “New Visions: Ancient Paths.”
• The Weavers Guild of the North Shore, Inc. (Illinois) established a grant in memory of treasured weaver and teacher Mearl K. Gable, II. Awarded every year for an HGA member to study in nonaccredited programs or workshops in the fiber arts, the recipient provides a report of the study in exchange for this education.
• Instrumental to HGA’s Certificate of Excellence program are the guilds that host the examinations of completed work of candidates. This spring the Misti Washington Gourd and Basket Guild (California) hosted the 2009 HGA Certificate of Excellence (COE) exam in basketmaking and this fall the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati, Inc. (Ohio) hosted the 2009 COE in handspinning.