More Than 10 Reasons to Join a Weaving or Spinning Guild
I took my time before I decided to join a guild. Something about the word put me off. It sounded too “historical” and maybe, at the risk of being ageist, too “old lady” for me. Finally, one Saturday morning I went to the Handweavers’ Guild of Connecticut, and for once in my life, I fit right in. I could talk about yarn, twill, and sett, and nobody rolled their eyes or glanced at their watch. (This was pre–cell phones.)
I started a list of 10 reasons to join a guild but quickly realized there are many more than 10.
- Weaving and spinning are solitary crafts. Guilds fill some of our need for human interaction.
- Weaving isn’t always intuitive, at least not to me. I have found guild members to be a wealth of information regarding technique.
- Guilds have great sales including dead weaver’s sales.
- Guilds have great potlucks. Don’t ask me why, but I have found many weavers and spinners to also be good cooks.
- Guilds have great show-and-tell sessions. If you are on the slow side of production like I am, you will be astonished at what some people can achieve in a month’s time. Big bonus: You can touch the gorgeous items, unlike the textiles on exhibit in galleries and museums.
- Most guild members have multiple fiber-related skills and are happy to share their knowledge.
- Guild programs are amazing. For the low price of membership, I’ve listened to famous fiber artists talk about their craft, learned new techniques, and traveled to foreign lands without leaving the guild meeting.
- Guilds have challenges and exchanges that push you to expand your horizons and try new things.
- One of the key activities of guilds is outreach, otherwise known as demonstrating weaving and spinning in public. I consider promoting my craft one of my duties in life, and this gives me a good outlet.
- Many guilds have equipment for members to rent or borrow. Even if the guild doesn’t have the equipment you need, it’s a good bet that one of the members does.
- Guilds have libraries full of current books and magazines (you know like, Handwoven and Spin Off) but also a full array of historical resources, many of which are out of print.
- Guilds don’t operate in the summer. This gives you time to catch up on your projects, try a new skill, and maybe tackle that guild challenge.
- Guilds often have booths at craft shows that you can participate in, which is a lot easier than setting up your own booth.
- Many guilds have meetings on weekends and at night to accommodate working members.
- Membership is usually under $50. That includes all of the above. Guilds are in all 50 states, and they can be found by searching online. For spinning guilds, you can also go to www.interweave.com/spinning-guilds-directory.
You can opt not to join a guild, but to me, being in a guild is the easiest, most efficient way to meet people with the same interests as you and increase your own knowledge of weaving and spinning.
Featured Image: Photo credit: Susan E. Horton