Some thoughts on quilting guilds

Lynne, over at Lily’s Quilts, asked readers about their participation in quilting guilds. She asked about where you fit in the modern / traditional quilt spectrum, if you belonged to a guild, why or why not, etc. Some of the answers are quite interesting. They talked about the good, the bad, and the neutral:

  • Some guilds are very welcoming and encouring
  • Some guilds have lots of people you can learn from
  • Some newer guilds are still growing and seem to be more open to differences in preference / opinion
  • Some guilds are more active online (either officially or via members personal blogs, etc.)
  • Some guilds are (or, had been) a good mix of everything and all skill levels
  • Some guilds have people who have no interest in moving beyond what they’ve always done (ex: trying new fabrics or techniques)
  • Some modern guilds are too busy trying to delineate themselves from traditional quilting to see the value in both
  • Some modern guilds are too busy trying to justify the value and merit of modern quilting to offer good learning opportunities to members
  • Some well established guilds are cliquish
  • Some traditional guilds seem to be all about batiks and beige
  • Some people simply use guilds as a source of visual inspiration

Here’s my response:

I would say that I’m erring on the more modern side. I like traditional quilt patterns, but I tend to be drawn towards more modern stuff or towards modern variations of traditional quilting.

I don’t belong to any guilds two reasons: (1) I live in a big city and the guilds are far enough away to make taking part a problem. The closest would involve a 1 hour, 2 bus trip to get there, and an even longer trip to get back (less bus service after rush hour). (2) While regular meetings tend to be in the evening, a lot of other events seem to happen during the day on workdays. I assume this is because a lot of the members are stay at home parents or retired. Regardless of why, I don’t have enough vacation to dedicate some of it to guild events.

My impression of traditional and modern guilds is about the same: both are gathering places for quilters and could be great places to learn from more experienced quilters. I would likely veer towards a modern quilt guild simply because of my quilting preferences. Both have value, but while the internet can’t replace them, it certainly be a reasonable alternative for those of us who can’t make it to guild meetings. Both (at least where I live) need some younger or more social media savvy members to reach out and get more people involved. If either guild in my city had more of an online presence, I would happily engage with them online and maybe eventually find value in taking 2 hours of my evening to travel to a meeting on occasion (or, find someone to car pool with).

Actually, now that I think about it, I’m not sure why there needs to be a delineation between modern and traditional quilting. Wouldn’t it be better and offer more learning opportunities if everyone just got together as quilters and accepted that everyone has different preferences? You could alternate between modern, traditional, etc. events, challenges, etc.

I would like to be involved in a guild, but for now I am finding what I can by way of a community online. Eventually, I hope to either live closer to a guild gathering place or find a guild with more of an online presence.


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