A Typical Guild Meeting
Most of us belong to a quilters’ guild. Some of us have actually been there at the ground floor, while others join in after its existence became known to them, and still others are simply curious in checking out what a guild is all about.
I joined my guild five years after it was founded, so the operation of it was already pretty smooth. Until I arrived, anyway. I am one of the youngest members of our guild, excluding the 7-year-old, the fashion model quilter and the girl who makes rainbows look pale in comparison to her quilts. After these youthful show -offs, I am the youngest.
I have run into some pretty funny things in my guild and others. So, of course, I feel the need to enlighten you. (Note, if you belong to my guild, it may be in the best interest of our friendship for you to stop reading now. If you didn’t really like me before, things are not going to improve throughout this article.)
Let’s be upfront and honest here. Why is it when two or more women get together it involves food? And trust me when I say it is never carrot and celery sticks, with a low fat dressing for dip. I have never heard of a guild meeting where there wasn’t a break so the women could have coffee and a ‘light snack’. And by light snack you know I mean heap-your-plate-full-of-as-much-dessert-as-you-can-possibly-balance, so that it looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa by the time you get back to your chair.
The funniest guild newsletter I ever read had a tear off and return section of the newsletter where members had to vote over the dessert break. You could either vote for fewer desserts, meaning less members had to bake, or more desserts, which meant more members needed to volunteer to bring in desserts. I still laugh my head off when I think of that guild. I guess eating definitely took priority over quilting.
Regarding those newsletters, the amount of work the editors put into them is phenomenal. It should almost be a paid position. But you know, dear editors , it is very frustrating for a new member to read; “If interested in the workshop, please call Pat.” Well, who the heck is Pat? Sure, if you were alive when the guild started you may know that Pat is the little grey haired lady in the corner of the room, but then again, that could be 80% of the members.
And what about those name tags? How many of you actually wear them? How many of you actually own one? Please don’t tell my guild, but I don’t even have one. Why? Mostly because I am too lazy to make one. I know, you are supposed to wear them so the new members can get to know you. Blah blah blah. Really, if a new member needs to speak to me, is she going to come right up to me and then suddenly veer off when she sees I don’t have a name tag on? And not talk to me? Or is she going to be a grownup and ask the important question of, “Can you please tell me where the dessert table is?”
Please don’t take pity on me, I certainly don’t want 3,000 name tags showing up in my mailbox.
I can’t imagine being a new member at a guild. It seems like everyone knows everyone else and we all hang out in our little cliques. There is the appliqué gang, the piecing grannies and the hand quilting group. I was never allowed into that one. And don’t forget the artsy peeps. How the heck do you meet anyone new?
I remember once mentioning I would like to learn to hand quilt to someone. Well, they said, “You should go and see ‘Myra’, she is the best one in the guild.” Yes, that is what I want to do; go and show the best hand quilter my large basting stitches that I am trying to pass off as hand quilting. I quickly found some new friends over at the ‘anything goes in quilting’ clique, and practiced hand quilting there.
Does your guild lack volunteers? Is your executive made up of the same people year after year, except they all switch positions to try and keep it interesting? Every year in the spring, the president states how easy it is to do a job, how “many hands make light work”, and if no one volunteers, we can’t have a program. All the members are thinking is, “Wouldn’t it be nice if the meeting just consisted of showing up, seeing some quilts and eating desserts?”
The actual running of the meeting never changes, does it? The president and secretary perch at the front, usually taking them 10 minutes to get everyone to be quiet and sit down. I always wonder why they don’t serve dessert at this point. If everyone’s mouths are full, they can’t talk and then the president has the floor. It would also save that mad ‘cattle call’ to the dessert table at break that happens each meeting.
Most guilds run from September to June. Some months are so predictable. For example, there is always a big dinner in December, because we all aren’t already getting one on the 25th and need an excuse to eat another huge dinner. June is always the end of the year wrap up… of course, another opportunity to eat. What about every September; do we have to have an ice breaker game to meet new members? Honestly, I have my quota of friends at the guild. If I feel I need more, I will go and get some. But some game where I have to partner up, stand on my head and name five quilt blocks that start with the letter ‘B’ is not the way to do it.
Lastly is show and tell. Is it not the favourite part of the meeting? Second only to coffee break of course. Does every guild not have that one member that gets up there and has to tell a story that is so long that you don’t even look at the quilt for fear of encouraging her further? Here is what I do. The moment she unfurls that quilt, I start clapping. The more she tries to tell her story, the louder I clap. While some may think it rude, I believe it is saving my sanity.
In conclusion, if anyone has a membership form they want to send me so I can join their guild, it would be most appreciated. I am quite confident my guild will be revoking mine.
This article was published in the Winter 2012 CQA/ACC issue. Please don't copy without written permission. Thanks so much!