Do you belong to a spinning guild? Many people join one to connect with a local (or not so local!) spinning community and share their fiber obsession with like-minded enthusiasts. In the Spin Off Spring 2017 issue, Debbie Held fills us in on the many benefits of joining a spinning guild.
“You’re so lucky; you belong to the greatest spinning guild!” I often hear this from friends when I tell them about the latest in my world of spinning. Everything from my first teaching gig to a scholarship for a weekend workshop with a noted spinning author: somehow nearly every opportunity stems from my membership in Atlanta’s Peachtree Handspinners Guild (PHG).
I have found in my guild a home base of fellow spinaholics who consider handspinning to be a lifestyle, one meant to be shared for the sake of the craft’s continuation. Through these spinners, I strive to do and know more about my spinning and never to stagnate. Best of all, in this noncompetitive environment, friendship is assumed, if not guaranteed.
“There is no spinning guild near me,” is usually what I hear when I encourage a friend who lives elsewhere to find a guild of her own.
So today I say, look harder. Check online for other fiber-related crafting guilds in your area, particularly weaving guilds, as many also have spinning programs. Additionally, a guild that was named for one fiber craft (in some cases fifty years ago) may have expanded its interests over the decades. “We’re the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati,” says board member and spinning teacher Pat Maley of her guild, which was formed in 1948. “And while our name says ‘weavers,’ we are primarily spinners. We now consider ourselves a fiberarts guild.”
Thinking of joining a spinning or fiber-themed guild? Here are just a few benefits you may find. (Inquire about exclusions or limitations; some guilds require months of paid membership before checking out equipment, for example.)
- Access to a physical library of books, patterns, instructional videos, magazines, and more, which you may usually check out
- Equipment rental (sometimes for a marginal additional fee)
- Early access to or discounts for industry speakers, events, workshops, and programs
- Unparalleled learning opportunities, both formal and informal
- Spinning and fiber retreats
- Professional opportunities in the field of spinning
- Exhibit and sales opportunities
- Leadership opportunities
- Ability to try out fiber and spinning equipment of all types prior to making a purchase
- Scholarships for spinning classes and fiber workshops
- Ability to help others through fiber arts
- Friendships and community
- Potential to discover mentors
So forget about titles and names. Give a guild a chance, and within it you may find your own handspinning home base, ripe with rewards you have yet to imagine.
— Debbie Held