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guild pro's and con's

updated sun 30 jun 96


Keith Chervenak on tue 4 jun 96


In August of last year I became involved in the establishment of a
clay guild when the University where many of us got our start and had been
working through their continuing education courses gave our class the axe.
We were all forced with finding our own personal solutions for workspace
but realized that the clay "community" that we had developed was something
that we valued and therefore wanted to keep it alive, hence the guild.
Our first six months of meetings were spent pretty much talking
business and just getting a feel for how this group was going to function.
We have recently adopted a policy that requires each guild member to be
responsible for one meeting program. We meet once a month and currently
have about 30 members, so needing to put together one meeting every two and
a half years is really not outside of anyone's capabilities. The current
format includes an approximately 30 minute long business meeting followed
by the evenings program. We've signed up several months in advance with
our chosen topic and month of presentation. Program topics are open to
whatever you would like to do, so long as it involves clay. We are not all
functional potters so our diversity is built in. At first this seemed
intimidating but as we brainstormed ideas as a group we were amazed at how
easy this could be. Really, when we tossed around ideas people realized
that it isn't so difficult and "Sure, I can do that" was the confident
response that started happening. We all have varied interests and
resources and were able to fill our calendar for the next year. Some of
the up-coming programs: guest speakers (local artists willing to share
their time with us-for Free!!), videos from past workshops attended by our
members, discussions of various techniques in clay, a tutorial of clay
resources on the internet. It is our hope that having varied programs will
keep members interested and involved and hopefully the same core of people
will not be "stuck" with all the work.
So to answer your question "So what's the point?" For me I look
forward to that one evening a month when I talk to people who are also
interested in and understand working with clay. It is fun to go to
workshops with people you know;to share expenses on hotel rooms and
transportation is always a good thing. We are a fairly active group in
that we have hosted two workshops of our own and among our members attend
many local and national clay events. Eight of us went to NCECA and we are
currently making plans for Las Vegas next year. Most recently ten of us
attended a John Leach workshop in Wooster,OH. I have gained much by doing
things with the group-collectively we gain alot and bring that back to
those who are not with us. Additionally, workshops tend to give you lots
of info at one time, much can be missed, but with others around it is easy
to fill in the blanks. We also held a Holiday sale in December and another
this May; having a large group helps to bring people in to the sale.
I hope this helps you out. As you can see I am a fan of my guild.
We work hard to make it happen but it seems to be worth it.
My apologies to all for the length of this post. I never know when
to shut up.

Writing long Clayart letters instead of working.