FiberBabble Home

Rooooaaad Triiippppp!

October 08, 2007

Last month, J2 and I went on a road trip to the Southern Oregon Coast. Paula Nadelstern was doing a 1-day workshop thingy, Simple Symmetry. (Actual talk about the workshop is down a few paragraphs)

This is really J2's thing - early in her quiltmaking life, she was duly inspired by Nadelstern's work. Me? It's impressive. I've read the book(s), got the concept down. It was more eye candy to me, rather than a quiltmaking epiphany.

But, being the good friend that I am, I hopped on board with the whole road trip idea. I was a bit concerned that she and I would still be talking after spending 800 miles (round trip) together in a vehicle. You see, I have a terrible memory. That can be illustrated in many ways, but my current concern was that I don't remember what stories/opinions/etc. that I've already shared with a conversation partner.

The good news is that (she informs me), J2 also has a bad memory. As in, "I probably wouldn't remember that you'd told me that story before." Cool. I still tried to be careful about repeating myself (just for practice, you know).

We didn't talk about religion and barely touched on politics, so the known conversational landmines were avoided. All in all, the road trip/travelling/interpersonal interaction between the two of us went off without a hitch! ::phew!::

Okay. The Nadelstern day. Paula Nadelstern is a delightful person. I'd seen her on TV and she came off a bit cool (though I'm guessing that it was nerves or jet-lag or something), so I was pleasantly surprised that this Famous Person was so.... real. She gave good instructions for the project and made sure to talk to every single person during the workshop, both to check on how everyone was doing (and help out if needed!) and also just to chat. J2 got some special attention because she zigged when she shoulda zagged (I think it was premeditated - heh.) and I was not sorry in the least that I attended.

Um. BUT. This workshop was apparently hosted by a guild. I think there were 30-40 quilters present. We were there from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. With the exception of ONE person, pretty much nobody acknowledged that we were there (except Paula). Now that's a bit harsh (just a VERY little). Mid-afternoon, a woman across the table from me asked if I was from somewhere in the midwest and told me that I looked familiar. The woman with whom we had corresponded when registering for the workshop greeted us when we came in and guided us to where we were to sit and had a nice little chat with me in the kitchen at lunch time.

That was pretty much it. For almost EIGHT hours. It was obvious that everybody knew everybody else. Nobody was unpleasant to us. But neither did either of us hear, "I don't believe we've met. I'm ....." or "You must be one of the people who drove almost 400 miles to be here. My name is......"

Did we feel unwelcome? No. Did we feel welcome? No.

Fire up the way back machine. When I was living in Sacramento, I joined the local quilt guild and was a faithfully-attending member for a year. I went to the charity quilt Saturdays. I entered blocks in the block of the month lotto. I even screwed up my courage and got up on the stage with my (3rd or 4th quilt) show and tell and managed to stammer out, "I'm not sure if I quilted this right, I need some suggestions." That piece of bravery garnered a shout out from the audience, "Buy [so-and-so's] book!" (So-and-so was a member of the guild, of course).

During the entire year of membership, ONE person engaged me in conversation.

I bathe. I can string three or five words together into an intelligent sentence. I am shy when in a new situation, but that usually doesn't last long. What's up?

If you're a guild member reading this, I'm sure that your guild would never think of treating a newcomer like that. Right?

Or is that right? Is your own circle of guild-ettes so full and so fulfilling that you don't need anybody new? (No! You say - Quilters cross borders! Quilters are good and caring people!) If your guild is so wonderfully complete without outsiders/interlopers, maybe you should think about closing the membership?

As for me and any future with an "official" quilt guild, no thanks. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice... well, I'm outta here.


permalink 0 Comments:

Want to Post a Comment?