I have to say before you read on, as the DH has told me that I seem very vehement, (and may well be barred from membership of the QG anyway!) that I truly love the idea of a Guild of quilters who though they may come from many directions, all meet at the point where quilts are loved. I want to belong to a happy, welcoming, thriving guild that members benefit from, and contribute to…….
So……in contemplation of rejoining the guild, I was leafing through a friend’s copy of The Quilter today, and of interest to me was an article about another quilting group who have done just the same as ours, by extending into an art-quilting offshoot. That was an enjoyable read. Less enjoyable though was the small piece about Sanderson Star Members.
Before my mother became very needful of my time, I was in the Quilter’s Guild. I supported the Guild enough to become the website editor for region 12. I can’t honestly say that I found membership particularly stimulating, useful, or enjoyable. I am really lucky to have a very active local group that is not, however, affiliated to the Guild – we were, but many members were not individually Guild members, and after much debate and input from them, we could not justify spending their money on something they could see little benefit from. During my membership, I tried to promote the Guild – comments from non-members were hard to argue with – “I would rather spend £50 on fabric“, “nothing ever happens in Region 12 in Mid Wales, it’s all down South“, “York is a long way to go and The Guild never send their quilts nearer“, “The magazine is too academic, and seems elitist” – and I would add to that my own dismay at being continually barracked by the editorial of The Quilter to promote membership and to fund-raise. The focus always seemed to be on The Guild existing to be supported, rather than to support.
However, as I am now working in the quilting world and have more time to devote to my own quilting, I am thinking of re-joining. However, I now, and with sadness, very much doubt that I will, because of the article on Sanderson’s Star Members.
In these times of economic harshness, and the growing awareness of the cruel division in society based on wealth, I am not exaggerating when I say that I was repulsed by this new level of ‘star’ membership. Those people already fortunate enough to have more money than others, can now show off that wealth to ‘second-class’ members, by donning their Sanderson’s Star badge and thus showing the quilting world that they can afford at least double the financial commitment to the Guild, that some others (i.e. me) have to think long and hard about making. I can’t express fully how vile I find this. If the finance of the Guild is precarious, then the trustees need to look at encouraging wider membership, through greater engagement with the thousands of people who quilt rather than the few who are wealthy. It seems so feudal, so old-fashioned, so out of step with the zeitgeist, and so darn mean.
Perhaps I am over-reacting. I would love to know what others think…….