Updated: Jul 3, 2019
Last night, the Nampa MQG met for its second monthly meeting. I have to say it was a success! We had approximately 30 members in attendance, a good room space thanks to The College of Western Idaho (albeit, a bit warm in the room!).
After doing some paperwork (boring, but necessary), we are able to now post photos from our events and meetings, which is very exciting! We did a quick website “tour” of the National Modern Quilt Guild’s webpage as I wanted to make sure our new members are aware of the amazing resources available to them as members.
However, what was by far the best part of the evening was the Show and Tell of our first “homework assignment” which was given out at our inaugural meeting! During that event, volunteering participants were given a handout with prompts on personality traits to complete. Then the handouts were randomly distributed among the participants so that each member was assigned to another member who they most likely did not know previous to the meeting.
The assignment was to create a quilted name badge for your randomly assigned partner inspired from the characteristics and preferences written on their handout. Enthusiasm was high at first as most attendants submitted and accepted a handout; however, rumor quickly spread through the quilting community that the quilters were stressed on how to best approach making their partner’s name badge. Quilters wanted to make neat, quality name badges, and most importantly, something that there assigned member – a stranger to them – would like and be pleased with. I overheard (and was relayed) several conversations between participants trying to brainstorm design ideas, techniques, and approaches as well as digging for more information from friends of the assigned member who may have feedback on ideas and share the preferences of that individual.
That brings me to my point; the Nampa MQG has an informal mission to promote the education of the craft of quilting, and be an opportunity for quilters of the Lower Treasure Valley to socialize, network, and make friends with similar interests. This “assignment” served both these purposes. The social aspect is obvious; members got to learn about other members they were unacquainted with via the handouts and then met in person when presenting the badge to the assigned partner. The education side might be more subtle; we are a new guild and our founding members are taking a bit of a leap of faith in participating in the guild as it develops. This requires not only flexibility, but also the willingness to stretch your projects to outside your comfort zone. Learning outside the comfort zone is, in fact, a large component of education. I was blown away by how positive and the willingness to participate in this scary assignment; to make a small gift to be presented to and examined by a stranger in front of a decent sized group of other quilters, some very experienced and skilled.
The presentation of badges went off with a bang! Recipients were genuinely excited and grateful to their presenter for the time and effort put into creating these little, personal gifts that we can all use in quilting activities for years to come. The presenters explained the thought process behind their design and pointed out the representation of character traits in the badge, introducing the group as a whole to the recipient. The token of these special gifts created a sense of camaraderie between the members and I was so pleased to see that many (if not all) of the swaps ended in a hug and photo. The audience was inspired and I believe it created an atmosphere of excitement, joy, and fellowship. It all went better than I could have imagined. I had doubted my choice in assignment after hearing the grumblings and worries during the month of May when presenters were working on their assignment, but I think almost all would say that it was beyond worth the effort after having seen the presentations of badges.
I’m so happy with how the assignment came out and am so grateful for those who took the leap of faith and had the courage to participate. I highly recommend the activity to other guilds, retreats, or sewing groups as a way to welcome new members and break the ice not only between individual members, but the group as a whole.
Above: Members presenting and receiving their name badges.
If you are interested in the activity, you can find the instructions and handout posted to: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1VZ0st_XQodcEG6cGkzvZ4w1hwBEhRtT3.
I’m looking forward posting a blog entry on the next group assignment: creating a group banner using contributed quilt blocks made by members.
Nampa Modern Quilt Guild