Saturday, September 20, 2008

Local Politics

This post probably could be on my personal blog, but since it has to do with guild politics, I suppose it's appropos here. The bottom line is that the older I get, the less time and inclination I have to be involved in groups that inevitably wind up being about one or a few people wielding their egos over the group, blatantly OR subtly. And calling that a democracy.

I've been in and out of my local spinning and weaving guild since about 2000, mostly in, and on the board for all of that time. That's because I have a lot of the business skills that boards, art-related or not, love and always need. What I've been doing here is editing the newsletter, which is actually something I enjoy doing. But I'm finding it increasingly difficult to participate in board meetings because one person (formerly) or another (currently) always rises to some self-inflated level to where they begin to take the guild for granted in some way or treat other members in a mildly condescencing way.

I think it also has to do with my DEcreasing ability to unceasingly support other people in their climbs upward. I wonder what failure it is on my part, if any, to enjoy the success of others. In sorting through this I'm thinking the whole thing has more to do with the other person's attitude than anything else. If that person remains humble, then fine. But as soon as they start to take on airs, then my support goes out the window.

And while I'm on this train of thought, I do not like having my work judged. I know many of you will likely chime in here. I have no problem sending my work to galleries and art centers to be juried, but I dislike having it judged at the local county fair. My concerns are two-fold here...first off, the person who judges handspun yarn always holds it up to a machine-spun standard, dinging you if there are slubs or unevenly plied areas anywhere in the skein. I mean, come on, it's HANDSPUN!

The other concern is that the person who judges finished work inevitably makes some negative comment based on the fact that in their opinion the entrant made some creative choice that they wouldn't have made. I'm not talking about technical errors or finishing or presentation boo-boos. One of the pieces I entered this year in my county fair was knocked down a few points because the judge didn't think the shibori pattern I wove into the fabric was quite to her liking.Unreal!

Anyway, I'm going to try to go back to sleep now that I've gotten all my issues off my mind!


Peg in South Carolina said...

I think there comes a time for many weavers when they basically outgrow their guild and if they stay it is their desire to be supportive of other weavers. If their support is not desired or needed or is ill-used, then there is no reason to stay in the guild. That is the guild's loss, but it is too bad for the experienced weaver as well. Mentoring can be richly rewarding and another kind of growing experience. Though I was far from the most experienced weaver around in the guild, I was well mentored and when we left the area, I had just gotten to the point where I was ready to teach a bit and mentor. I have come to realize that I have outgrown the guild and am doing things I would never have done had I continued to be active in it.

Connie Rose said...

Thanks for your comments Peg. It has felt for a while like the guild is holding me back in some way. I'm just trying to figure out how I can extricate myself from it. Your thoughts are emboldening me. Thanks again!

Michael said...

I know what you mean, about the guild, and ego and politics... I work for an organization for my "real" job that is governed by a nonprofit board, and it definitely gave me a different perspective on volunteering for office in the Guild I'm in.

About judging at fairs - here at the Texas State Fair, we've got a committee that judges the entire Creative Arts category. Everything from shoe-making to painting to petit-point is in one lump, and they're CLUELESS about textile stuff. My silk organzine skein, which won Best in Handspun at the CHT Texas handweavers convention the same year, got a second place (and there was NO FIRST) because they didn't feel that it was quite up to snuff, and thought it might have been nicer if it were made into something. It happened to several other weavers and spinners this year. Fortunately, the Guild is trying to find a way to get somebody at least on the committee, to be able to point out what is going on with the various entries.

Connie Rose said...

Yeah, Michael, almost all of my work experience was in nonprofits. So I can't say I didn't know about this potentiality. Lord knows how many times it's happened to me in my 30 year career.

I do think I'm finished with it now!