Weavers are a part of a community. You may have heard me say that before…
And while Warped Fibers is a great community to be a part of, that does not mean it has to be your only community!
In fact, there are many different organizations that you can be a member of that can help you further your weaving knowledge and reach.
Depending on what you are looking for you have some options. There are large-scale and small-scale organizations that you can join. Also, if you look at your local level you might be able to find a weaving guild.
On a larger scale there are more expansive options like The American Craft Council, The American Tapestry Alliance, Surface Design Association, and The Handweaver’s Guild of America. All of these different organizations come with perks!
Who doesn’t love perks?
If you have not already, don’t forget to join the Warped Fibers community! (Yes, there are perks!)
Become a member
Most organizations will require a fee for membership.
This probably comes at no surprise.
Fees vary depending on the organization and the level that you subscribe to. There are also usually discounts for prepaying for your membership for multiple years in advance. If you can swing it, then this is the best way to join because you will save money in the long run.
If you are a student, they often have reduced fees! If you are a student then definitely make sure to check that out and take advantage of your student status!
Discounts on entering shows
Entering art shows and exhibitions costs money.
Ugh. Of course.
If you want to show your work and you find the price of entering shows a little high, then joining an organization can be a good option!
Yes, as we just said, you usually have to pay to be a member. When you add up all though, the other perks that you get then you will end up saving money in the long run.
Not only will you probably get a discount for entering a show, but you may also get access to shows that you would not be able to enter if you were not already a member.
As another plus, a lot of organizations will have shows that showcase only the work of their members. Some even pull work from their own directories for online exhibits – no entering required!
If you want access to these types of exhibits then make sure to check out some the organizations that I have linked later on.
If you are not sure about whether or not their shows would be a good fit for you then make sure to check out their previous exhibits. Most of them will have a page on their site devoted to current and past shows. These shows can help you get a good idea of what to expect for the future.
This embroidery weaving was in the Handweaver’s Guild of America’s: Small Expressions Exhibit.
Discounts on craft shows
Do you like to look at weaving and other Crafts? Certain fiber art and weaving organizations will have physical craft shows that you can visit.
Specifically, the American Craft Council (ACC) has a few shows around the country that are huge.
I mean HUGE.
They feature many artists that range from weavers to woodworkers and everyone in between.
With membership to the ACC you get at least one complimentary ticket (it depends on your membership level) to the craft show of your choice.
I was able to go to their show in Baltimore a few different years, and honestly, it is something that I look forward to greatly. You get to experience many different types of art all in one place and talk to other makers just like you.
If you want to participate, but you are still new and not sure if it is right for you, then they also have an emerging artists program that gives you a smaller and more manageable space for an emerging artist.
Access to members only content
Exclusive content is a really great perk that you can get for being a member.
Look out for Facebook groups like the ATA’s Let’s Talk Tapestry group where questions are answered and tapestry weavers are spotlighted. They also have monthly tapestry topics to discuss and members can share their tapestries in progress for review or encouragement.
That is only one example.
Joining these groups are a great way to talk to other tapestry weavers from around the country. Look into the organization you are thinking about joining to see if they have anything similar.
Speaking of members-only content – did you know that if you have signed up for my FREE butterfly mini-course or any other online course that I teach then you can join the Warped Weavers Facebook group!
Whether you like digital or physical magazines, you will be in luck!
A lot of organizations come with a subscription to their magazine as part of the perks of membership. Monthly or quarterly magazines can be delivered to your mailbox or inbox. They showcase artwork that could inspire you or teach you about textile traditions around the world.
These are fantastic to get if you are the kind of person that likes to have inspiration delivered straight to you. Not only do they contain helpful information, but they also usually have interviews or articles on practicing artists that you can read. If you want to keep up with what other fiber artists are doing then this is a great way to do it.
If you are sustainably minded (yay!) then check to see if they have a digital option instead of a physical one. Physical magazines are usually the default, so just make sure to read all your subscription options. Bonus: sometimes you get a discount if you only want the digital magazine!
Save money and paper – still get inspired!
If you like to have as much textile content as you can then this might be another great way to get it.
Most organizations will have a member directory that lists all of their members. Depending on the organization there will be different information that you can display beyond just your name.
You may be able to showcase your website, textile techniques practiced, or topics you are interested in. These directories can be really great to be a part of because you may just be contacted because of them for opportunities.
If you are a premium member of the Surface Design Association (SDA) for example then you have the ability to upload your work to a special premium gallery. This gallery is used for the SDA to pull work from for some of their online exhibits. No extra application work for you!
Some organizations will also feature you on their social media. This one can be a really big deal if you are trying to get your work out there. Social media reaches so many people and the big organizations probably have the reach that you do not. (No shade, they have way more of a reach than I do!)
Meet up with like-minded makers
Guilds are more likely to be local and therefore you might actually be able to meet up either in person or via zoom with other makers and weavers.
These meet-ups can be really great because talking to other like-minded people can be one of the best ways to stay inspired and on track with your weaving. If you need some accountability to make sure you do not let life get in the way of your weaving then having someone local can be a great option.
Guilds may also have members only retreats or workshops that you can join. This is on top of their exhibitions!
If you are wondering about the weaving guilds in your area, the best things to do are to either ask other local weavers or just search Google.
Which organizations should you be a member of?
Short answer? I can not tell you that.
It will all depend on what your weaving and fiber art goals are. The same answer goes for whether or not you should join more than one. All of the different organizations have different member perks, resources, and content. The best thing to do is research them to figure out if they make sense for you.
As for myself, I am a member of many different organizations and one regional guild. This is because I have found value in being a part of all of them for various reasons.
I recommend you take a look at the options that you have and create a list with perks and prices. Determine what you are willing to spend (if anything) to have access to what they have to offer.
If you just want to be a member of a weaving community with no monetary commitment – the Warped community is always open and free.