President Knitters’ Guild NSW
2010 - 2013
Just over three and a half years ago it was suggested to me that I take on the role of President of this Guild. I thought long and hard about it, particularly given the number of other commitments I have. In the end I agreed basically because I have a great love for our craft since I first learnt to knit as a child and enjoy its artistic and social nature and I felt that the Guild was at a pivotal point in its history. On the one hand were members who didn't think about the Guild as being an entity bigger than their Group but there were those who wanted the Guild to utilise new technologies and ensure the Guild was legally compliant in its processes and there were those who didn't see any need for any changes and were concerned about their possible impact. So, because I believe in the value of the Guild as an important entity to facilitate the sharing and growth of our craft in our society, I thought that I would do what I could to assist the Guild in the implementation of what was needed to keep in step with cultural technological changes whilst ensuring that those who needed to or wished to keep to non-technological processes could do so and also to assess the Guild’s compliance with changes in statutory legislation.
This Guild was formed 27 years ago by small number of ladies, most of whom are still members to this day. The reason they formed the Guild was to further our craft and this aim is reflected in the Objects of our constitution:
a) To encourage and promote hand knitting, crochet and other associated crafts;
b) To encourage and maintain high standards in design and techniques;
c) To provide a forum for the exchange and provision of information;
d) To provide an opportunity for education in the craft;
e) To encourage the exhibition of members’ work;
f) To do all things which may seem proper to further the interests of the craft.
Over the past three years the Guild has continued to fulfill these Objects in a variety of ways, some of which have been happening for some time and others have been implemented more recently. Several of these recent changes have been made in order to take into consideration changes in the demographics of Guild members, changes in technology and changes in legislation. These are a few highlights of how the Guild achieves its Objects and how the changes which have taken place assist the Guild to do so.
To encourage and promote hand knitting, crochet and other associated crafts –
The Guild’s website is increasingly being used to showcase members’ work, provide information to the community about what the Guild does and to advertise events for both members and non-members.
Guild members and Groups continue to provide a presence at Exhibitions and both craft and regional shows and festivals. Two major events over the past year have been the display at the Royal Easter Show and the organisation by the Goulburn Group of a scarf for the Big Merino which came to fruition in March of this year and gained national news coverage.
Several new Groups have started with two new ones commencing in the next few weeks.
To encourage and maintain high standards in design and techniques –
The Standards Committee continues to provide judges for shows and the assessment of members’ work through the Achievement Certificates and the members of the Committee have been researching various techniques for new Certificate modules. To assist members to improve their skills or learn new ones, they have also prepared a schedule for a Guild Competition and Exhibition which was proposed for 2012 but the major events of the RAS Display 2012 and the Camp 2013 have meant that it is now scheduled for 2014.
The Guild now has a closer involvement in the RAS Arts & Crafts Competitions and has been able to implement some changes in classes which have increased community interest in entering and wanting knowledge of techniques.
To provide a forum for the exchange and provision of information –
The Newsletter is increasing in variety of content and size with every issue with many photos of members’ work and Guild activities. The Newsletter remains our main avenue for communicating with all members and can be received by email or post.
In addition to the website, the Guild now has a Ravelry Group with more than 250 members and a Twitter Account. Several Groups are now utiilising the Ravelry Group to communicate with their members, notices and questions about the Guild events and activities can be posted and answered quickly to a wide audience. The Twitter Account is able to communicate Guild avtivities and events to both members and non-members and show photos of exhibitions. On occasions both Ravelry and Twitter have been used to call in emergency volunteers for shows when other members have not been able turn up due to illness or suddent changes on work commitments.
To provide an opportunity for education in the craft –
Workshops continue to be a key factor to achieve this Object. We have had workshops run by international tutors as well as local members and non-members within Group meetings , at shows and at specially organised events. The advertising of workshops on the internet and the implemenation of on-line bookings has seen an increase of attendees at workshops and a subsequent increase in memberships.
The Library continues to provide books for borrowing by members and Groups and has recently added several DVDs to its collection.
To encourage the exhibition of members’ work –
As already mentioned above members’ work is exhibited in the Newsletter, at various shows and it is increasingly being displayed on the internet via the Guild website, on Ravelry, Twitter and in Group blogs or member blogs.
To do all things which may seem proper to further the interests of the craft –
In order to do this the Guild has had to make sure that it complies with current legislation so that it can continue to operate and not be prosecuted for non-compliance. The process of formulating a new constitution, begun in 2009, was completed in 2011 with the ratification of a Guild Constitution which complies with the new State Associations Legislation of 2009. Changes to our remuneration processes have been implemented in order to comply with NSW State laws and we have been endeavouring to also formulate a Records Management Policy and firm up our financial procedures.
The implementation of direct deposits and on-line payments for memberships and workshops, as well as bookings for workshops, has been very popular and, as mentioned above, has seen an increase in memberships, with several people rejoining.
We have also implemented the ability to pay our suppliers and reimburse members’ expenses by direct deposit rather than using cheques with are slower, more costly and prone to getting lost and a substantial portion of our reserve funds is deposited in an interest bearing term deposit.
Over the past three years I have greatly enjoyed visiting Guild Groups, unfortunately due to work and uni commitments I was unable to get around to all the Groups but I am hoping that I may be able to visit those I’ve missed once my degree is finished this year. It has been my aim to make sure that changes have been communicated and that processes are left in place for those without access to technology and recently Groups have been encouraged to follow the Southern Group’s example and set up a buddy system to regularly pass on inforamtion to these members.
Great thanks must go to Executive Committee members and all the Group Officers and Sub-Committee members and convenors for everything they do to support the Guild and its members. This is what makes the difference between the Guild and the casual social groups libraries, shops, cafes, pubs, clubs - to name a few - which many of us attend as well as our Guild Groups. When I submitted a proposal to Blacktown Council recently it was very satisfying to be able to outline to Coulncil the various ways in which a Guild Group can benefit a community, for example, by supporting local charities, shows and exhibitions and providing classes for all ages. I would like to encourage more members to get involved, even in small ways – the more people who do means that even more can be achieved.
I have been very proud to be President of the Guild. It has been very hard work but overall the Guild is a wonderful organisation with great potential and it will be exciting to see its continued progress in the coming years.