Every odd-numbered month from September through July, the Guild brings in speakers. These Guild meetings are on Fridays at 7PM. We also offer gatherings like FiberCamp Weekend for crafters of all levels as well as more informal meetups, potlucks, and field trips.
Our mission is to give Guild members (and guests!) a chance to see and learn from the best and most interesting fiber artists out there. We try to balance the lowest costs for you with our commitment to supporting these artists as the experts and professionals they are. We know what having a budget is like; the Guild itself is a 501(c)3 non-profit.
Guild Programming and Funding
We have 6 Friday night events during the year, 5 speakers plus Ignite Craft Boston in January. The Guild believes every artist deserves a living wage, which is why all 5 Friday night speakers receive a speaking fee. The Guild also pays travel expenses for out-of-town speakers.
When speakers teach classes, we want them to be paid reasonably for their time. We usually pay teachers a flat rate so they don’t have to worry about publicizing and filling the class. Instead, the Guild publicizes the class and takes on the risk that attendance may be insufficient to offset class expenses.
Membership is $35 a year ($25 if you join online). Membership fees are our primary source of revenue, which is why we ask you to join or renew if you support what we’re doing. Nonmembers can also attend meetings for just $6 each, which means you can see some amazing talks even if you have very little money in your pocket.
So why join, if it’s almost the same price as just paying at the door for each meeting? Because as a card-carrying member, you get perks like discounts at many local fabric and fiber stores and special pricing for FiberCamp and classes taught by our speakers. You also help us enormously in our planning by paying up front for the upcoming year.
How Do We Do All This So Inexpensively?
Because we’re a non-profit, all funds we take in—whether in the form of memberships, guest fees, donations, or class or event fees—are rolled back into Guild programming and activities. For some events, like FiberCamp, we can even offer scholarships. Here’s how we pull off the feat of providing such awesome programming so inexpensively:
- The kind support and contributions of the MIT History Department for meeting space are a huge help.
- We happen to live in a hotbed of fiber activity, so we can bring in great talent without having to pay for travel. We try to balance local and out-of-town speakers to optimize your membership dollars.
- All our positions are volunteer-based. Our Board is all-volunteer. Our graphic design is all-volunteer. Everything about the events you go to and correspondence you receive is done by people donating their time. Once in a while, we contract out for professional work if there is no good in-house option, but for the most part, it’s all-volunteer.
- Finally, we sometimes take in more than we expend on a class or event (e.g., popular classes, FiberCamp). These excess funds subsidize other Guild programming that is less financially successful.
How Can You Help?
Given all this, there a few ways you can help:
- Don’t forget to join or renew your membership!
- Take advantage of Guild-sponsored classes and attend events like FiberCamp, if you are interested and can afford to.
- Enthusiastically drag—we mean, bring—guests to talks, classes, and events you think will interest them. Maybe they’ll join the Guild!
- Help us publicize Cod programming so we get the best possible turnout.
- Buy stuff from us: We have water bottles and an annual bake sale.
- Help us consider other types of fundraisers.
- You can flat out donate to the Guild—and your donation is tax-deductible.
- Time is money! Anyone can attend our Board meetings, and any time you can give to help the Guild fulfill its mission is appreciated.
By the way, what is a fiber activity?
A fiber activity is any activity that involves some sweet, sweet yarn or fiber. This includes crocheting, spinning, weaving, rug hooking, knitting, nalbinding, felting, fulling… etc… This is a very general term that is meant to be all-inclusive.
Why a Guild?
Guild is the best term to describe the kind of activities group we would like to have in Boston. We wanted a place to bring speakers and to get inspired. Since we are based around shared activities that were once organized and run by guilds, we felt that this was the best term for this. While we toyed with “the fiber fun organization,” it just didn’t have the same luster as “guild.”
How Did the Guild Start, and What’s Up with the Name?
Guido Stein, Alanna Nelson, and Alasdair Post-Quinn started the Guild in 2008 to promote fiber activities in the Boston area, as well as to promote local yarn stores, fiber artists, and fiber producers. The name comes from two important pieces of Boston history. “Common” refers to the Boston Common in downtown Boston, where animals grazed in colonial times. “Cod” represents the biggest business in early New England; it funded the textile revolution here.