Perhaps the greatest benefit to belonging to a guild is the opportunity to learn together. We learn through various activities. "Show and tell" allows us to share triumphs that inspire and horror stories that allow others to avoid our mistakes. It gives us the opportunity to share ideas and to get a few pats on the back that encourage us to keep on exploring. I always come home from meetings with something, whether it is a tip to make weaving easier or the inspiration to try something new.
Formal workshops with great instructors often requires travel but thanks to our workshop committee we've been able to study with some of the best close to home. It will take me years to explore all the ideas presented in Jane Staffords workshop on plain weave. I am still working on the use of thick and thin threads.
Workshops don't have to be a big production, sometimes they involve individuals sharing their expertise like the recent dye workshops. You may not think you have anything to share but all of us are experts in some area.
Study groups are a great way to work on an idea in some depth. In addition to sharing of ideas there is always that commitment to the group that forces you to make time for weaving. For the thick&thin study we all wove on the same warp, but it was interesting to see how our different choices of weft and treadling produced different results. I enjoyed the discussion part of the study group but found attempting to work on the same piece from start to finish was a problem with a group of that size. The Beginner Weavers study group combines discussion, planning and doing. They are using Weaver's Craft as their inspiration. Their first project was yardage for a pillow. They are already working on their second project. Let's have more study groups in the coming year. We could have several groups exploring different ideas.
Sometimes we take for granted the influence mentoring has on our progress as fibre artists. Few of us get a chance to apprentice to a master but all of us have experienced some form of mentoring. It can be a simple as having a more experienced person help us out of a tangled mess or a friend that we discuss ideas with. At some stage all of us have needed a little extra help to learn something new or to reassure ourselves that we are on the right track. Guild members are a great resource no matter what stage you are at.