CGOA 2018 Presentation Notes

I’m thrilled to be giving a talk this evening at the Crochet Guild of America annual conference in Portland, Oregon. The presentation is called “Expanding the Art and Community of Crochet.” One of the points I emphasize is using exhibits and shows to spread the influence of crochet to people outside our usual crochet circle.

Please check back, as I’ll be adding photos and more links over the weekend.

Here are some things for you:

Getting a Public Crochet Project Started

When I talk about a public crochet project, I usually mean a show or exhibit. You will probably come up with lots more ideas.

To me, a show is when lots of people enter things they have made for a two- or three-day display. Think of a quilt show put on by a local quilting guild, and you’ll know what I mean. There might be different categories of entries, and you could award ribbons or a Best-of-Show award.

An exhibit is more like a collection of works that center around a theme, like my exhibit Celebrate Doilies. One person or a committee would curate an exhibit, choosing historical items, artworks, and other materials that support the theme. An exhibit is usually displayed longer than a show, and can travel to different venues.

These links are to articles are about how to organize quilt shows, where lots of people enter their work. They will give you a starting point for planning a crochet show.

https://www.quiltinghub.com/Articles/ArticleID/325

http://lostquilt.com/displaying-quilts/organizing-a-quilt-show/

Talking about Your Crochet Event

If you put on a show, an exhibit, or some other crochet event, you need to let people know about it.

Talk about it early and often. If you can, start at least one year ahead of time.
This post has good ideas for publicity:

http://threadmongers.blogspot.com/2012/08/quilt-shows-attendance-and-publicity.html

You or your group will be the best advocates for your crochet event. To communicate well, you will need:

  • Good photos or samples of what your event will be about, so you can show people what it will look like.
  • Accurate information about your event. Think back to the Five Ws you probably learned about in elementary school: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

    Let people know the details—WHO is putting on the show or whose work is in the show, WHAT is it about, WHEN will it be, WHERE will it be, WHY are you doing this and WHY should people be interested?

  • Finally, how can people help? Maybe you want people to enter their work in a show. You may need volunteers. Think about how people can contribute.

Where to Talk About Your Crochet Event

Involve your crochet friends and guild, but think about who else would be interested in what you are doing. Consider giving talks to:

  • Genealogy groups
  • Senior Citizens groups
  • Service organization meetings. The Lions Club in my town has a weekly luncheon where they have a speaker. You could be one of those speakers.
  • Historical society meetings
  • Art and needlework groups other than crochet

Suzann Thompson with baling twine doily

Writing about Your Crochet Event

At some point you will need to do more publicity. Preferably free. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Social Media: The key to publicizing anything on social media is to post often and with pictures. See if you can come up with something flashy and eye-catching to draw attention to your project. The great, big doilies I crocheted for Celebrate Doilies got lots of likes every time I post them on Instagram or Twitter. This is me with the doily made with hay-baling twine.
  • Print Media: As early as you can, make a list of magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and websites that have event listings. Find out their deadlines and be sure to meet them.
  • Newspapers: You never know when your listing will lead to further publicity through a feature story–like the Austin360 article below, which happened because I submitted information to the American-Statesman events calendar (click on the picture to go to the article). If it’s a small town newspaper, offer to write a feature article about your event.
  • Try tourist and travel magazines.
  • If you are a college graduate, your alumni magazine or newsletter may want to list an event you created.

verypink.com podcast about Celebrate Doilies

Guest Blogging

Even if you have your own blog, consider writing guest blog posts to expand your audience. Read the host blogger’s guidelines carefully and follow them.

Interviews

Accept offers for interviews. If you’re anxious about speaking off the cuff, ask if you can do a written interview.

* * *

Sandi Horton’s Poem

Modern Girl
Copyright 2017 by Sandi Horton. All rights reserved.

The young girl eyes the multitude of colors
She wants to find just the right one
Should she be practical with a neutral
Or choose a bright, modern color?

Her mother and grandmother chose
Different shades of white and beige
They are so old-fashioned
The girl chooses a dazzling lime green

She wants to represent her generation
Even though most other girls don’t crochet
The girl wants to keep the chain going
Her nimble fingers tighten from the stress

Lime green thread twists around and around
The hook moves slowly, in an unsteady rhythm
Her mom says, ‘Crocheting relaxes me.’
The inexperienced girl continues to struggle

She refuses to give up
A smooth pattern finally takes shape
She finishes her first and only doily
Modern girls have better things to do

 Doily by poet Sandi Horton

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