I was shocked but not surprised to get an e-mail from my quilt guild’s president about the dissolution of the National Quilting Association. NQA has shaped the way quilt shows are judged and been a national outlet for quilt guilds. While I was a member for just a few years, I was always aware of the organization due to its annual show in Columbus, Ohio. I often joined a busload of enthusiastic gawkers to travel to the show.
From NQA’s announcement, I gather lack of funds and dwindling membership led to this step. As I understand it, NQA was run by volunteers and was very quilt guild oriented. I observed in an earlier post that members of many traditional guilds are getting too old (or too burned out) to remain active in running quilting organizations, and there haven’t been enough new, younger members to take up the slack.
Here I speak from the experience of my traditional guild. Actually, we have attracted new, younger members. They are happy to attend meetings and workshops, but have voiced little interest in some past guild activities such as charity quilts, challenges, and fund raising. I think it’s partly because many work yet also because much of our guild structure has been swept away – no historian, no sunshine committee, no quilt show. I won’t go into why this happened. Suffice it to say the reasons were beyond the guild’s control.
That brings me back to NQA. The organization’s board took many steps to remain financially viable. There were fewer issues of the magazine, dues were raised, they changed the annual show’s location. I gather nothing worked. I think it’s hard to run an all volunteer organization, especially at the national level. Work gets done when members have the time to do it. There’s always a learning curve as new volunteers take over activities. And, again, some members simply can’t be as active as they once were. Another factor may be the proliferation of national quilt shows.
The saddest part of all this to me is that, aside from the official announcement by the NQA board, I didn’t find any mention of this step when I searched Google yesterday. Do quilters simply not care or not find NQA relevant? If so, that may sum up the problems of the NQA. Or is it that those who care aren’t part of the online quilting community, but are talking about it with other quilters?
I’d like to hear your thoughts and opinions on this.