When I dropped off some baskets at the Fair yesterday to be exhibited in the Home Arts Division, I was shocked and dismayed at the very few baskets that people had entered for the exhibit. It has bothered me all night long. So instead of just being disappointed and upset, I'm trying to think what we might do to improve participation for next year....assuming that the Fair Committee doesn't drop all Basketry entries altogether do to the small showing this year.
Our Guild exists to promote the art and tradition of basketry. What better way is there to do that than to have a healthy, representative display at the state fair, that attracts about 1.2 million visitors?
Some thoughts on remedying the current situation:
1. Create a Fair Committee in the Guild, that will help advertise to the Guild members and assist all year long in promoting participation in local and state fair exhibits.
2. Contact Guild members directly to discuss what prevents them from entering baskets at the fairs.
3. Address the issues that arise in #2, whatever they may be.
In all of my thoughts yesterday, as well as the ensuing discussion with my daughter who was with me at the time, I came to realize that it really isn't about winning ribbons (although that may be either the draw or deterrent for some). It is at its most basic level, about sharing our love of basketry with the public.
Our Guild is healthy and vibrant in all other areas, growing and expanding in membership, offering speakers and workshops, supporting basket days and an annual retreat/conference. We just need to realize what a golden opportunity the Fair offers to showcase our work and welcome potential weavers into our family.