Dear Guild Members,
Welcome to the Guild’s 80th year! It is an honor to be shepherding this esteemed organization in these trying times. COVID-19 and our country’s continued struggle with racial injustice will challenge us like never before. Despite these challenges, I believe we will persevere because we are a community of generous, talented and industrious folks. We can and will emerge a stronger organization.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a weaver, spinner and novice dyer. I am truly passionate about the Guild’s mission. I have found my life’s passion in weaving, in particular, and look forward to decades of continued study, experimentation and sharing with fellow Guild members. I’ve often found myself wondering why working with fiber is so fulfilling. Perhaps it’s because these crafts require a slow contemplative practice. It helps quiet the mind and prompts a singular focus on the task at hand – the feel of fiber slipping through my fingers as I spin wool into yarn, the joy of seeing a shuttle passing through an open shed, an unexpected color emerging from plants harvested from my garden. These simple moments bring deep fulfillment which I am especially grateful for in today’s world.
During its 80 years, the Guild has fostered a community that supports fiber enthusiasts. It provides much needed resources to support our collective quest to learn and share. Isn’t weaving, spinning and dyeing a perfect antidote to our ‘always on’ and disposable culture? Isn’t it gratifying to experience how a hand-crafted towel becomes soft and supple from years of use and to see how a hand-spun skein of yarn becomes a sweater to keep us warm during our long winters? These are the things our members cherish – and, importantly, that the Guild is working to preserve. To do this, we need your help.
Our Fiscal 2021 will be like no other year in our history. What makes the Guild special – our ability to come together physically – is unavailable to us in the manner we have grown to love. With the important precaution of social distancing, we likely will not be able to convene large meetings such as our beloved potluck dinners. We will not be able to hold large in-person classes. We are unable to meet in person as study groups, bringing our hand-crafted pieces for show and tell. I mourn these losses. But, I am an optimist by nature, so, I do believe with extreme challenge comes opportunity. To that end, our efforts this year are geared to navigating our financial challenges while setting us up for a bright future leveraging all of the insights we’ve gleaned in this time of working virtually.
Given our significant financial challenges, we have an unprecedented need for support. The largest source of our income – in-person classes – is gone for the foreseeable future. Since the safety of our members, students, staff and instructors is of paramount concern, we cannot offer in-person classes until a safe option is available. Know that the team is working tirelessly to develop and offer online options for education and engagement and is exploring whether in-person classes may resume safely.
However, as these efforts take time to develop and implement, we need financial support to tide us over until then. My ask to each of you is this: if you can support the Guild financially, please consider donating in October. All amounts are welcome. With your support, we will be able to continue our efforts to adapt to our changed environment and to maintain our dedicated staff.
Our staff is hard at work keeping the Guild running seamlessly, albeit differently. Here are a few examples of what Karin, Betsy, and Ever are doing to adapt and to serve our members in these trying times:
• Fiber Source is open by appointment–now open Saturdays
• We are accepting and selling donations of quality goods
• Online classes are being developed and offered
• We seeking new grants and donations
• Guild leaders are facilitating Study group sessions over Zoom
• The Draft continues to keep us all informed and connected
• The new Book Club is convening virtually
In addition to COVID-19 challenges, our country and community continue to struggle with racial injustice. The Guild is doing its part to start the long journey of driving change in our community. To that end, in August, the Board of Directors approved the creation of a permanent Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEI). With its creation, the Guild is prioritizing this important work. The mission of the DEI Committee is to champion decisions and actions that foster a just, inclusive, and equitable community and thereby support a full creative life for all Minnesotans. I encourage you to stay connected through the Draft to find ways to support our DEI efforts.
I welcome thoughts, suggestions and ideas on how to navigate in these tumultuous times. You may reach me by email at Also, the Board of Directors will be hosting a listening session in October to hear from you, to gather your insights and to continue to adapt to the challenges we face. I look forward to a rich discussion.
Be well,
Linda Soranno