The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A temporary blip!

Since I gave up teaching, I have also stopped giving talks. I  found driving to a strange area and searching for the venue, together with transporting stuff back and forth without mislaying it, was beginning to pall.  So now I just go and listen to other people giving talks and admire them for all the effort I know it takes.

Well not quite, because somehow I have been persuaded to speak in Birmingham tomorrow.  However, it's not quite the same as I am being driven there and donating the fee but, as ever, I vow that I won't do it again.  When my good friend asked me it seemed such a long way off,  so I agreed and this week I have been preparing.  Here are some of the preliminary sortings -

Unless you do it,  you have absolutely no idea what time and energy goes into the whole process and because we are operating in a female world, the remuneration is meagre.  Most of us accept it because we enjoy it and perhaps treat it as a lost leader to publicise something, maybe classes or a new book.

One of my friends, an experienced teacher of textiles, was once the only female on a  photography course, and found things different in  a male world.  She said how surprised she was that men do not hesitate for a moment when it comes to spending quite large amounts of money on their hobby, including paying the experts who advise them.

I don't think things are going to change anytime soon here in the textile world of the UK.  Financial restraints have always been an excuse but now it's crucial for people who run Guilds and their branches.  However I do think that those who sit in the audience should appreciate that, certainly in the case of textiles, it has probably taken the speaker the best part of three days to prepare and a great deal of confidence and  experience to be up there on the platform, hopefully making it look easy!

Sorry for the rant, normal service will be resumed after Wednesday! 


Sue said...

Totally agree with you Mary. When someone makes it look effortless know thought goes into what goes on behind the scene's
I wish you were still doing talks. I would book you in a flash.

Good luck with it. I will applaud from afar.

Susan Briscoe said...

You explained the process really well. A lot of prep goes into talks and the hour or so of the talk itself is only a tiny fraction of the time. Even when doing talks regularly and storing items together so they are easier to pack up, they still need sorting through each time. Add in the packing & driving time and speakers earn a lot less than the UK minimum wage.

Another point to add to your friend's experience of the male 'hobby' world v the (mainly) female one is that quite a lot of the membership of quilt groups have been out of the world of work for some time, and don't know what hourly rates and weekly wages are these days. Had to explain recently to someone (my mum!) that the workshop figure I'd just mentioned was my day rate and not my weekly ' wage'!

Lynda said...

I totally agree with your comments

Nicky said...

Thank you for the information about preparing a talk. It was interesting and could/is easily taken for granted!

Frances Leate said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your comments about the time and effort put in by quilting professionals. Unfortunately, quilting is usually regarded as a craft with doesn't seem to rate as highly as Art, at least in my part of the World. Take care.

Sue said...

Mary I must read back my post's before posting. It should read ( no thought)my addled brain.

beth said...

Great post! As a recently retired teacher/lecturer I totally relate. While I miss meeting lots of great quilters, and have great memories, I don't miss the packing, prepping, driving, and especially, flying. Many thanks to the current crop of travelling quilt pros, may their efforts be well supported and appreciated.

Julia said...

So where exactly in Birmingham will you be? I'm a brummie and would love to come and hear you talk (so long as it's an evening do anyway)!



Little Welsh Quilts and other traditions said...

Hi Julia, Sorry about delay in replying - I didn't actually know where it was and had to enquire. It is in Droitwich (not Birmingham) Community Centre at 7.30 this evening. The Saltway Quilters welcomes visitors!

Kathi said...

I'm not sure that it's a male/female thing as much as that quilting is considered more of a pasttime than a true skill to cultivate. Like gardening- anyone can dabble at it, and the audience just needs a speaker. A speaker is needed each month, and the budget only stretches so far.
All in all, it's a tough field to make a living in. I don't blame you for retiring!

Anonymous said...

I can appreciate the energy to this "process". My energy left about a decade ago so now I just plot along. I do hope there were a couple of newbies in the group that heard you and were WOWWED to press on and do more patchwork and serving the patchwork community. At any rate those who heard you KNOW that they heard something special as you are special.