Thursday, April 03, 2008

Op Ed: The ANG List Controversy and the Power of Design

I have followed with interest the posts about needlework classes on the ANG List in recent days.
In general the postings have reflected unrest with the classes at ANG's next seminar.
People have said maybe there aren't enough traditional classes, maybe not enough
beginner classes, maybe pay issues for teachers, maybe certification vs.non-certification, and a myriad of other such suggestions.

Then a post from Linda K. Reinmiller summed it all up:
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2008 09:53:48 -0700
Subject: ang-list: Seminar classes

"I think I'm getting a little confused with this discussion. It started
off talking about the seminar classes - right? That people are concerned
that there aren't enough beginner level classes or that the classes are
too artsy for most stitchers - am I still on track here?

I just looked at my seminar book and I saw only11 classes that weren't
set projects. And 2 of those were learning about teaching, 1 was judging,
and 2 were studio time. Out of 56 classes that is a pretty small number,
less than 20%. I saw several that seem to fall into the whimsy catagory
as defined by this list. It is true I didn't see any beginner classes or
classes that dealt with basics.

So I am a little confused as to what the issues are.

Can someone clarify them for me. Sorry for being dense. If there are
several issues being all muddled together can someone sort them out so I
can follow the discussion?"

Linda K Reinmiller

Here is my answer to Linda, not on the ANG list but in my classroom at Shining Needle Society:
"I think the unrest stems from another issue not addressed in the ANG postings: the
importance of design in needlework.

As a way of offering proof of the importance of design in needlework I suggest
the following: if people see a seminar brochure full of beautiful designs, designs
that capture imaginations and make hearts sing, people will sign up for the classes. People
will sign up regardless of class level or the selection of stitches and threads in the
project, regardless of the teacher's name recognition, level of certification, and so forth. Such is
the power of design.

With this in mind I propose we talk here about design in needlework.
Let's start with this: when you look at a needlework design, what draws you to
it? What makes you want to stitch it?"

I am sorry to say that the commentary on the ANG list disintegrated into issues with personalities rather than the topic of classes and that is why I didn't answer on the ANG list. Happily, in my classroom we have had no rancor and no negativity, only the development of a fruitful discussion on the power of design in needlework.

If you would like to come and join our discussion about needlework and design, please come to Shining Needle Society.
Kate Gaunt ( will issue you an invitation. Membership is free.

Gay Ann

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