Wednesday, December 31, 2014

PFAG Expresses Appreciation for Michaela McIntosh

Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild 
Ten Years & Growing!

This year, with very little to-do, Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild, reached its 10th anniversary. At our year-end holiday pot-luck, we gathered at Michaela's house and celebrated that birthday -- and to her surprise, we also took a bit of time to express our appreciation to Michaela -- for her efforts to found the Guild and for the way she has supported and served the organization and nurtured all of us for these ten years.
Happy 10th Anniversary to Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild. And Thank You, Michaela!
There was a group of people who were instrumental in the founding and the establishment of the Guild, but they did not start to organize or meet together before Michaela moved to town, and all of them have now moved away or moved on.  Michaela has been "the one" from the beginning with the vision and the unflagging faith in us.

Many know her well, for for those who don't yet, Michaela had a full accomplished life before she ever moved to Charleston. Her former husband was a doctor, so there were the medical school years and the residency years. She raised 3 children. She taught school. She had long been a knitter. She became interested in weaving and joined Weaving Guilds wherever she lived, significantly in Oregon. She took workshops from weaving experts and attended conferences and became a very accomplished, adventurous weaver – always eager to try new projects that would help her learn more, and better understand the finer nuances, whether in regards to pattern, texture, color play, or fiber.

She told me once that she was quite happy in Oregon, but after September 11, 2001, she asked herself what she was doing on the West Coast when all of her children were East – and she moved to Charleston.
Michaela at her loom in her upstairs room in Charleston. The license plates above the window are from Oregon and North Carolina.
Finding no fiber guild here, she joined and actively participated in the Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild. She tapped resources available through the national Handweavers Guild of America to connect with South Carolina weavers – but they were mostly in the Upstate or Midlands. She was left to her own to find fellow fiber-philes close to home.

Fortunately, Michaela started working as the demonstration weaver at Middleton Plantation and this put her in an ideal position to meet others interested in the  "old-timey" fiber arts and crafts. As Michaela came into contact with people who either knew how to weave (or spin, dye, knit, quilt, etc. etc.) or wanted to -- her interest in their projects often led them to be interested in her fondest dream - a local fiber guild. Eventually a group of started meeting and took the first steps to organizing Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild.

Michaela at the dye-pot at Middleton Plantation's Sheep and Wool Festival 2009 or 2010.
At Middleton, Michaela dressed in costume and warped and worked a loom with historical faithfulness to the 16th century. She helped the plantation host sheep festivals, sheep to shawl demonstration days, and natural dye-pot demonstrations. She was able to experiment with growing indigo and other dye producing plants and dying wool spun from sheep raised at Middleton Plantation. Her skills grew, as did her sphere of contacts and influence. And the visibility of the fledgling guild grew as well.

Ultimately the founding group filed Articles of Incorporation with the South Carolina Secretary of State's office in March of 2004.

Most of us can relate a story about how Michaela invited us to a meeting, or welcomed us, or taught a workshop or a class, or helped us warp a loom until we could do it ourselves, or loaned us some equipment (like a loom) until we could afford to buy our own, or otherwise encouraged us in some important way.
Beth Parrott is our active member who has been in the Guild the longest. She got to know Michaela through a West Ashley knitting group and was one of the early Guild members – since 2004 or 2005, she thinks. Beth remembers a trip with Michaela to the Asheville area to attend a meeting of the Western NC Guild.

When asked  how she has experienced and remembers Michaela’s role in founding our Guild and nurturing it through the years, Beth mentioned a long list of Michaela’s efforts and contributions:
  • She held the group together by serving as President multiple times
  • Always made sure there was an interesting program
  • Recruited members, and encouraged sharing knowledge and skills
  • Taught weaving, and housed looms at her house so they would be available for teaching
  • Continued to attend distant workshops, conference,s and events and brought back information/ideas to share with us
  • As HGA representative for SC, she connects weavers and fiber artists statewide with national resources available including learning opportunities, scholarships, the Certificate of Excellence process, and all important – connecting isolated fiber people with like-minded people close-by.
  • And she continues to hold out a vision of our Guild with a physical home.
Many people say they want to spend their time in a way that "makes a difference." Members of Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild know Michaela has done this for us. Ten years. . . You would think she would be tired of us. . . . but when we thought about where to gather for our year-end holiday pot-luck, she didn't hesitate to invite us to her house. . . so she must not be completely exhausted with us yet.

Thank You Michaela!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Putting 2014 to Bed

Just a few notes to close out 2014.
Right after Thanksgiving, our traveling buddy, Linda L. sent us greetings from New York City. She's heading to Portugal next and plans to be back with us in February.
It was a great year for us. Thanks to our officers, Nancy Warren, Peggy Pye, Barbara Vanselow, Kayleigh Osborne and Sandy Hutchinson. Nancy, Barbara, and Kayleigh will all be stepping down after serving in their roles for two years.

The incoming board elected at our holiday pot-luck in December is: Beth Parrott as President, Peggy Pye as 1st Vice President (Peggy takes care of publicity for us). Ashley Shifano will be 2nd Vice President - primarily responsible for programs, but everyone will help on this one. Maria Luisa Castillo de Gulick steps up as Secretary and Sandy will continue as Treasurer.

Before Christmas, Barbara Vanselow and Judy Warren delivered fleece blankets to Charleston Area Senior Center and Carolina Youth Development's Charleston Emergency Shelter.

As always, our holiday pot-luck was a lot of fun this year. Just a few pictures for you to enjoy. Thanks to all who took pictures!
Fun times. More to come in 2015!