When you ask Elaine and Margaret, co-coordinators of the 2018 Annual workshops and education program, which sessions they’d like to take their reaction is swift. They exchange a glance, eyebrows raised — then break into broad grins.
“I’d like to take all of them,” says Margaret Mitchell of Ottawa Olde Forge Rug Hooking Branch. Co-lead Elaine Armstrong agrees. Both are “totally excited” about the range of sessions planned for the May event.
They’re pleased with the expanded timetable (full program coming soon on the ‘Event details’ page), covering both long and shorter workshops, the introduction of other presentations and the addition of instructors from outside OHCG to broaden the mix of topics and styles available. They hope an estimated 350 participants will be happy too.
“This is an event for the members,” Margaret emphasizes. “We’ve tried to organize workshops that would be of interest … and generate enthusiasm, and give the opportunity to try new things.” A key criterion was finding proposals that responded to survey and other feedback they received about what members wanted to learn. Another was finding workshops where the project could be completed – or nearly finished – within class time.
18 sessions, including:
- private viewing of Canadian Museum of History’s hooked rugs collection
- ‘cutter’ workshop to learn the ins and outs of cutter care, maintenance
- presentation on Cheticamp rug-making from Canadian Museum of History curator
- watery, fishy & nautical elements in some workshops to complement ‘Hooked on Waterways’ theme
Steep challenges, deep satisfaction
Challenges abound, including: having more selection and the right blend of instructors and presenters; arranging suitable session space and volunteer helpers; ensuring all registrants have equal access to registration; offering a program that breaks even.
Since hands-on workshops are generally limited to 12-15 participants, it can be tricky to accommodate high interest among registrants. Prioritized choices have been added to the registration process, to provide better access to popular selections.
It has been interesting, satisfying work, Elaine states. “We wanted to contribute in a meaningful way.”
While neither has attended many annuals, Margaret and Elaine have taken many classes and participated in similar events. They say the best workshops are those that involve stretching their skills, seeing things in new ways and savouring the shared creative experience. It’s about trying something you’re seriously interested in, and having the satisfaction of finishing it during the class — or soon after.
The instructors who have stepped up are dedicated souls who love to help fellow rug hookers expand their prowess and enjoyment, the coordinators note. The planning group initially received a handful of excellent proposals from OHCG teachers, and then equally appealing submissions from outside Ontario. The latter instructors are making a big commitment, since they must spend valuable personal time and their own funds to travel to Ottawa — and can’t sell beyond their workshop kits/supplies unless they’re also registered as vendors at the event.
The registration process opens with the publication of the OHCG Winter Newsletter in mid- to late December, and online at the OHCG website. I know I’ll be early off the mark to make those hard choices and get my registration in! How about you?
See you in the loop,
Marla, Content creator