As a textile artist, there comes a point in your career when you start thinking seriously about taking your textile art to the next level. At this point, one of the questions you need to answer for yourself is if you need to be a member of a professional textile art organization.
I was faced with this question too and I made the decision to join some professional art organizations. I’m a member of a general art organization (CWA) as well as a member of a textile art organization (SAQA). Membership in both organizations have been very beneficial to me.
Today, I’ll like to speak to my membership in a textile art organization. This membership comes with an abundance of benefits for any serious textile artist. I wouldn’t have known what I was missing if I were not a member of such a group.
So if you’re not a member of one of these groups, you also, may not know what you’re missing. If you’re a textile artist who is serious about your work and you want to know more about joining a textile art organization, here are 10 good reasons for you to consider.
Benefits of Joining a Professional Textile Art Organization
- Industry Trends and Standards:
I have learned so much about acceptable textile art industry standards just by being a member of a textile art organization. You not only get to know what the standards are but you see how you measure up, you aspire to get there and you grow in a positive direction.
- Professional Networking:
Your membership in such an organization will give you access to services which support your work. Some of these services include appraisers, technical people, fabric designers and photographers. What I find even more valuable, is the recommendations of other artists in the group about which of these services to use. You can’t beat customer testimonials!!
A professional textile art organization will provide you with opportunities to learn new techniques, ask questions, and get answers. You also get access to a large number of resources – publications, webinars, and conferences. A really good textile art organization will have more information than you can consume.
- Room for Both Established & Emerging Artists:
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing this for a long time, you’ll not feel out of place in one of these organizations. There are people just like you at whatever stage you find yourself right now. I joined when I was just starting out and you can too.
- Commitment to Advancing Your Professional Interests
The goal of a good textile art organization is to promote textile art and advocate on your behalf. If you’ve decided to become serious with your textile art, this goal aligns perfectly with yours and thus a good reason for you to join.
- Exposure for your work:
The first shows I entered my work in, were group shows from my art organizations. This is one of the benefits of your textile art organization membership. You get to show your work for others to admire and critique. All of which are good things for growth.
When you join one of these organizations, you get a certain level of respect for your affiliation. You are also seen as a professional, even if you don’t feel like one yet 🙂 .
As you can see, there are many professional benefits but what about personal benefits? Well, there are those too. Let’s take a look …
- Social Connections:
You don’t have to be a lonely artist. Textile art organizations have large communities of like-minded individuals (whether local, national, or international) to provide you with support, affirmation, confidence and a sense of belonging. My art group friends are part of my life. We meet regularly to connect with each other and share ideas.
- People Skills:
Creative people are in general introverts. Being in a group of your peers has a way of bringing you out of your shell. You’ll find yourself blooming in a way you won’t do on your own. Moreover, you get to sharpen your people skills and feel more comfortable around others. If you need convincing just look at me. 🙂
You’re very likely to find a mentor – someone who will take you under their wings and teach you the tricks of the trade, so to speak. Alternatively, you’ll find new purpose in mentoring others.
There are so many reasons to join a professional textile art organization. If you needed convincing, I hope I did. I’m a member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) and I can’t recommend it enough. Of course, there are many more textile art organizations available for you to consider.
If you’re at the point where you want to explore textile art further, chose one of these organizations and watch yourself bloom.
Questions: Are you a member of a professional textile art organization? What are your favorite membership benefits? If you’re not, are you considering membership in such an organization? Share your thoughts below.
I agree wholeheartedly with Clara’s reasons for joining a professional organization. Every SAQA meeting or gathering I attend gives me new energy and ideas. As a ‘newbie’ and introvert I have never felt put down or ignored, just warmly welcomed.
Maureen, thanks for adding your perspective to the topic.
Joan Schaller Bauer says
I just wasted $75. on becoming a member of Studio Art Design. Their new web site is barely working! When I did my registration, I was then unable to access any/all of the member benefits! I sent them an email about this and got a glib reply telling me their website has been updated and I will have to wait to access the various pages/ benefits for a new member! Wished I had known that before I plunked down my $ 75! To no avail!!! Their magazine that arrived in the mail the other day really offended both me and my husband; it was a rather pornographic image of a naked man! On the cover!!! I am so NOT into that kind of ” art”!!! I wish I had joined another fiber art group! I am very disappointed with SAD and will actually petition to get my registration revoked, especially on the grounds of the rather porno magazine cover image……….surprised the post office actually allowed it to be mailed! Be very wary of the textile art groups you join, until you are very sure of the quality and values of the organization! Lesson learned!!!
Clara Nartey says
Joan, I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience with this organization. My advice to everyone is that before you pay to join any organization, you should find out all you can about them. Use the points I made in this post as a checklist for making those initial inquiries. Make sure they will provide the benefits listed above.
Visit their website. Attend one of their meetings as a guest. Speak to current members of the organization. Do some background research to convince yourself you’ll derive most of the benefits listed in the post before you sign up.
A reputable organization will give you a free copy of their magazines just to let you get a feel of what they send out. When you’ve convinced yourself that they’re a good fit for you, based on your personal research, only then should you join.
Sita Dubeau says
You make lots of good suggestions here, Clara! Thanks!
Clara Nartey says
Sita, glad you found this useful.