CNCHnet . . . The Textile Arts Webzine of the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

Behind the Scenes CNCH 2012

CNCH has a legacy of successful conferences.  Part of the success is passing on information to the next conference by way of reports and word of mouth.  We are all volunteers.  It takes many people to put on a conference.  I felt like an orchestra leader relying on all the sections of the orchestra to do what they do best, to make a wonderful experience for those who attended.Two years ago as an Advisor for Area 3 of CNCH Inc.,I needed to find a chair for the next big conference.  No one was willing to step up but many offered to help fill major jobs.  I have had experience organizing smaller events and knew I was taking on a huge task but I took the position of chair with the promise of help.

There were three people instrumental in encouraging and helping me take on the task and they became my mentors and fact checkers.  They also had major jobs in the conference and performed them with expertise and thoroughness.

There is finding a facility that will work, figuring out a budget, getting various chairs on board with past reports, etc.   I had hoped to do much of our business by email but found we needed to meet in person ,so we met almost every month for the past year.  Face to face meetings gave a chance for ideas to be brought up, suggestions, etc.  Jim Widess let us use his “club” next door to The Caning Shop to meet.  It was an interesting space.  In the winter we froze, as the heater in the ceiling was about the size of a Volkswagon bug and sounded like one, so we didn’t use it as we couldn’t hear.  The space was free and convenient.

We found a new facility, Oakland City Center, and had to figure out the logistics and layout.  The Oakland Convention Center and Marriott were very good to work with.

The conference time arrived and many of us were there on Thursday for the vendor setup and receiving items for galleries.  Friday more volunteers arrived to set up galleries and supervise the judging.  Friday night was the fashion show and volunteers stayed up late hanging the fashions for everyone to see up close on Saturday and Sunday.

Classes were held on Saturday and Sunday.  The program committee worked tirelessly to contact teachers for proposals for classes, choose the teachers to fit into the schedule, assign rooms and make the arrangements for their stay.

Some volunteers worked tirelessly for close to two years and others did lesser jobs with a shorter time period.  It took every volunteer to do their jobs to make the entire conference come together.

The conference was a success due to all the parts adding up to a whole success.  We have had comments from vendors that we are the best organized regional conference they have attended.  It is the legacy of CNCH!  We are fortunate in northern California to have a solvent organization that has volunteers willing to give their time to produce both the alternate conference and the large conference such as CNCH 2012.  I can’t thank the volunteers of Area 3 enough for helping with the planning and implementation.

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