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

CNCH, Out of the Box, Into your World


A few years ago the CNCH Advisory Council (AdCon) instigated a conference survey to member guilds to which 76% replied. Having experienced a decline in conference attendance, the AdCon was looking for meaningful input so the conference committees could focus their programs on the current needs and wishes of members at large. You, the members, also provided feed back at successive conferences of what you liked and didn’t like, what worked and what needed be dropped. Perhaps most meaningful, your choices and selections of conference classes, workshops, and seminars spoke volumes. It was clear as well, that the population of members was aging with few younger new members.

As attendance continued decline, in January 2014, a subcommittee named “Out of the Box” (OotB) was formed within the AdCon to look at conference options. The committee considered many areas including the benefits to members, large workload taken on by the all-volunteer conference committees, travel, expense, venue availability, vendor concerns, the influence of the internet on learning and buying, and much more. They sought comments and suggestions from the AdCon at large, the CNCH staff, and members through their area advisors. They reviewed the above mentioned survey and considered comments from previous conferences. After reviewing comments and considerations, the OotB recommended that CNCH change to a biannual conference schedule. Their findings and initial recommendations were presented to the Adcon meeting on April 25, 2014 and to the Liaison meeting on April 26, 2014. Not surprisingly, the recommendation elicited quite a bit of commentary from the CNCH Liaisons and it was clear that we needed to go back to the “drawing board.”

Three of the AdCon members met in July to hammer out alternatives. They settled for three, briefly recapped below.

A: Continue even year large conferences and odd year alternative conferences as is the present system with capped conference attendance.

B: Drop the alternative year conferences retaining even year only (large) conferences. This would necessitate By Law changes and challenge the organizational continuity for the Adcon and the “corporate memory” needed to produce a conference.

C: Continue even year large conferences. On odd years, plan for a single day conference with keynote speaker, annual meeting (meeting the requirement in By-Laws), demonstration areas, guild booths, food vendors, sheep to shawl and more. The conference would be free to all CNCH members. Registration by CNCH members, while not required, would automatically enter the registrant in a drawing for one of five free registrations for the following year’s large conference (this would be in lieu of scholarships/grants which would save all conference committees considerable work). The public would be invited for a small ($5) entry fee to help defray costs. Guild members would be able to sell their products through their guild booths without giving a percentage to CNCH. Venue choices would include fairgrounds and the cost to present the one day conference would be borne by CNCH only and limited to $5,000 to $6,000. Each CNCH Area would continue to coordinate the one day and full conferences in their turn. Convergence scholarships/grants would not be affected.

The alternatives were presented to the AdCon meeting on August 2, 2014. Following discussion a motion was made, seconded, and passed to implement Alternative C as a trial in 2017 and in 2019. See the next page for a brief one day conference plan and possible venues.
Alternative C – large conference/alternate conference becomes a one day event
*Give back to the conference members
* CNCH bears full responsibility for the cost (approximately$5,000)
*Assigned Area guilds take this on in regular conference rotation.responsibilties: facility, speaker, permits, advertising, and public ticket sales
(This preserves continuity to the AdCon)
*free to CNCH members
* possible venues – fairgrounds ($2,000)
*speaker in the morning (($1,000)
*guild booths – possible guild sales and guild demonstrations (no fees)
* demonstration area
* sheep to shawl (each team could raffle the final shawl, keeping the $$)
*attendees register for a give away of 5 registrations for the following conference (this eliminates the scholarship format) ($1,500)
*advertising/postcards ($500)
*possible food truck concessions or a big picnic
* public entrance fee to help defray costs

Sample Venues:
Amador County Fairgrounds
Porterville Hall – 124′ x 50′ , seats 400, includes 25 tables and 150 chairs – $490
Spur Emporium (including kitchen use) – 50′ x 40′, seats 200, includes 25 tables and 150 chairs, – $600
RV and Camping and hotel close by

Nevada County Fairgrounds
Ponderosa Hall (including kitchen use) – 50′ x 60′, seats 200, includes 16 tables and 200 chairs – $650
Main Street Center – 68′ x 180′, seats 700, includes 30 tables and 300 chair -$1,800

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