The Regional Coordinators (RCs) get together with the Committee annually to discuss any IFA regional issues, meet new RCs and generally have face to face communications to assist the running of the IFA. This year, the 2-day event was held in the National Forest, Derbyshire.
The schedule was pretty tightly packed but was broken up by hands-on workshops, preparing samples using instructions from Nicki Parsons, CiFT Coordinator. The education team (including Sheila Smith, Androulla Jefferies and Louise Curnin) had prepared a batch of sample fibres – 5 grams each – using up to twenty British wool breeds. We each received a pack with measuring guide and instructions. This activity will form part of the new Discovering Feltmaking programme soon to be rolled out by the team as a precursor to CiFT, and suitable for beginner level feltmakers.
It was good to see nearly every region represented and the Saturday meeting kicked off with a valuable and interesting introduction from each region on how they work with their members, run workshops etc. It was of particular help to the three new representatives there and gave a better understanding of the variations within the regions. Some are more active than others, with local and/or non-UK tutors while some have regular non-tutored meetings. The factors which seem to cause most issues are the cost of hiring halls, tutor costs and filling workshops. The RCs meeting continued with a full programme and many issues were raised.
After lunch, the Committee held their quarterly meeting while the RCs continued with their samples and networking. The committee presented their reports in advance, highlighted points were discussed and other issues were raised. The evening was a continuation of sampling, while one-to-one training was available from the vice-chair and communications officer on Mailchimp, the communication system now used by the IFA and RCs. Emphasis is placed on regular Newsletters to regional members and updating the website with regional events and workshops.
Sunday was used for brainstorming ideas on our vision for the IFA over the next ten years. It was good to hear so many enthusiastic dreams and aspirations.
Our President told us of the plans for the upcoming event in September to celebrate the life of Mary Burkett, our founding president, and the accompanying exhibition open to all members. Submission details are posted in Felt Matters and on the website.
The 2020 AGM is all set for 9th May at the Horniman Museum in London. The 2021 AGM will take place on 14th-17th April at Felletin, Central France, near Aubusson, the famous carpet-weaving centre. A request was made for suggested venues for future AGMs, both one day and conferences.
Finally, we expressed thanks to the individual members for their time and efforts in putting this weekend event together. The difficult part was then to find our way home through storm Ciara, which involved delayed flights and ferries, and difficult driving conditions.
Janine Rees | Coordinator Editorial Committee | Region 3