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Told by Candace Tomlinson

Back in 1995, a group of women were wanting a quilt guild with certain criteria that they could not find in any of the existing guilds. The founding mothers developed By-laws and Standing Rules to guide the formation of the guild. They used their own money to fund all the initial expenses. In the spring, hoping there were others interested in forming a new guild, they planned a beautiful tea party to be held in a tiny room at the Prescott United Methodist Church on Gurley St. They all brought quilts to adorn the room. One was draped on the grand piano and festooned with flowers. Pretty teacups and treats awaited the hoped for guests. Everyone was nervous, as they had gone out on such a limb and didn’t even know if anyone would show up.

Imagine their delight when they were flooded with women attending and many wanted to join the new guild. The first official meeting was on August 14, 1995 at the Methodist church. Tren Conner and Bette Smith shared the duties of president that first year.

The fledgling guild was sponsored by the great folks at the San Diego Quilt Show, who also donated $500.00 to help defray some of the major start-up costs. They were contracted by founding mother Mary Ogle, who had been a member of their board.

And so began the humble history of Thumb Butte Quilters' Guild with
it's 40 Charter Members.

 

The original goals of TBQ were based on friendship, independence and the love of quilting and what quilts represent - the warmth and love of family, friends and community.

Friendship is encouraged by the warm welcome guests and new members receive from members of the guild and the Hospitality Committee. And of course, friends have fun together, so most of the activities at our meetings are simply for fun.

Show and Tell was begun to showcase the stunning array of talents and interests of our members, with the wonderful side effect of inspiring others members. It continues to do both very successfully. In the past, Block of the Month gave us a chance to try new styles and techniques without committing to a complete project.

If you’ve tried one of our challenges, you know they test our imaginations and get our creative juices flowing.

The Birthday Raffle, besides being fun (who doesn’t like getting a present?), makes money for the guild.

Trunk shows introduce us to the remarkable work done by other quilters and the yummy, sometimes decadent refreshments we have each month, round out the really fun parts of our meetings.

 

Our Past Presidents club was organized to show the guilds appreciation to the outgoing president by designing and creating a special quilt for her.

Our Friendship Groups are indispensable. A wide variety of interests are supported through these groups. Many have been active for more than 5 years. New groups start each year to bring our active total to 17. They can range from 5 to 15 members and meet from once a month to once a week. Many groups take on large projects but others let each member work independently and just get together for friendship and support.

Our biannual Quilt Camp has become a fun part of our guild. We spend 2 days together learning new projects, laughing and eating.

If you define friendship as the emotions or conduct of persons who know each other and like and trust each other, then TBQ has been successful in achieving the goal of friendship.

Independence was an essential ingredient in the formation of the new guild: independence of mind, independence of action, and financial independence.

The founding mothers had ideas for a vibrant guild, with talented, enthusiastic members who would work together toward common goals. They wanted the guild to be self supporting, not dependent on, or needing to answer to anyone but its members. To this end, the
By-Laws and Standing Rules
were written; committees were set up and fund raising activities begun.

The money generated by dues, birthday raffles, silent auctions, the Company Store, opportunity quilts, and later the quilt shows, remained entirely within the control of the guild. This has resulted in our ability to bring in several top quality, professional speakers and teachers every year, and to purchase necessary equipment, including our own pipe and drape for our Quilt Shows.

Our founding mothers wanted lots of workshops that were not meant to be income-producing. Rather, they would be self sustaining, fun and inexpensive. The members vowed to share their skills with one another, and not charge the guild if they taught a class. TBQ has grown into just such a guild as they envisioned nearly ten years ago. We should all be proud to have achieved the goal of independence.

Our founding mothers knew that the bedrocks of any quilt guild are the joy of the members derive from quilting and the love expressed in every stitch. Their challenge was to find ways for the members to share this joy and love with each other and the community. TBQ’s Mission Statement clearly sets the course to accomplish this. “To advance the art and appreciation of quilting through education”.

Throughout the eleven years of our existence, we have constantly sought activities that would open eyes, minds, and hearts to the artistry and allure of quilting.

The community has been enriched through charity quilts, placemats for Meals on Wheels, and our extensive involvement with Prescott Public Library, including quilt classes for kids, the annual library quilt exhibit, the Centennial Library Quilt and the funds we donate for the purchase of up-to-date quilting books. Our newest project, Quilt Share, bringing quilting stories and memories to folks who are unable to go out to the quilts.

Our members share their love of quilting with each other through working together to support the framework of the Guild, our officers and committees, and in friendship groups, workshops and Show & Tell. Quilts are made of different fabrics sewn together to make a more beautiful whole. Our members are the fabrics that make up the more beautiful whole that is the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild.

Our founding mothers were (and still are) artists and visionaries. They envisioned a truly unique guild, of a size that encouraged fellowship, and yet maintained enough diversity to expand the knowledge and skills of all its members.

Their guild would inspire those who joined to reach beyond the ordinary in their artistry, to achieve the extraordinary - to challenge themselves and each other to accomplish more than they could even imagine.

We are not the largest guild, nor are we the smallest. We’re not the oldest or the youngest. We are a guild that keeps to its mission of advancing the art and appreciate of quilting through education and having a heckuva lot of fun doing it.

Our pride in the guild shows clearly in everything we do, from library quilt and annual exhibits to biannual quilt shows. TBQ members are committed to guild and each other. Our founding mothers can be proud of their offspring.

Told by Carolyn Edwards