The CGOA/TKGA conference for 2011 has come and gone. It was just wonderful. There were many people who returned from the previous conferences, and it was great being able to see familiar faces. Even better were the hugs from friends long absent! This was my third CGOA conference and I am positively hooked! (pun intended!) This venue in Greensboro was exceptionally lovely, and my experience was overwhelmingly positive. We came as women or men who crochet or knit, designers and dabblers alike, and were treated with respect and professionalism.
What a difference a year makes! Last year, I was just considering designing. I had no intention of doing any submissions. Attending the conference in 2010 was just for taking classes, improving skills and finding out more about becoming a designer. I met my wonderful CGOA mentor last year, and things took off. I showed some designs to a few people at the meet and greet, and three of them were published. That one made the cover of Crochet! Magazine still is a happy surprise.
It has been an exciting first year as a new designer. Returning to the conference in 2011 was a special joy. There is something about this group that is very different from other guilds and art groups I've joined in the past. People in the CGOA are friendly, warm, and encouraging. There is a camaraderie within this community that is very supportive and nurturing. I can't think of any organization I've ever belonged to, where I felt so close to the other members, in such a short time. I've had only the best, and most positive experiences with the CGOA.
I can't wait to try out the new techniques I learned in my classes at the conference. To me, the trip is all about the classes and improving my "vocabulary" as a crocheter and designer. There are always more classes to take than I can fit into the schedule. Another new designer told me that the trip is too big an expense for her to to come and "just socialize". She feels the main purpose for her, as a new designer, is to study and learn as much as possible while she is there. I agree with this wholeheartedly, for people who want to be professionals. Where else can you find high quality courses in one place, and for such a reasonable price? Where else can a new designer be treated with so much respect?
That being said, I can't negate the social aspect of the CGOA conferences. It is all part of the package. Some people enjoy balancing the social opportunity with the learning opportunity. Many people take only a few courses so they have as much time as possible to visit with other crocheters or knitters. As a forum moderator and CGOA chapter president, the social aspect of the conference is important to me as well. My chapter is not a "Brick and Mortar" chapter, so the conference is our chance to see each other. We always have much to share.
When I attended my first CGOA conference in 2009, I had no agenda, no expectations. I went with an open mind and was eager to learn something new. Now, I am excited about the possibilities! The CGOA is the best "sisterhood" I could ever have joined!