Wednesday, September 14, 2005

EGA and The Edjumication Thing

Although there is often tedious detail in Needle Art's articles, many more stories seem to offer little or no context. For example, the education section of the September issue introduces “Fiber Forum Jurying.” There is no explanation of what Fiber Forum is! (Is it like asking how much a yacht costs? If you don't know what Fiber Forum is, it's not for you!) What I can tell you is for $10 you can become a “friend” of it. Ironically, one should submit photographs of, not actual, works to Fiber Forum, and one is strongly urged to use professional photography services. The photographs in the newsletter range from professional to some crap they pulled off the web. (Wake up call: you need higher resolution photos for paper than for the web.) If your own members don’t know what your programs are, how on earth do you expect them to expand, or to bring reflected glory onto the organization? It’s this sort of thing that makes people feel alienated from EGA. Note: you can find an online description.

The education section also features a profile of a recent graduate of their master certification program. But there is no description of the masters program. (There is in the previous issue.) What they need for some of these articles is that throw-away paragraph—a line or two really—that all marketing writers recognize from press releases. It always comes at the end, and it’s a context provider. Something like:
The EGA offers its members many exciting educational opportunities. One program designed to encourage personal study is the Master Craftsman Program. The program can be pursued in beading, canvas embroidery, crewel embroidery, color for needlework, counted thread embroidery, design, plain and fancy needlework, quilting, silk and metal thread embroidery, smocking, and surface embroidery (and not as it reads in the previous issue "silk and metal thread embroidery, and smocking and surface embroidery"—and you ask why we should use serial commas.) Participants submit their work, which follows established guidelines, to be judged. The judges’ critiques provide insight and individualized comments to help the needleworker develop and improve.

That way, one doesn’t have to rely on having read previous issues to understand what’s going on. Just because you, who’ve been involved with EGA since birth, know what’s going on doesn’t mean the rest of us are mind readers. I mean, Fiber Forum, WTF?

Funnily enough, the name of the program “New Kid on the Block” (which was probably a lot funnier in the 80s) had to be changed because people thought it was for teaching children how to stitch. It’s not. It’s now called “Technique Basics” which is only moderately more clear. If that doesn’t prove that the EGA muckity-mucks are disappearing up their own bums, I don’t know what does.

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