Can we have a group on the IOLI Convention? I am planning to attend next year and have a ton of questions that need to be answered!

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I think this is a very good idea.  This could also be a great place for people to "hook up" as in find rides if not traveling by plane or hotel room buddies.

I think this would be worthwhile.

It would be nice if someone involved in the convention in Salt Lake City would like to answer specific questions. However, Simon, if you have general questions about what a convention is like, maybe I could take a stab at them.

There are a lot of different ways to experience a convention. In the past, I concentrated on my classes, doing homework long into the night, in order to get the most out of the class time. My rationale was that the teacher was often one who was otherwise unavailable to me.

Then, I realized that the lectures and presentations were very interesting, and that I should make it a point to attend the lectures, even at the expense of homework. One memorable event was a performance by a woman who dressed herself in Medieval garb, describing each item, another was a Good Will Fashion show, of lace clothing. In Minneapolis there was a presentation about Swedish lace, one about the Sybil Carter missions, and one about contemporary lace.

Later, I realized that many people are planning their convention visit long in advance, rather than just grabbing their bobbins and pillow at the last minute. These people are planning their special lace attire for the banquet, possibly even acquiring items with that as a justificaiton. (For instance the lace themed silk scarf I bought from the Baltimore Museum of Art for this year.) Also, some lace attire can be stockpiled for the welcoming cocktail party. Some people will be putting aside things to contribute to the raffle, while others are planning to take things for the dispaly area. These can be things that you have made, or alternatively, things of interest to the attendees such as antique lace. Other people will be making pieces to enter in the contest in the appropriate theme. The upcoming contest theme is Trails of Lace, details are in the Fall Bulletin that just arrived.

After a while, you find that you know a lot of people who are habitual attendees and you try to arrange to meet them for lunch or dinner, but find it hard to squeeze in such meetings because there are so many activiities, such as the ever popular Teacher's Showcase where you see what the teachers in other classes have to display about their class or upcoming classes.

There is a day, usually Wednesday, when trips are planned to places of local interest, or places of lace interest. Sometimes agreeable museums have put on a lace exhibit for the occasion or allow a visit to the collection.

The Annual General Meeting is an event which some people have a tendency to skip, on the theory that it might not be interesting. Nothing could be farther from the the truth, since this meeting which is the original purpose of the convention is one in which policy is discussed and new iniatives announced and one can become excited about the direction of the organization, and how it could better serve the members. One may even feel so strongly about certain needed iniatives that one may want to take a role in accomplishing by volunteering for a committee. The IOLI is an all volunteer organization, and without the co-operation of many people none of its services could be performed. Volunteering for a committee or other position is a great way to make friends.

The banquet usually occurs on the final night. The subject of the speech or the entertainment is traditionally a surprise, although personally, I would like to know what it is in advance since it might sway my decision about whether to attend the convention when it is an airline trip away, rather than a driving trip. One memorable one was a talk at the Texas convention by a man about his life in the cattle business, another was a play called "Ask for the Moon" about lacemakers. In Colorado there was a performer who did a theatrical presentation about the Legend of Baby Doe.

The conventions are a lot of fun!

We can use this DISCUSSION that you started as such a place.  What sort of questions do you have at present?

Devon, I love your response! Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. These are not things I would have thought to ask.

I want to know mundane financial things. When does registration open up? How much does it cost up front to reserve your spot and get the class you want? How soon do you need to reserve your room and how much of that cost do you need up front? When will we know more information about the classes that sre being offered, and yes I'm following the Beehive club. I would also like to share a car with someone.

I am committed to making this convention happen for me! Lacemaking is a huge part of my life and forms part of my livelihood.

Every convention differs a bit in price due to the location, arrangements with the hotel, etc. The local group which puts it on has a lot of input into these details and I don't know what the actual costs are for the upcoming convention. However, generally speaking, the details of the cost of the convention and the classes are published in the Winter Bulletin which should mail on Jan. 1. Usually all registrations postmarked before Feb. 1 are counted as having arrived at the same time in terms of preference. Those postmarked after Feb. 1 are filled after the ones that are postmarked before Feb. 1, as they come in. Sometimes a class will fill with just the registrations that come in before Feb. 1, so if there is a class that you really want, you should mail it in that time frame. In fact, right now, you might want to circle the final week of January in red on your calendar and surround it with exclamation points. I think that I have heard that about half the registrations are mailed before Feb. 1, so that if you mail your registration on Feb. 2 you will only have those classes that are available after half of the people who will attend the convention have registered. Preference is also given to IOLI members over non-members, so if one is not a member, one may want to take advantage of the opportunity to join by sending a membership check with the registration ($30).

Another issue with late registration is that at a certain point the convention committee looks at the classes and starts to cancel ones that may not reach a certain minimum number, say 8, that is required to make the class break even. So even if you want a class that is not too popular, by waiting too long you may cause it to be canceled and thus unavailable!

Last year, it was possible to get a full refund, minus $50 if you had to cancel and did it before May 15. After that there was no refund, but you could find a replacement to take your class. After July 1, there was an additional $50 cost for registration.

I usually make the hotel reservation at the time that I send in the registration, although you could probably make it even in advance of that date. Be sure to  mention the fact that you are to be part of the IOLI block of rooms. Sometimes if you omit that information you are told that there are no more rooms, since the reserved block represents a large number of the hotel's rooms. In my experience, you do not have to pay the hotel in advance, and it is much easier to cancel a hotel reservation than to make one at a late date, possibly after the block of rooms is no longer being held. Often one may stay at another hotel nearby, and sometimes there is even an overflow of people that have to be put in other hotels. This is a bit of a negative in my opinion, since it makes it more difficult to have spontaneous interactions in hotel public spaces and may create some logistical issues if, for instance you are taking two very equipment heavy classes and need to switch lace pillows at lunch time. The convention committee usually runs a room mate matching service for people who do not know of a room mate that they would like to share with. This brings the cost of the hotel room down. (Last year the hotel room cost $134/per night for 1-4 people in a double.)

From a financial standpoint, costs vary by year, but taking the information from the convention that was just held in St. Paul, Minnesota, which spanned 7 days, there was a registration fee of $180 which covered the opening reception (light eaters often make this their dinner), a lunch, the banquet, all special presentaions, a tote bag, name tag and convention pin. The tote bag will hold a booklet with the schedule, directory of the participants and vendors, as well as a variety of small gifts. The name tag is useful not only for identification, but to hold the reception, luncheon and banquet tickets as well as raffle tickets and a small version of the scedule. Again, from the Minnesota convention, the cost of the classes was $175 for a 12 hour class,, of which you will most likely take two, or $350 for a 24 hour class. For true diehards there may be additonal short classes such as a $25/3 hour class or a $50/6 hour class on Satruday or Wednesday. Thus you would probably pay $530 for a normal convention experience, but add on additional class fees, and trip fees (varied from $35-$70 for the Wednesday trip) and then you might want to participate in the Arachne lunch ($28) or the OIDFA lunch ($15) if you are a member of either of these groups. Also a T-shirt may be offered. Last year's cost $18. So, you would probably want to be prepared to write a check for at least $530 to enclose with your registration and mail no later than Feb. 1, to be on the safe side. The hotel bill will be paid when you leave the hotel. You will want to have some extra money to spend in the room with the vendors since this is the best shopping experience of the entire year for lace books and supplies. Many vendors do not take credit cards, and it is not uncommon for people to be racing out in search of an ATM, so bring cash and or checks.

Well, I think that is completely out of my price range! I will have to sit this one out. There are other things I think I would rather do. It is sad, but there are trade offs in life. I really appreciate you spelling out the costs for me. Now I know that I cannot go and can spend my money on dolls!

Last year there was an option to have a $20 mini registration fee for someone who was attending only a 3 or 6 hour course. But, since you are in Texas, I don't know that you would want to travel so far for a 3 or 6 hour course.

People economize by staying with relatives or friends in town. Some people are able to cut food costs dramatically with in room food consumption and preparation. Some people room with 3 other people to cut hotel costs.

But, in the end, a 7 day event is going to cost some money. The class fees are about $14/hr, which in the general scheme of learning fees is not high, but a twelve hour class in lace is a more satisfying class than a one hour class because it takes so long to get started and hit various places where new techniques are introduced. While some teachers are local, some are from Europe and their air fees are expensive. The organizers try very hard to keep fees as low as possible, and the hotels are not lavish. The pricing is based on a model of not intending to make a profit, and sometimes the conventions lose money.

Perhaps your best bet is to investigate local and regional events. For instance, one in my area is the annual Finger Lakes Guild Lace weekend. Since it is shorter, it is cheaper. I know that there is a regional event in Costa Mesa, California, that is to occur February 15-17, with an additional add-on of Feb. 18. I have never gone to this, but people tell me it is very enjoyable. Are you in touch with any local lace groups? My directory indicates there are 7 local groups in Texas. They may know of classes that would be closer to you.

How do I find t about classes offered by other clubs? Will it be published in the Bulletin? I am in Austin, where there is a lace club, and I may move to San Antonio, where there is also a lace club.

I do think the class fees at the convention are reasonable, I just thought it would be more affordable for me. Maybe 2014 is my year, lol. I'm only interested in Bucks point and I learn well from books. I like my lace, whether or not it's technically correct, and that's really all that matters.

Edit: I should say I'm also interested in Tonder lately and am in search of the elusive Big Heart of Denmark pattern! Seems like the library should have it, but I'll have to look more closely for it.

I hear ya Simon on the $$$.  The only reason I get to attend this year is because I'm local to it - no hotel cost and I'm hoping to car pool or take the train in. 

If questions pop up here and no one from Beehive answers I'll try.   I can find out if I don't actually know the info right then.  But I'm with Academy Square which is only helping out so I'm not in on the nuts and bolts.  Several people in my guild are also in Beehive so convention gets talked about every meeting. *thumbs up*

Dear Simon,

It is a good thing that you can learn from books. Members of the IOLI may  borrow books from the IOLI library which is a tremendous resource. Sometimes you can get a lace book from the public library or on inter-library loan. But, often one can learn a great deal more from teachers, including tricks and tips that are not in books because then those books would be really long.

Sometimes workshops are listed in the Bulletin. I notice that in my area the lace days, which include workshops, of both of my local groups are listed. However, not listed is the fact that there are weekly classes held in an adult school, and one class that is privately organized that is held in a church. Someone collects the money for the teacher and either this person or the teacher pays the church for the space. At one time there was also a class held at an Historical Society. So, my guess is that local classes that are recurring are probably not listed in the Bulletin. It is often a "word of mouth" type thing, which is why networking with your local group can be productive.

At one point I decided that I like multi day workshops with specialist type teachers and in an effort to be kept informed of these, I joined every local group that had such workshops within 200 miles of my home and read their newsletters. Some groups never have such workshops. It depends on whether there is someone willing to host the teacher in their home, whether there is a place to hold them that is cost free or close to cost free and whether there is a large enough number of people who are interested in attending them and sharing the cost that it is financially viable.

In my region, the Northeast region, at one time we had an email list started by the regional rep and occasionally groups would announce a class on it in hopes of filling it enough to hold it. But this list fell into disuse after the regional rep changed.

Those people who are members of the IOLI have the directory and the clubs are listed in that. Also, one may consult one's regional rep for information about activities in the region, although the regional rep will not know all the classes in every  area. If you go to www.internationaloldlacers.org undter the tab "Charter Chapters" and search the map for your area you will see the Charter Chapter lace clubs with contact information. Also listed is the reginoal representative with contact information.

Really the best thing to do is to get involved in your local group, or start one. Keep your ear to the ground. Go to lace days and draw people out. Offer to host teachers or classes, or perform other necessary funcitions. People who have an "in" with a communal room at work or at school are often the first to be consulted when a lace class is under discussion. People who are willing to undertake a lot of work are usually kept in the loop because every enterprise involves sharing a lot of work. Keep an eye out for free rooms in libraries, malls and condominium complexes and be prepared to volunteer this information. Take the names of others who want classes, and then approach historical societies and craft schools with the idea of holding one. When desperate, hire the church and teacher yourself. In the event that you find a teacher you really like, ask her where she is teaching and then contact the groups where she is teaching and ask to attend.

The IOLI is very much a conglomeration of small local groups of people who are interested in lace services. In the total absence of for profit enterprises offering lace classes or activities, these people work together co-operatively to make them occur, The plus side is that the classes and activities tend to be relatively reasonable in price since there is no profit involved and so much of the work is performed by volunteers. One downside is that there is not a lot of marketing being done, so the recipient of the services has to be extremely attentive in order to be aware of them. Often people are unaware of the entirely volunteer nature of these services and expect them to be run like a for profit enterprise. 

Those people who don't have the stamina to keep informed about lace activities have to do something more popular like Salsa dancing :-)

I would be ecstatically happy if our members would post these small local workshops and classes here in our EVENTS section.  It would be just one more way of putting the information out, and might draw 1 or 2 participants from outside the local guild.  This could help fill the class and pay the teacher's fee and room rental fee.

Devon, Do you have any idea if the Bucks Point class would be a 12- or 24-hour class? Maybe you know what to expect about that sort of thing. I think I want to try to make this convention happen for me.

And I should say that I have a weekly lace class that I go to, which is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with other lacers. My instructor doesn't specialize in Bucks Point, but she answers all the questions I have.

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