We’ve caught our breath, put the tents away and are tending to the final details of Fiber College 2015.
I thought this year was absolutely amazing and the wonderfully supportive comments we received reinforced our observations. The atmosphere was both electric and calm (how is this possible?). We had a wonderful blend of returnees and new students and vendors flavored with the wonderful people of the Somali Bantu Coalition of Lewiston. Did you notice how evening conversation has shifted over the years between “getting to know you” small talk to “give me details about your life” catching up. We’re not only becoming the community that we envisioned but we’re developing into the supportive, inclusive gathering that we always had as a primary goal of the College.
We grow because of your involvement. Comments you made last year created these changes in 2015: adding a sticker to the name tags of those who were attending for the first time, the Maker’s Market and Fiber Fiesta, the facilitated lunch table discussions, rolling admission classes and wonderful music.
A couple of weeks ago we sent a survey to the 260 students who participated in this year’s program. We asked a couple of mundane questions: Would you like a food plan? 74% said no, 16% said yes. What should we do with vendor hours? 40% said expand them, 6% said contract them and 36% said leave them alone.
Then we asked the questions with an open end and here are some of the responses we got, often echoed once or twice. There’s so much to share from the survey that I’ll address the first now and the rest in a posting or two later in the week.
What’s the #1 change you like us to make in 2016?
Classes: offer more half day classes earlier in the week, offering longer times to the more intense classes, more mixed media art, more detailed descriptions of the classes would help. Some didn’t seem of interest until we saw what they were doing. And more rolling classes would have been fun. we only did a couple but they were great. I would like to see classes available for the demographic that is missing: the 25-50 year olds. Expand the creative aspect of the Event. Offer less expensive classes.
Procedural: Better website and registration software, it was difficult to tell if registered correctly, would like to peruse the classes before starting registration. More communication with students: what to expect, how the grounds are laid out, more direct communication between students and teachers.
Food: More different kinds of food available, expanded food times, healthier food options
Community: Bring back the swap, or create a “giving tree”. I also very much missed the show and tell this year. I would not only bring that back but encourage people to bring something(s) they made during the year…it’s such a good forum to get feedback from. We often work in isolation all year, it is great to have a safe place to show things off or try things out . Add a bulletin board for people to share information.
Add an open place for people to work on charity projects with donated materials.Let people know ahead that this is going to be going on so they can bring materials to donate.
Evening Gatherings: Keep a tent area lite up until 11pm so if we wanted to do handwork at night we had good light or electricity to sew with. more activity at The Studio in the evenings, Evening knit sessions, Tea time one afternoon to rest and gather thoughts, Wine tasting on Thursday night.
whew..and in less than a month we’ll launch into FC 2016~ the 10 Year Celebration!