Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dye Workshop at QuiltCon (read all the way through or just check out the last piece)

I have to say I enjoyed the teacher Kim Messener in spite of the location and situation.  She has a book, of course, but she did not leave you hanging with information that could only come from the book.  She was very personable and easy to understand.  She interacted with each student in the class, pointing out fun designs or adding a suggestion to achieve something interesting in relation to what you already had started.  That gave credibility to your own work in the class, making you feel like you were on the right path.
Tracy folded squares
I can say she valued the work her students were doing.

My beef is certainly not with Kim.  It was with the idea that you could use such a venue for a class.  So I guess that is with the Programs Committee of QuiltCon proper.  I can understand that the committee members may not be totally familiar with the city, but when I was putting on a conference there were 3 of us who would go to the venue and walk every step we were going to ask our attendees walk. 

And if they did not, why did the Convention Center tell them not to put a workshop in this location?  Or that they would need to have security there for their participants.

Joyce folded triangles
What am I talking about? 

The Austin Convention Center is in the 200 range of 2nd Street.  The workshop was offsite in the 600 range of 9th Street.  So you are looking at a good hike of 10 blocks.  This was not indicated on the prospectus.   There were some people who had trouble walking that distance.  My knee was letting me know  it was aware the ups and downs of the street.  The walking was actually not a problem for me, however.  It was the multilevel work area we had.  The patio had a double height step up to the hanging area and then again to the tables on which we were working. 

The venue as a dive bar.  Yep.  Filthy.  Alcohol soaked, filthy graffiti laced, overflowing sewerage bathroom that you might expect to find in a dive bar.  The bathroom was not available until 2:00 in the afternoon of an all day workshop.

This guys work was fabulous
But that is not the worst part even.  To get there, you had to walk through TWO, not one but two homeless shelters.  When I walked through them, alone, coming from the convention center, I had to walk through a gauntlet of, "hey, lady, do you have a dollar for me?"  The sidewalks reeked of urine even though they were within feet of the Salvation Army Shelter or the center
in the church.  I guess it was better than last conference when the class was in the basement of that church in among the homeless!!

I don't know what to say.  I cannot imagine how this would have been considered
Here is my multifolded piece
safe to have 25 women walk alone to the venue.  At the very least we should have been asked to meet at the convention center and walk TOGETHER in a group to the venue.  

It was an experience I survived without incident.  But it was very uncomfortable to be in the middle of this part of town with no warning.  You cannot take guns or mace with you on a plane, so I am sure it was apparent that none of these women had any personal protection.  And in the defense of the show I did not hear of any incidents with anyone.  As far as I know there was just this one workshop offsite so a minimal number of maybe 75 were affected. 

However on the other side, I was physically able to walk the distance but not to run away or fight it I had to.  That made me feel uncomfortable with the situation because of my personal physical limitations.  I am sure anyone who is an expert in martial arts and 25 years old would not have felt the same same concerns.  But I can say with certainty that Frank would not have been comfortable walking through this area of town. 

The most very best wonderful part of the workshop was this poor girl who unfolded her clamped fabric to find these wonderful body parts!

She was mortified!


  1. I hope you let those in charge know. There has to be many other options. I hope your learning was worth the cost and I don't mean just the money.

  2. Did they offer evaluation forms? If not, they should. My DIL is incoming president for an organization that hosts conferences - they, too, walk every step of every site before they sign any paperwork.

  3. Yes - definitely let those in charge know about this abysmal location. As far as you know, no one got hurt but there was definitely a high probablity that something bad could have happened. It looks like it was a fun class (I'd have been mortified too if my fabric came out like hers - poor thing) but if there isn't the proper place to have a class like this, it shouldn't be offered. I've been in charge of two good sized quilt shows and we always checked, double checked and triple checked every detail. We wanted to put on the kind of show we would want to attend. Did anyone "in charge" ever stop by while this class was going on? Glad you got out alive!!

  4. I didn't take the class, but I walked that path to the dive bar to pick up Glen after and there were a lot of creepy people in that area. I had a heck of a time just finding the bar. There were no QuiltCon signs and the place was a DUMP! Those poor volunteers had to haul water back and forth to the outside patio in 5 gallon buckets for the class. What a mess! Since they are planning to go to Savannah for the next event be careful what you sign up for. Savannah is not a safe town for a person to walk alone.

  5. OMG!! Glen, you described our situation so well. If not for our very nice, talented, and helpful teacher, it would have been a big bummer. She made everything work out. You ready to dye some fabric? The night after class, I was dreaming of which fabrics in my stash that I could bleach and over dye, :D

  6. Oh dear! Poor planning for sure. And a dyeing workshop doesn't require rotary cutters so definitely no protecting! And oh dear...the unfortunate body parts piece. Giggle!

  7. I have been looking for the piece of fabric in the picture that you took of me. I know I over dyed after. Just curious if anyone ended up with an extra piece? I like the state of Texas in the back with the heart. LOL!

  8. The class and teacher sound like they were rewarding despite the horrible venue. No toilets until after 2? That is crazy. Glad you were able to get back safely.

    I enjoyed the laugh with the body parts!


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