HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!!! In light of the guild’s 5th birthday, we thought a walk down memory lane was very appropriate! As such, we were honored that our founding President & member, Michele Nichols, agreed to share with us the how the guild became to be.
“How the IEMQG was Born” by Michele Nichols (founding & current member)
Hello! I’d like to share with you the early history of the IEMQG on our 5th birthday.
Monthly during 2013 and 2014, I drove all the way into Los Angeles to attend LAMQG meetings. You may not know that the MQG was started in Los Angeles in 2009 by Alyssa Haight-Carlton and Latifah Saafir. They and the entire group were young, energetic, and at the leading edge of the modern quilt movement. It was easy to get caught up in their energy.
In 2013, I don’t remember the month, I traveled to the Coachella Valley Quilt Guild to help Latifah who was presenting an introduction to modern quilting. One of the first people I met was Candy. After that, I often saw her at the LAMQG meetings; a new friend exploring “modern” quilting. The idea of starting a group closer to my home in Rancho Cucamonga began to grow. I left flyers out at Road2CA in 2014, advertising “Friends of the MQG” with meetings at The Quilt Loft fabric store in Upland. That’s how I met those of you who have been a part of this body from the beginning (Gayle, Helen, Laura, Kim, Marsha, Mary, and Pat). Candy, Deb L, and others from the desert cities drove the 100 miles to attend meetings right from the start.
The Friends Group was a non-dues paying group interested in exploring “modern” quilt design, but was not officially affiliated with The MQG. I set up a website to advertise the group and we added many new members. We met on Monday evenings to accommodate people who worked during the day. No one knows this, but I chose Mondays because my kids spent those evenings with their dad and I knew I would always be available.
We organized group sewing challenges (Crayon), attended quilt shows together (local and QuiltCon), displayed our quilts to the public at a coffee shop (Klatch Coffee in Rancho Cucamonga) and a book store (in Claremont). Our first guest speaker was the effusive Sandra Johnson, whom we paid by collecting door fees. Of course, my favorite part was the Show and Tell during the meetings. I so enjoyed seeing everyone’s creations.
During the spring of 2016, I was approached by Laura Kong to join her and a group of her friends to establish an official MQG affiliate group. She had already found a meeting space at the newly opened Garcia Center for the Arts in San Bernardino. Several of us held a Meet and Greet in June to see if there was any interest. We had an amazing turnout of over 50 people. So Laura K, Gayle, Pat, Laura G and I went all-in and started the IEMQG.
Over the next two months, we submitted our application to The MQG, designed a logo, chose officers, wrote by-laws, opened a bank account, secured liability insurance, contacted the IRS and Franchise Tax Board, set up a website, and planned programs. Whew! So much work, but sooooo worth it. Sadly, we lost a few Board members in the subsequent months, including Laura K. Our first paid speaker was, appropriately, Latifah. Wow, it was painful to nearly empty our bank account to write that large speaker fee check.
I moved to Portland in 2017 and sadly had to say goodbye. Words cannot express how happy I am that Gayle and Laura have continued to grow the IEMQG through their superb leadership. They and everyone on the Board are talented, creative, organized, and tireless.
I named this post “How the IEMQG was Born” because it truly is a living thing. Gestated over months, even years, growing members and knowledge, exploring color and form, showcasing talent, and building friendships.