Volunteering for WARP can be hard work or light. Fun or serious. Big job or small. In a team or isolated. There are many opportunities requiring many skills and welcoming many personalities. What follows are notes from some of our current 23 volunteers – over and above the nine on the board – women whose words you can read to learn just what they think of volunteering for WARP, and why they heartily recommend it. (And you male members – come on!) This is longer than a “normal” blog, but it was all too good to cut. Enjoy.
Do what you love, use skills you have
“Volunteering is a win-win because WARP lets me do what I love! Photographing our annual meeting in Oaxaca in 2017 was right up my alley, as is serving on the scholarship committee. “
Volunteering as the moderator of our monthly panel presentations is fun for me, and I get to meet people from all over the world and coach them in how to tell their story so that its impact goes farther than it would otherwise go. This is a role that helps me exercise lots of the muscles I’ve built over many years in a variety of jobs, and that feels great. I’ve been a member of WARP for many years, and miss our annual meetings. This is such a special club of kindred spirits all trying to lift each other up and make the world a better place. WARP Rocks!!
Irene “Laughing Cloud” Schmoller
Now that I’m retired, I love the opportunity to use my graphic design knowledge for WARP’s Facebook and Instagram ads that announce WARP Presentations, the Annual Meeting, and the Grant Program.
Loving what WARP is all about
You meet the best people, in the group and through the work. It is meaningful to learn about world textiles via an organization with the mission of calling attention to the work.
Volunteering…well…this may be more about why I love the organization.
I have really loved the people I’ve met who share similar values and interests. The annual meetings have been great platforms to see other parts of our fiber country (and beyond) through local eyes – always the best way – and to reconnect with, by now, old friends. Then volunteering also gives me a bit of the insider’s view while strengthening those connections.
I had been a member of WARP for several years, doing little things like managing the annual meeting marketplace, working on the scholarship committee, supplying a slate of willing candidates, etc., when I was tapped on the shoulder to join the board. I had been on boards before, so it was not a difficult decision to make. What I did not expect was that joining the WARP board would surround me with such clear-thinking and passionate visionaries! Volunteering for WARP provides the opportunity to engage with people who are equally dedicated to the mission of WARP, willing to share their knowledge and experiences and willing to ensure that there is always a relentless forward motion for more growth and learning. It is a ride worth taking!
Why WARP? In my mind it stands for…Wonderful Amazing Rambunctious Peeps. My world of WARP is full of creative kindred spirits trying to build a better world through textiles…and you can be part of it. With your help WARP can make a difference. So, light the spark, do good, change the world…volunteer with us and be part of the solution. It’s all about the people – we’ll wrap you up in a big blanket of hopeful creativity.
I was a “lurking” WARP member for several years, reading newsletters, impressed by what others were up to, unsure where, how, or if I fit in. In 2018, I attended my first annual meeting in Decorah (lovely place), enjoyed myself, and felt sure I’d find a way to get involved … but didn’t. Years passed, Covid happened, and I Zoomed into WARP’s first virtual meeting. The diverse panels and engaging speakers were impressive indeed, but two specific things transformed me from lurker to volunteer: first, a panel of art teachers, describing what it was like to take their work online; second, the virtuoso work that went into organizing a multi-day affair like this on what was still, to many of us, a new platform. I’ll start with the art teachers. If you were in the audience, you’ll recall the ingenuity these women demonstrated as they delivered online lessons to students of all ages. What moved me though was the way their discussion evolved into a testimony to the importance of art and craft to the mental and emotional well-being of students stuck in lockdown with limited supplies and stressed families. I was taken by the message, its wider implications, and by the way the speakers reinforced each other’s experiences and offered support. The second thing that got me moving into volunteer mode was witnessing the quite amazing interpersonal, organizational, and technological skills of one Kelsey Wiskirchen. I wanted to work with this woman. I wrote to Judy Newland for an introduction, got one, and was asked to join the Panel Presentation Committee. I did. I’ve been a member of the committee since June 2021 and have helped develop three panels so far. It’s been great to shine a spotlight on topics that mean a lot to me, and make connections with the people involved in giving them life. I’ve appreciated getting to know the other committee members, nearly all long-time WARPers, and learning more from them about how WARP works. Finally, this experience has given me the conviction that WARP is an organization I believe in, and that I can contribute to.
The two main reasons that I’ve volunteered for WARP are 1) to support an amazing organization with a mission that I want to help facilitate, albeit in small ways, but when enough people contribute in small ways there’s a big impact; and 2) volunteering provides an opportunity to get to know other members a bit better. This seems especially important now that WARP’s membership has grown so much larger.
And maybe best of all, getting to know other WARP members
In 2016 a notice went out in the WARP Newsletter for a volunteer to succeed Candy Meacham writing the quarterly member profiles. When I saw it, I thought that was something that I could do and there was almost an immediate transfer of pertinent documents. I have found it to be a wonderful opportunity to get to know WARP members I had never met before and to learn new things about members I already knew. It’s also been a way to be exposed to the amazing array of projects that help make this a better world.
Mary Joan Ferrara-Marsland
I joined WARP in its first few years of conception and was able to get involved early on by joining the Board. I got to know the other Board Members really well and it made me feel much more a part of WARP, like I had a stake in it, helping to determine its direction and needs. I recently spent the day with one of those fellow Board Members who I had not seen in probably 20 years. We just picked up right where we left off as I so often do with other members. Over the years I have kept my membership but was not always involved due to life getting in the way. I still would meet up with other members at a textile museum, or the Santa Fe Folk Art Festival, Sheep and Wool, for a meal, or they would stay over at my house. We always have that connection. Once you get involved or attend a meeting you really become part of a tribe of people where our mutual love of textiles seems to bind us together for life. I am not kidding when I say that! In recent years I was on the board again as well as working on the grant and auction committees. It’s been so great and fulfilling and has allowed me to meet some newer members and be more in touch with this amazing group of people again.
My WARP is the interconnecting threads of its members volunteering to create worldwide projects, producing the fabric of a Real Peace.
Some of my best friends have been gleaned from working together on diverse projects for WARP.
One of the most precious moments in my WARP history was when Rocío Gutierrez and I sat stranded in the St. Louis airport (for an hour) where we spontaneously planned a full-blown blog she was going to write for the next 6 months while volunteering in San Rafael, Rabinal, Guatemala as a The Natural Dye Project’s Natural Dye Consultant. Later, after WARP meetings in San Francisco and Oaxaca, we traveled together exploring countrysides. I have been a guest in her family’s home in Mexico City. Threads with a heartstring.
Volunteering with WARP means working with one the most capable young women I know, Kelsey Wiskirchen. She was the WARP Scholarship recipient at my very first WARP Annual Meeting in 2010. I knew then that she would be a dynamic addition to WARP. I am now volunteering on a committee to update the WARP logo and byline. Kelsey, Linda Temple, and Elena Laswick connect from NC to Oklahoma to Arizona and on to Guatemala. The threads continue to be intertwined into this fabric closer to becoming a Real Peace.
Wild threads, unique connections, soul sisters–is why I LOVE volunteering with WARP!!!
I was able to join the WARP Grants Committee this year, and first, let me say it has been fun to meet and get to know the other four WARP members on the committee. We pretty much all live in different time zones/geographical locations and may not have had a chance to be together otherwise. All of them have knowledge and experience with WARP, and as newer member I was able to learn more about our organization and benefit from learning how the Grants Committee and WARP work. It really was a committee of cooperation and understanding as we worked on this important task.
Second, volunteering on the Grants Committee gave me an opportunity to learn about our membership and textile artists/practitioners/entrepreneurs in a singular way. I now know some of the challenges and victories of our applicants and I am a member with relationships made by working with the committee group and seeing a part of the applicants’ lives. These connections are what help us to understand each other and see others’ points of view. I feel this opportunity is important for anyone, and being a part of WARP and a committee member really can strengthen those human bonds.
Thanks again for the opportunity to be a part of it all.
I was first introduced to WARP in 2017 when a friend told me about the annual meeting in Oaxaca. I’m a passionate textile collector, have traveled widely pursuing this passion, and especially love Mexico, so I immediately joined WARP and attended the meeting. The presentations were fascinating and it was wonderful to meet other members who are passionate about weaving and artisan craft. I really felt I had found “my people.” In fact, I met two other WARP members – Nancy Feldman and Ellen Goldman – who have become two of my closest friends! I next attended the WARP meeting in Washington, D.C. where something amazing happened. I met Maren Beck, whose organization Above the Fray represents traditional hill tribe artisans from Laos and Vietnam. I showed her photos of a Laotian weaving I had bought years ago, hoping she might know something about its origins. She suspected it might have actually been woven by one of her artisans, which was confirmed the following summer at IFAM, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, when I had the opportunity to meet Souksakhone Khakhampanh (Souk) in person at Maren’s booth (see photo). How fortuitous that through WARP I discovered the origins of one of my most treasured weavings!
This year I decided to become more involved with WARP and volunteered to serve on the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Committee. Many artisans worldwide have suffered personal and business hardship during the pandemic, and it was immensely gratifying to help select the grantees who received these much-needed funds. I am so glad I discovered WARP and look forward to deepening my engagement with this group of like-minded people who are dedicated to preserving the textile arts and promoting their social, cultural, artistic, and economic importance.