GAAQG history: First Quilt University 1991
by Kathy Johnnson
Feb 27, 2017
The first of Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild’s biennial Quilt University events was held on August 9-11, 1991 at Eastern Michigan University’s Hoyt Conference Center. This project was an ambitious undertaking for a guild that was just four-years-old.
During my discussions with our guild’s founding members, many reminisced about the first Quilt University. To get more information, I went into our history records, and I spoke with Wanda Nash who was a member of the curriculum committee in 1991. Nash will co-chair Quilt University 2017 with Katie McGrath. The 2017 QU will be held on July 28, 29, 30, 2017 at the Morris Lawrence Building of Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor.
QU 1991 look back
Quilt University 1991 included classes from national and local teachers that were offered over a three day period, and featured lunch and dinner events. Independent study was also available for “Undisturbed work without family and phone!”
Registration was flexible to allow attendees to participate in the entire weekend or just their choice of classes or events. Dorm rooms at EMU were available for those that wanted to stay overnight with night owl activities scheduled. Nearly 200 quilters participated in some aspect of the event. Carol Riffe was the QU Chair. The goal was to provide a weekend of learning, laughing, and getting to know our fellow guild members.
The national teachers were:
- Doreen Speckman who taught quilt design with “Peaky and Spike”,
- Judy Warren who taught a contemporary design class, and
- Pat Andretta who taught applique.
Our local guild teachers included Ida Copeland, Barb Kilbourn, and Sue Nickels along with others. One feedback evaluation of the event said, “It was nice to have the famous national teachers there, but it was really great to discover how excellent our local teachers are”.
Wanda Nash remembers the first QU as very successful and fun. The classes were full and participation was an adventure. The fashion show was one of the evening events Wanda reminisced about. Attendees wore coats, dresses, jackets, sweaters, skirts and vests. They were very well done with a few unusual ones in the mix. Sharon Aprill wore a grass skirt made of real grass. One model wore a spaghetti strap dress with real spaghetti.
Advent of computerized mailing
Computers were just beginning to be part of our homes in 1991; so moving from hand-addressed mailings and handmade newsletters to computerized mailing labels and flyers was a big change for the QU team. QU 1991 registrar Carole Spaly took on the task of learning to create a registration database on her new Apple IIC and dot matrix printer. Carol Rife noted that, “Carol Spaly earned her spot in quilter’s heaven.” for her work on registration that year.
Moldy pizza under the bed!
One of the many topics of discussion throughout the event were the dorm rooms. Gloria Hovan said that some of the dorm rooms were not clean — that attendees found pizza crusts under the bed among other things in the rooms. It was agreed after the event that the guild would suggest nearby hotels in the future for QU attendees and teachers staying overnight.
In the end, there were 100 feedback evaluations of the event submitted and everyone wanted to do it again. QU 1991 had been wonderful, and had fulfilled its purpose admirably. The guild agreed to start planning for QU 1993.
Don’t miss QU 2017
Quilt University 2017 will be held July 28, 29, 30 in the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College. We are staying in one building to allow easier interaction between classes. We will be announcing the teachers and classes during our March 18, 2017 Quilt Day. Please join us at QU 2017!
Book rooms now for QU 2017
Here are a few suggestions for where to stay during QU 2017 July 28, 29, 30, 2017. View a map with hotlinks at “Places to stay for QU 2017“.
University Inn formerly Lamp Post Inn on Stadium Blvd
Residence Inn North on Green Court
Microtel Inn & Suites on Plymouth Rd.
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