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President's Message

January 2023

Happy New Year! Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild is off and running for another year. With all the efforts that are putting into our guild, 2023 should be as successful and eventful as 2022. are beginning new positions at this time of year, as am I. It is inspiring to see how devoted our  are to making the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild as good as it can be.

As I was reviewing documents that came to me as the incoming guild president, I kept seeing the guild’s objectives listed again and again. The start of a new year seems like a good time to see them again:

  • To promote and preserve the art of quilting, patchwork, applique, and related fiber arts.
  • To sponsor workshops, lectures, displays, projects, and occasions for friends to meet for fellowship.
  • To engage in charitable efforts deemed advisable by the membership. How can it get any better than that?

January Quilt Weekend (online only)

Our speaker and teacher for January 20th, 21st and 22nd is Brenda Gael Smith, who resides in Australia. Saturday, January 21, 2023, Brenda Gael Smith, will present a lecture titled “Driven to Abstraction.”  can purchase tickets here for the lecture. Meeting time is 9:00 to 12:00 and includes announcements and show and tell, as well as our featured speaker.

Please note that a special feature of this Quilt Day meeting is the ‘launch’ of our new guild website during the business meeting. A detailed description is provided below.

GAAQG’s New Website

The guild’s website makeover is nearly complete! WordPress no longer supports the template we have been using since 2015, requiring a refresh. Mary Beth Donovan, Noreen Walker, and Heather Barthell have worked to streamline navigation, update the color palette, and make content easier to find. Pages created by other software like PMPro, Ecwid (online store), and EventON (calendar) will not be affected by the new theme.

January 16 is the scheduled transition date. We will post a page declaring a maintenance window is in effect and no one will be able to use the website until the transition is complete. If your membership is expiring around that time, please renew now to avoid any hurdles for the Quilt Day lecture or workshops, which are all by Zoom. No workshop registrations can be processed while the transition is taking place.

Check your expiration date by logging into the current guild site. From the Member Resources page go to the link to access your Your expiration date displays on your card.

On January 21, we will reveal the new website during the business portion of the Quilt Day agenda, along with a quick tour of the major changes. The webmasters want to hear your feedback! Feel free to email with any questions you want answered during the presentation. They also want to hear about your current user experience to be sure they keep what you like and address what you don’t like.

SafeHouse Quilts 

In 2022 guild created and donated 301 quilts for SafeHouse Center. During the July Quilt Show, SafeHouse sold a total of 15 donated quilts to raise $4,814. This also was an opportunity for SafeHouse staff to discuss their mission to in-person attendees. The online quilt sale in late 2022 generated $7,200 for SafeHouse from the sale of 23 donated guilts. The total 2022 guild contribution was $12,014 to SafeHouse Center. The guild is certainly achieving its third objective.

Many of our  have joined a small virtual group that meets on one Saturday each month. We Zoom our gathering from 9am to 12 noon. The next Sew-in will occur on January 28 and a Zoom invitation will be sent to guild  We will also be able to meet in person after our March meeting. This is a great way to interact with other guild 

We will have 70” x 90” battings available for SafeHouse quilts for  at our in-person meeting on March 18. To ensure we will have one for you, please email your request to

March Quilt Weekend (hybrid format)

March’s presenter will be Irene Roderick. Her Saturday lecture is “Dancing with the Wall.”

Irene is trained as a painter, and she has always been interested in pattern and color and how these elements can evoke emotional and political responses. When she began, she did not know what was going to happen but created through trial and error, literally dancing between the wall, the cutting mat, the sewing machine, and the iron. Through this act of making, she has learned to embrace the joy of creative intuition, spontaneous expression, and a blind trust in process.

Workshop sales are going well and we are now opening registration to non- for remaining spots. Irene’s March workshop, “Dancing with the Wall” is a 2- day program. Spending two days with Irene would be a terrific opportunity to learn her processes. Register now so you don’t miss out  Members should log in and go to the Members Only Workshop Registration page.

With this exciting March presenter, we will really be back to the ‘new normal,’ in-person meetings with Zoom access for five of our six 2023 Quilt Days. It will really feel good to see each other in person again.

Please see the end of this letter where I have included volunteer positions that might be just what you are looking for. Some of those positions will help us get back to our pre-pandemic meeting activities. Thanks for considering volunteering. It makes the guild what it is, but it also helps those who volunteer to feel more a part of something that is important to them.

July GAAQG Quilting Retreat


As many of you know, GAAQG is not planning to hold Quilt University in 2023. Instead, we are planning to hold a GAAQG Quilt Retreat this summer, starting on Friday, June 30 and going through Sunday afternoon, July 2. It will be held at Creative Passions Quilt Retreats in Chesaning, MI.

Participants will each have their own workstation, with an adjustable chair, a work light and outlets, and ironing stations and design walls available in the room. You will need to bring your own sewing machine and your own projects. Sleeping accommodations will be in a room with four twin beds and an attached bathroom, with towels and linens provided. The cost will be $165 for three days, or you can choose to arrive on Thursday night, June 29, for an extra $30. Breakfast is included, and there will be an option of having meals catered by the Riverfront Grill, a local restaurant.

More information to follow!

Be My Guest

Help us to grow our Guild! Members can use a “Be My Guest” form to give a “quilting loving” friend access to our next guild meeting, either in person or by Zoom. How do I get a form? When log on to the website, on the landing page scroll down to Quick Links and Resources and click on “Be My Guest Card for Quilt Guild Meeting Days.” Please note that the Be My Guest invitation can only be extended by active members.

Show & Tell

For our January online meeting, Show and tell for your own projects and Safe House quilts will be a slide show during the meeting. Please have photos of what you want to share to Liz Rodriguiz at by January 12, 2023. Liz will also post our Show and Tell photos on our website.

Volunteer Positions Available

Currently there are several positions that you might think about volunteering for.

  • GAAQG Historian – The historian is responsible for maintaining and updating historical files. She also maintains and stores paper files (1 box). Time commitment–1 hour a month plus attendance at monthly Zoom board meetings.
  • Safe House in Person Sew-in Volunteer – Organize in-person sew-ins once or twice a year to take place after the regular quilt day meetings.
  • Quilt Day Demo Liaison – Organize short demos to be presented before and after the in-person quilt day meeting. These can be repeats and/or focused on newer quilters as well as more advanced topics.
  • Vendor Liaison – Facilitate having a vendor present for sales of their merchandise before and after in-person quilt day meetings.

Please check out the GAAQG website for more information about many of the topics I have covered in this letter. Descriptions of all the 2023 workshops are available there. You can also use the website to join the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild if you are not currently a member.

As you can see, there is a lot going on!


Marge Venema

GAAQG President


December 2022

Looking back on 2022 …..

The Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild has reason to be proud of our work in 2022. We have successfully managed the transition from Zoom meetings and on-line workshops to our current Hybrid status where members can join us in person or online for Quilt Days. As usual, we will be on Zoom for our January meeting and workshops. Historically the weather has not allowed our normal activities for our January meeting, but we will be welcoming Brenda Gael Smith from Australia.

We provided six world class lecturers and ten workshops which continue to improve our artistic work.  Most of the workshops were sold out.
While our members show the highest standard in vision and workmanship, we heartily welcome new quilters and new sewers. Our members are supportive and non-judgmental. There are no Quilt Police in the building.
More than 1,300 people attended our July Quilt Show. This was a great chance to showcase our work live
and in-person.  

Our outreach activities in November at the Novi Sewing Expo gave us a chance to share our love of quilting with all of you and added 165 area quilters who asked to join our mailing list.

At our November 19 Quilt Day meeting, we unanimously elected our 2023 officers:
President – Marge Venema
Vice-President Memberships – Martha Williams
Vice-President Programs – Jane Clark
Co-Treasurers – Melissa Gregoire and Sarah Bush
Secretary – Maryann Hummer

At the November meeting, we also collected 48 quilts made and donated by our members to SafeHouse Center.  Those quilts, added to others collected earlier, brought our total donated in 2022 to 301 quilts.  SafeHouse Executive Director, Christine Watson, and Development Resource Director, Rhonda Parker, were present and expressed how important these quilts are to their clients.  Each person receives one of our quilts on their bed when they arrive and takes it home when they leave.  In addition, it was reported that we sold 15 quilts at our July Quilt Show and 19 quilts so far through our Online Quilt Sale, for a total revenue to SafeHouse Center of nearly $11,000.
January 2023 Workshops
Our January speaker is Brenda Gael Smith from Australia who will offer two three-hour workshops.  Both will be held at different times due to the time difference in Australia.  Because the duration of these workshops are 3 hours instead of the usual 6 hours, students will pay half price ($37.50).

The Friday workshop, “Strip-Ease” will be from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.
   This class will give you an effective, improvisational strip-piecing technique to create new “fabrics” layer by layer and explore design possibilities for incorporating these strip sets into your own compositions.  The workshop includes comprehensive after-class materials. See our Workshops – 2023 website page for more information.

Sunday, January 22 Workshop: “Line Dancing” – 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

 Brenda will teach versatile methods of piecing expressive fine lines.  You will undertake improvisational design exercises to create small compositions. The workshop includes comprehensive after-class materials.  For more information, see our website Workshops – 2023 pageThis workshop is currently sold out.  To add your name to the waitlist, contact 

Our January Quilt Day meeting and lecture will be at the usual time (Saturday, January 21) via Zoom at 9:00 a.m.  Your Zoom invitation will be sent to your email on Thursday, January 19.  Check out our website Workshops – 2023 page for upcoming speakers.
Additional Member Events
We continue to offer opportunities to join with other quilters through small groups and Sew-ins
Members can join us in an online sew-in each month for our SafeHouse Center mission. These Sew-Ins are a great time to ask questions, share ideas and make new friends. Our next one will be on New Year’s Eve, December 31, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Members will receive an invitation via email.

Visit our website to see a list of groups that are accepting new members. In a guild as large as ours, these Small Groups add opportunities for members to meet regularly, in person or via Zoom, to share ideas, gain inspiration, participate in challenges, and make new friends.  We encourage our members to either join an existing group or create one of your own. 

Farewell and thanks…
My Presidency ends on December 31, and I would like to thank all the volunteers of the Guild for their work, suggestions, time, and energy during the last two years. You have managed to excel during difficult and uncertain times. We were never quite sure if we would be able to return to WCC this summer but, thanks to everyone, we successfully navigated the issues. It is difficult to honor all the “Back Stage” workers. We have Board openings, people who manage Zoom, keep track of members and classes, draw up schematics of the Atrium, run fabric and book sales, plan and manage the Quilt Show, including set-up and take-down, oversee SafeHouse quilts, and manage the day-to-day activities, such as our member and public communications, that keep our guild going. The list is so long!  There were 90 names in the drawing for the volunteer quilt, including its creators, Rick Ware and Glenna Schweitzer, which was won by Henya Rachmiel. I would love to be able to thank each of you personally for supporting our activities but please know you have my gratitude.
Lynne Bryant
President, GAAQG