While I know many of you and you me, I know that most of you are probably wondering who this person who, for 2013, will be your president. My name is Cari Clement and I live in Montpelier VT with my husband and two Maine Coon cats.
There's so much we're working on this year: the new website, increasing membership value, linking up with more chapters, putting together this year's By the Board pattern book, increasing our presence - and contests - on Facebook, and so much more. I also invite you to create your own page on crochet.org. You can link to your own website, your Etsy site, your Pinterest board and lots more. Hope to see your page up soon!
While you'll soon be able to "meet" all your board members from their upcoming profiles on crochet.org, I thought I'd give you a bit of my own background. I learned to knit at the age of 8 from my mom, an avid knitter, but I'm a self-taught crocheter, having picked it up while in college, thanks to all the inspiring crochet of the 60's. My degree (from UMass) is in Textiles, but from the Fashion and Marketing/business standpoint. Yes, I'm probably more of an entrepreneur than anything, as I've only worked for other companies for maybe 3 or 4 years after graduating from college until I sold my last business, Bond America, and joined Caron International as their Creative Director back in 2003. Late 2011 Caron was sold to Spinrite (Bernat, Patons) in Canada and I became the Editor of two new magazines: Knit 1-2-3 and, of course, Crochet 1-2-3. Some of my other experience includes owning a fabric/yarn store in the 70's, a freelance knit and crochet design business in the 80's and a yarn and knitting machine store in the 80's. When I'm not crocheting or knitting, I love spending time with my daughter, her husband and their two kids, who live just down the street. I'm also a gym rat every weekday morning, an avid beader (bead crochet, embroidery, kumihimo), gardener and traveler. In 2003 I founded Rwanda Knits, a non-profit that has helped women in Rwanda earn a living through knitting (and crochet). The 150+ women now have a knitting center and run a self-sustaining independent business.
My passion for crochet stems from the nature of the needleart itself: free - and fabulous. While, yes, there are rules and there are patterns and there are charts, there's just one hook and one stitch - and with them you can go wherever you want. It's the passion of crocheters and the talent of the amazing designers, most of them professional members of CGOA, who have really inspired me. (I even learned to do Tunisian entrelac, finally master Doris Chan's foundation stitches and, at a conference, learned to do Darla Fanton's reversible bead crochet.) The skill of the tech editors, without whom there would be no accurate patterns anywhere, is totally amazing. And the teachers, both professional and the rest of us who teach whoever is willing to learn, who keep skills growing. However, it's all of you, the CGOA family, who make all of us work as hard - and have as much fun - as we do. And it's you who we need to hear from: ideas, suggestions, criticisms, questions, expectations met and unmet - whatever's on your mind you'd like us all to hear - and act on.
As President, I hope to see the organization through some significant, positive changes this year which include a plan for bringing on many more members, increasing membership benefits to all members, building the crochet.org website, working to make conferences the best they can be, launching a scholarship program, supporting Susan and Jane while they make the Masters Program grow and develop, involving more CGOA chapters being spearheaded by Mary and Jack, helping contribute to Tammy's amazing social media projects, working with Marcy on making that website run like clockwork and working with Karen Knies, our Executive Director, to make CGOA the best it can be. Yes, it takes time - but we have the will - and the skill - to make it a reality.
And a thanks to the duo at Crochetville for making this tour possible!
- Cari Clement