Who We Are
The Textile Study Group of New York began in 1977 as a monthly gathering of six student fiber-artist friends who wanted to continue sharing news‚ resources, criticism, and inspiration. Today, TSGNY is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation with Bylaws that legalize its dedication to promoting a wider appreciation of fiber art and define its operating structure. The organization's affairs are managed by a nine-member Board of Directors elected by the membership. At the beginning of June 2013 TSGNY had 207 members. TSGNY's membership year begins September 1 and ends August 31 of the succeeding year. Members enroll at the Full, Donor, Student, or Newsletter Subscription membership level. TSGNY's emphasis on diversity is reflected in the textile-related activities of its members. The list includes artists' representatives, basket makers, artists' book makers, collectors, conservators, crocheters, curators, dealers, dyers, embroiderers, felters, historians, knitters, knotters, lace makers, paper makers, quilters, sculptors, spinners, students, surface designers, teachers, wearable artists, weavers, and writers. Most TSGNY members are artists. Some are students or beginning artists. Many are full-time professional artists and designers.
How We Grew
In 1977, six weavers who met while studying with Gayle Wimmer at the New School for Social Research in New York City decided to continue meeting regularly even though their classroom experience had ended. United by a mutual commitment to fiber as a medium for artistic expression, they shared resources, technical information, supportive criticism, inspiration, and the ambition to keep moving forward. The unique emphasis and dynamics of the group soon attracted the attention of others with similar fiber art interests and needs. Gradually, new participants expanded the weaving focus of the original six to include other textile-related pursuits. Monthly sessions evolved from group-generated critiques and activities to workshops and lectures by invited experts. When increasing numbers made hands-on programs impractical, meetings centered around speakers who shared their professional-level work and expertise with a membership that had multiplied to include individuals representing diverse fiber disciplines. The hand-written postcards that announced the date, time, and place of the next meeting—adequate when the mailing list was small—were replaced by photocopied newsletters. These printed newsletters were replaced by an enlarged, four-color newsletter distributed to members by e-mail in April 2006. At the beginning of the 2007−2008 program year, the e-newsletter became a bi-monthly with meeting reminders sent to the membership at the beginning of non-newsletter months. Until the late 1980's, meetings were held at members’ studios or apartments. When attendance stressed the capacity of these informal situations, meetings moved to a succession of rented locations: The Center for Tapestry Arts, Art in General, The Museum of African Art, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, the A.I.R. Gallery in Chelsea, and, in 2007, the Community Church of New York Unitarian Universalist. Around 1985, TSGNY began sponsoring periodic exhibitions featuring members' art work. In 1998, the American Craft Museum in New York City agreed to show a TSGNY exhibition entitled "9 x 9 x 3." The group planned to tour the exhibition to other venues after it closed. The responsibilities and liabilities of arranging such a national tour plus a steadily increasing membership pushed TSGNY into thinking seriously about formalizing its organizational status. Up to this time, TSGNY had grown and established an identity without ever electing a slate of officers or approving an operating code. In 1999, under the leadership of Nancy Koenigsberg, a founding member of TSGNY and the group's unofficial "leader" since it began, TSGNY started the process of incorporation. Bylaws defining the mission, structure, and administration of TSGNY were debated and drafted. After the "initiating" Board of Directors appointed by Nancy Koenigsberg had finalized the Bylaws, TSGNY filed to incorporate and became the Textile Study Group of New York, Inc. on August 23, 2000. The Bylaws were officially adopted by vote of the Full Members at a meeting on March 15, 2001. During the Fall of 2001, a ruling from the IRS allowed TSGNY to operate as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation registered at the office of the Attorney General of New York State. Today, the Textile Study Group of New York, Inc. is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors elected by vote of the Full Members. The Board of Directors selects TSGNY’s President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer from its members, manages the group’s affairs, and appoints committee chairs. The organization is staffed by volunteers and financed primarily by contributions from members. TSGNY continues to grow in numbers and recognition. The majority of TSGNY’s members live within traveling distance of the organization’s Manhattan base. The roster also includes an increasing number of Full Members and Newsletter Subscription Members who live in other parts of the USA and in other countries.