Rachel Biel, founder of the Textile and Fiber Arts List (TAFA) writes so beautifully about TAFA’s mission and evolution. I wish I could share her entire e-newsletter with you, including links to TAFA’s kindred sites. In this limited space, I’ll pass along this much. Rachel says,
I realized that I was a part of a tribe on the internet that needed a structured community. There are many organizations on the web that provide specific and needed services to the textile and fiber art community. But, I wanted something that was focused on the business end of things, that was international, that brought together historical and cultural textiles with contemporary and experimental works and that jumped in on the social media platforms that are out there. I didn’t find such a group, so I launched TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List in 2010 using a free blog platform to showcase our members.
By the end of that year, it was clear that we would need a “real” website that had a powerful search engine. In mid-2011 we held a fundraiser on IndieGoGo which raised $5,000 to build the site. It launched in January of this year…The site went way over budget, costing $10K instead of $5K. (I am making payments on it.)…We still have many features we would like to add to the site, but it is finally an amazing place, a tribe that we can be proud of! TAFA now has 470 members from 35 countries and each new profile that gets up on the site brings in new treasures. It’s a feast for the eyes and a huge accomplishment!
Now the goal is to have the site generate enough income to grow it, invest in paid marketing, pay me a salary (!!!), and hire an assistant. We depend on our sponsors for this and if you have a business which would appeal to an audience of smart, creative, well-traveled women over 40 years old (our niche market), consider becoming a sponsor! The sponsor ads flash on every page except for the home page and member profiles and you could even sponsor a favorite cause or organization of your choice.
As the annual season of giving approaches, I hope you’ll consider supporting Rachel’s commitment to developing this amazing organization by shopping with its member artists, becoming a sponsor, or donating funds to keep the enterprise going. As Rachel says,
I believe firmly that when we connect with the handmade tribe, we are helping to make the world a better place. Many of our TAFA members look at how their work can be sustainable. They might use recycled materials, raise sheep on small farms, use dyes that are not toxic, and make quality work that lasts a lifetime.
By Denise Felton