The Illinois Gourd Society was formed in July, 1998 by a small group of gourd artists and growers who wanted to promote this craft in Illinois.  The goals of this Society are directed towards the education and instruction of individuals within the state of Illinois who are interested in gourd culture, uses, history, and/or crafting. This Society continues to grow in numbers since its inception. The ILGS is a member of the American Gourd Society Sister states with gourd societies are Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, and Kentucky. There are 24 states with gourd chapters of the AGS. Check our links page page for their web pages and more information on gourd resources. 
President of ILGS Lynn Quinn
Vice-President open 
Secretary: Lynne Baldwin
Treasurer/Membership  Carol Lawrence
Newsletter Editor: Karen Caldwell
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    The President's Message -- July, 2014

    Hello ILGS Members.

    OK…dare I say it? Summer is here!!

    I hope you are all doing well and that you are able to enjoy the season wherever you are.

    I want to thank all of you who participated in the ILGS Survey. Twenty-six people responded and the results are attached to the current newsletter. You will see the 10 questions, the percentage of ratings for each response and the number of individuals responding, followed by comments that were shared. Note that all ratings and comments are anonymous, so you will see the same data that I can, as survey coordinator.

    There are no “right or wrong” answers in surveys, so I invite you to review results to see the different viewpoints people shared, and think about the views that resonate with you. Perhaps you see shared concerns about various topics like leadership, locations of shows, etc.

    I hope the survey results promote our creative thinking about the future of the ILGS, and how people might collaborate in small and/or large ways to further the cause of gourds within our state. Thanks to all of you who shared your voice in the survey!

    I’ve been talking about leadership roles for a while, and am happy to share the news that Carol Lawrence has stepped up to take over the Treasurer Role from Rhonda Adair when her term ends in September. Thanks to Rhonda for years of service and to Carol for carrying the torch forward!

    Other roles, including mine, VP, and Competition coordination are open so I invite people to consider opportunities to serve. In addition, there are situations where one or two ILGS members have played key roles supporting festivals throughout the state (Council Hills, Great Gourd Gathering in Arthur, etc.). Please consider how you can help the ILGS presence continue in these collaborative efforts. If you have good “regional proximity” to these festivals, you can play an important role as an ILGS ambassador and help perpetuate these events.

    As survey results show, there is interest in having shows in different locations and possibly in collaboration with nearby states. FYI, I am in conversations with people in Springfield, Illinois and also with the Wisconsin Gourd Society. Hopefully these lead to more options for us, which I’ll share in the next Prairie Gourd. Meanwhile, please ponder other options that you think could work, and share them directly with me so we can float more options to membership.

    Despite various options that may emerge for future shows, I have signed a contract for a 2015 ILGS show at Chicago Botanic Garden (dates 9/10-9/11 set up, and 9/12-9/13 show, which is a week earlier than usual). Also, note that this event does not necessarily have to be THE state festival, but I decided the contract was worth signing because: 1. A good number of vendors found CBG profitable 2. Our yearly CBG membership only costs $50.00 and that covers everything else societies often have to pay for, like room rental and insurance which can be very costly 3. I had to sign the contract now, or lose the date, because it’s such a busy place ! I’ll end with a cheer for the upcoming September 20-21 festival at CBG. There is a diverse array of classes to take. Interested vendors can find the vendor application on our ILGS website, as well as information about the ILGS discount hotel rate (same location and price as recent years).

    Last, PLEASE contact me directly if you can volunteer in any capacity for this show; I can beg and plead for help, and even bring in baked goods! Any assistance is appreciated from set-up to tear down (table skirts, clean up, etc.), manning a kids’ table (save materials for us too!), manning the welcome table to tell people about ILGS and AGS and sell various ILGS items, helping vendors unload and load, covering for vendors when they need to step away from their booths, etc. Plus, your company is welcome and will ensure we have a great time together.

    Enjoy the summer days ahead, and I hope to see many of you in September.

    Sincerely, Lynn Quinn

           Photos from past events . . . 
      tllinois Gourd Society Fall Festival at the Chicago Botanic Garden in September 2013
      tMidwestern Herb and Garden Show at Times Square Mall, in Mount Vernon in February 2013
      tIL NW Festival in Council Hills in April 2012
      tIL NW Regional Festival in Galena, May 2012
      tGreat Gourd Gathering in Arthur, June 2014
      tBonnie Adams Carving Flowers Class  in Peoria Hts, June 2012
      tBelleville Garden Club July 2012 
      tLebanon Art Festival in Lebanon, June 2011
    Want to learn more about gourds? Visit our Gourd Society links page