Quilts, Inc. informed its current faculty today that it will raise teacher pay rates by 33%, the first pay raise for teachers at International Quilt Festival (IQF) since at least 1998. A letter sent to teachers this morning from Judy Murrah, Vice President of Education and Administration at Quilts, Inc., stated:
And if, as they say, ‘All good things come in threes,’ all of you Quilt Festival faculty members have some good news coming your way. Effective with Fall Quilt Festival/Houston 2016, the following changes, which have been under consideration for some time, will be instituted:
· Basic teacher pay will increase by 33%. For a 3-hour class, teachers will receive $20 per student (up from $15) and for a 6-hour class, teachers will receive $40 per student (up from $30).
· For multiple day classes, teacher pay per student will double (to $80) or triple (to $120), depending on the number of days the class is taught.
· Additionally, the policy restricting faculty from teaching/lecturing within a 100 mile radius of the Festival venue for ten days before or after Festival will be eliminated. This policy pre-dated the advent of online classes and was intended to help each teacher fill classes without being diluted by the same class being offered nearby.
This news is especially gratifying to me. On November 24, 2015, I wrote an article for the Craft Industry Alliance Journal about this issue titled “Teacher Pay Rate at International Quilt Festival is Untenably Low.” For the piece I spoke with nearly a dozen veteran teachers who told me that despite teaching a full load of classes at this world-renown show they were barely able to break even and some even lost money.
They overwhelmingly agreed that they were in dire need of a raise in pay, yet every one of the women I spoke with requested to remain anonymous for fear of being blacklisted by Quilts, Inc. “Unfortunately, most of us in the quilt world know that if we speak out, that those amazing and strong Texas women have the power to greatly damage our careers,” one teacher said.
This morning I’ve been deluged with emails from the teachers I spoke with for the story, and from others. One said,
Looks like all your work has really helped to get us all that much needed increased teaching fee for the Houston show! Thank you very much for all your input and your bravery in speaking out. Really well done and much appreciated by me and all of the teachers I am sure.
IQF has increased teacher pay… hooray! It’s still not in line with what other venues pay but it’s a start. And none of us believed it would ever happen…So – Thank you SO much for giving a voice to many who have felt we couldn’t speak up. We greatly appreciate it!
Hey Abby, I wanted to give you a shout for making the impossible possible! Never thought I’d see they day IQF would budge on teaching rates. They’ve held on to this belief that they were so special they didn’t need to pay a decent wage for so long it seemed set in stone. Thanks so much for creating such a thoughtful intelligent platform for the art/crafting industry, that made change possible.
A huge thank you to my source who brought this issue to my attention in the first place, and to all of the women who bravely came forward to share their experiences with me despite their fears.
Our collective voice is powerful. Words are powerful. Change is possible. Hundreds of talented women in this industry will now get paid closer to what they deserve for the incredible work that they do. There is more to be done, but every step is significant.