"The purpose of the Smocking Arts Guild of America is to preserve and foster the art of smocking and related needlework for future generations through education, service, communication and quality workmanship."
That's how it all started . . . The first meeting of the Smocking Arts Guild of America (SAGA) was held on April 27, 1979, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Nine women interested in forming a guild for smocking and related handiwork attended the meeting. A constitution and by-laws were written, and the organization was duly registered in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The first seminar was held in Gatlinburg on October 5, 6, and 7, 1979. Eighty ladies, representing 18 states, were present. They held classes and elected their first slate of officers. Since then, conventions have been held yearly at various locations throughout the United States.
As SAGA grew, the need for membership representation became evident. In 1983, SAGA's Board of Directors recommended establishing regional representatives as part of the Board of Directors. SAGA members attending the 1983 Convention ratified the arrangement. Today there are five geographic-region representatives.
During SAGA's early expansion, a management company was hired, and in 1986 the headquarters was moved to Reston, Virginia. In 1989 the headquarters changed to Lansing, Michigan and later to Glenview, Illinois, where a new management company was located.
As the century turned, SAGA became a self-managed organization. The elected Board of Directors, all dedicated volunteers, now not only establishes policy but also directs operations. These hardworking officers and representatives, as well as the many supportive volunteers, have helped the Guild continue as a successful needlework organization.
In SAGA's early years it offered four to five issues of a newsletter each year. A magazine was begun in 1983 ‘Smocking Arts' but discontinued in 1988 because it was no longer financially sustaining. Later, in its place SAGA began publishing (and still publishes) SAGANews, a quarterly (with occasional special issues) geared to the specific interests of its membership.
Since its inception, SAGA has developed an Artisan Program through which members are encouraged to have their work evaluated. Since its inception the program has grown and now covers four areas, Smocking, Fine Hand Sewing, Fine Machine Sewing and Embroidery. Each year SAGA prepares two Trunk Shows that are available for chapter viewing. One contains garments and items made members and the other contains just Wee Care items, again made by SAGA members. Each Convention has a design show in which all members of SAGA are eligible to participate.
Presently the Guild also has over 25 quality programs (called SAGA Stitches) available for chapter use. The National organization also sponsors outstanding smocking and related needlework correspondence courses. These courses can all be taken individually and several can also be taken as group courses.
SAGA maintains an online web site, www.smocking.org though which the current and back issues of SAGANews are available through the ‘Members Only' section, as well as information on Wee Care, SAGA Stitches, Correspondence Courses, Artisan program and other related items.
Although the Guild is still formally known as the Smocking Arts Guild of America, its logo now sharpens its focus with the words The Association for Fine Needle Arts.
With an ever-growing membership of nearly 3,000, SAGA offers classes, guidance, and support to those interested in smocking, fine hand sewing, fine machine sewing, and/or fine embroidery techniques.
Today the Guild continues to maintain its original objectives, but they have been recast in words that read:
". . .to preserve and foster the art of smocking and related needlework for future generations through education, communication, and quality workmanship."
Board of Directors
Vice President of Membership
Vice President of Operations
Region I Rep
Region II Rep
Region III Rep
Region IV Rep
Business Member Liaison
Kids Can Stitch
Members at Large (MALs)
Social Media Administrator
WeeCare Trunk Show