What is your area?
You could start by asking around to see whether there is a state or
regional crafts guild that you can “piggyback” with. They may have
mailing lists or contacts that you could use to help you get
organized – or if there is a good guild like that in your area,
perhaps you can join that and form a subgroup focused on metalwork.
PA Guild of Craftsmen is the state guild, and Bucks County Guild of
Craftsmen is our local guild. Both have a significant number of
jewelry and metals folk, and are well-established and well organized
(although their web presences are very much “in the works.” The
state website is getting much
better…http://www.pennsylvaniacrafts.com/ It may give you some
If there is no crafts guild in your area at all, then look to some
of the well organized guilds for models of how you might organize and
communicate. Spread the word about your new guild through
newsletters, press releases (free!) in newspapers and metals-oriented
magazines, through regional suppliers to the trade, etc.
For meeting space, you can start by seeing whether your local
library has a meeting room for public use. Other areas that might be
good starts would be local schools (classrooms or otherwise), Masonic
temples/Moose lodges/etc. Or even (if it’s a rural area) someone’s
lighted, heated barn. Our county guild meets in the local Boy Scout
hall, for example.
It’s always a good idea to have a “regular” meeting space, and then
treat field trips as special events. That way, people know where
they can always go, and you have the flexibility of treating the
field trips as things worthy of press releases (more free
Expect attendance to grow slowly but steadily over time, and get
people involved in its growth – have them actually DO things (don’t
try to do it all yourself). That way, it doesn’t become “the Tracey
show,” but rather something that each of them feels committed to and
Consider planning a show with all guild members the first year –
even if it’s small and doesn’t make much money, it will give you all
something to work toward and add to the publicity, attracting new
members, and giving an incentive to those all-important Charter
Members to grow from.
Hope this helps a bit!