At 12 to 36 Months: Get the Date!
Book me now. I only teach a dozen or so times a year and my openings go fast. I require a non-refundable deposit and a signed contract to hold a date. Please read the section on expenses, check my schedule, and then request a booking date.
I prefer to be contacted by email. Whenever you email me, PLEASE use your first and last name, put the name of the guild and the date we're discussing in the subject of your email. If you need to phone, call my office (810 733-8743) between 9 and 3 EST Monday through Friday to get a human. Otherwise, you can always leave a message. If it is an emergency, my contract has my home phone and cell phone numbers on it.
If you retire from "Programs" please email me with the name and contact information of your successor. Just as importantly, please pass along the contract and our correspondence to her or him.
At 3 to 6 Months: Make Workshop and Lecture Selections
Check my web page for any updates and current supply lists. Make your selections then tell me—BEFORE YOU MAKE THEM PUBLIC. That way I can prepare too, or let you know something has changed. I will add your selections to my teaching schedule and mention your guild in my newsletter which can help you fill your workshops.
One of the perks of being Program Chair is you get to pick the teachers. You picked me. (There must be a reason!) Share it with your guild! If you want my workshops to fill, you need to get the word out. Send a press release to your local paper, invite other guilds, tell the local quilt shops, but most importantly make sure your membership knows who I am, where I'm from, and what I do so that they can get as excited as you are. Send them to my website to see what others students who have taken my classes have done. Suggest they sign up for my free monthly newsletter.
When you distribute or post workshop descriptions and supply lists, take that information off my web page. Please remind students about copyright issues by including the following information with workshop registration information: “Students, please remember that all designs, handouts, patterns, and written instructions are protected by copyright. Individual instructors have varying policies as to how their intellectual property may be used after a workshop. You must ask the instructor BEFORE sharing the workshop materials in any format with others.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE send me a copy of the workshop descriptions the students receive and the supply lists you provide them (even if you took them from my web page) so I can make sure I'm giving them what they think they are getting. Mistakes can happen. Changes may have occurred. Knowing before I leave home is better than finding out the morning of the workshop.
Guilds that require members to pay for their workshops in advance usually have fewer empty seats, fewer no-shows, and less-stressed program chairs.
Some of my workshops require kits. I will collect money for the kits in class. Do tell students what is in the kit. Tell them how much it costs. It's listed with the workshop description.
If there is more than one guild "sharing" me, please coordinate presentations with each other. I will teach anything you want me to teach but I am not responsible for diluting the student base if you all pick the same workshop.
At 8 to 10 Weeks: Make Airline & Hotel Reservations
Email me and I will make airline reservations. I will try to get the best fare for a reasonable schedule. (You do not want me to get up at 4am, travel all day through a couple time zones, and present a lecture at 8pm.) I will contact you to OK the price before I purchase the tickets. You'll have 30 days to reimburse me.
At this time you should make hotel reservations for me, coordinating my accommodations with other guilds who might be sharing me. I require a private, non-smoking room in a hotel with access to my room from an interior corridor. If there is no elevator I need to be on the ground floor. I would rather stay in one central location, close to workshop/lecture sites, rather than be moved around, unless an "airport" hotel would be more convenient for you on the last night. You should probably visit the hotel and ask to see a room before I do to make sure you approve of the security, cleanliness, and quiet. If you don't want to sleep there, neither do I. Please confirm the housing arrangements you have made with me before I come.
You, or your guild, are responsible for paying for my lodging and exacting reimbursement from other guilds who might be sharing these costs. Please do not ask me to put these charges on my credit card and bill you. Or them.
One Month Before: Tell Me Everything!
I'll be putting my final itinerary together and will need to know the following:
The number of people you expect at the lecture.
Final counts for workshops so I can copy off handouts and ship kits.
Address for a responsible party to accept quilts and supplies shipped ahead.
Shipping budget for quilts (other stuff is shipped at my expense).
Name, cell plus home phone numbers of person picking me up at the airport. Please have them hold a piece of paper with my name on it as I tend to rush into the arms of anyone who looks like they might be a quilter. It gets embarrassing. My ride might know what I look like, but that doesn’t help me find them. Even if we’ve met before, trust me, I won’t remember. If it is too embarrassing to hold a sign, please have them dye their hair green. I will look for them by my baggage carousel. If they're going to be picking me up in a more creative place, let me know.
Is the car big enough? I travel with a lot of heavy luggage. I will need an able-bodied person to help to heave the 70-pound suitcases into the car unless you want to take me to the chiropractor on the way to the hotel. Clean out the trunk and put a towel on the back seat to protect it; something will probably have to go there. Persons picking me up in compact cars beware: one of us will have to ride strapped to the roof and it's not going to be me.
Who (first name, last name, and cell plus home phone number) is driving me to and from workshops/lectures? (They get to help me lift suitcases too, and there might be boxes as well.) If they can't see at night please don't ask them to drive me after dark.
Name, address, and phone number of the hotel, along with the name on the reservation and confirmation number. Now is a good time for YOU to confirm the hotel too—non-smoking room on the ground floor or any floor with an elevator. Visit the hotel in person and have them charge the room to your credit card, or plan to join me at the reservations counter when I check in.
Call and we'll talk to finalize any loose ends.
Just Before My Visit
I will email you to let you know when to expect quilts and supplies shipped ahead. Please do not open boxes shipped ahead unless they have been damaged en route, you have called me, and I have instructed you to open them. I will open the boxes when I need them.
During My Visit
Electronics—I will be bringing an LCD projector, laptop, and digital camcorder. I use them to show "slides" in my lectures and to demonstrate during my appliqué and feather drafting workshops. I will need you to provide a heavy duty (thick and orange) 3-prong (grounded) extension cord for lectures and some workshops that require video. Hopefully your venues will also have outlets that take 3-prong plugs. (An adapter defeats the purpose.) Your membership will appreciate the largest screen you can get your hands on. You will need to figure out how to darken the room.
Lecture Room Set-up: Please provide (in order of preference) a low table, audio visual cart, piano bench, or other table for my projector and laptop, and TWO standard 8-foot tables for sales IN THE ROOM IN WHICH I PRESENT, AT THE FRONT OF THE ROOM. I have samples out on the tables for people to play with, then if they would like to purchase something I retrieve a brand new one from behind the table. (I will use the area behind these tables as my mini stock room, so give me some room to turn around and an extra table if you have one or some chairs.)
Here's a recent set-up.
I would appreciate a helper at the sale table before and after the lecture to help me explain the system and to keep over-eager shoppers from fishing around in the "stock room."
In Case of Emergency: While I travel with an extra projector bulb and carry all lectures on a thumb-drive, a guild member’s laptop is a good emergency backup plan.
Introductions: You can lift anything you want from my bio or just say “Heeeeeeere’s AMI!” (DO make sure that I’ve made it out of the bathroom before you introduce me.) Please announce that videotaping or tape recording any of my presentations is forbidden. I don’t mind if people photograph me or my quilts (not slides of quilts), however it must be for their own, non-commercial, use. Photographs may NOT be posted to any type of website without my permission on a picture-by-picture basis. If you feel uncomfortable saying this, just before the lecture begins ask, “Ami, can we take photographs or video you?” I can take it from there. If you have a guild member whose vision is impaired and they use a device that might look like a camera, please tell me ahead of time.
Workshop Room Set-up For Appliqué Workshops: Giant horseshoe table arrangement with seating on OUTSIDE of horseshoe, or "lecture" style seating. I’ll need three standard 8-foot tables at the front of the room, one directly in front of the screen. (If a screen is not available a white wall, chunk of quilt batting, or ironed sheet affixed to the wall with tape may work.) Don’t forget the heavy duty extension cord. This is for the live video demonstrations. Can you get the room dark?
For all workshops: Whatever arrangement best accommodates students with machines, irons, and elbows. See supply lists. Same table set up as lecture for sale items.
Plan on 30 minutes for lunch, longer if we have to go off-site to eat. It would be ideal if someone would take orders in the morning and make a "lunch run" so that we have food at a specified time. Menus from local carry-out places are appreciated.
Name tags would be extremely helpful for workshop participants. First names only, large block letters that can be read from a discrete distance are preferred.
Timing: I like to get places early to set up without rushing. For lectures and the first workshop, that's usually 45 minutes ahead of the first body showing up. For subsequent workshops where I'm used to the lay of the land or I can leave things overnight at the venue, 20 or 30 minutes is fine. I DO like to get to the airport two hours before my flight even if it is a small airport, the hotel is at the end of the runway, and the gate agent is your brother.
Meals: I eat just about anything. I prefer restaurant meals where I can pick and choose what sounds good and not worry about offending my hostess or whoever cooked whatever I didn't take at the Pot Luck. I love to try ethnic or local foods. The only thing I don't like is curry, Miracle Whip, raw onions, and lunch meat—together or separately. I'd rather have water with my meal. I am a slow eater. I will take my suitcase of quilts and electronics into the restaurant with us as I do not leave them in parked cars. I enjoy eating with members of the guild or by myself. Whatever works for you. I'd prefer to eat early so that I can get back to my room for some down time. Knowing the agenda ahead of time is always appreciated.
Free Time: You don't need to entertain me. I'm perfectly happy to go back to my room and do some of the work I brought with me. But if you've got some strange local attraction, fantastic shopping, or somebody in class piques my interest with some off-the-wall office supply, well, I could be encouraged to go on a field trip. Let's play it by ear.
Before I Leave
I bring an invoice for teaching fees, shipping costs, etc. with me when I come. I will also email it to you before I come. Remind me to give it to you at whatever time is convenient so that I can get my check before I leave. Make the check payable to Mallery Press, Inc. As I am an employee of a corporation, it is not necessary to report fees paid to me on a 1099 form. I will provide a completed W-9 form for your records. Please contact your accountant if you need additional information.
If I have shipped quilts ahead I will provide you with a list of containers, what is inside, the shipping address, and the value you are to insure it for. Please ship it UPS as soon as possible. This may apply to kits or stock I have shipped ahead but did not sell. I will pay for the return shipping if you would be so kind as to ship it for me, I will reimburse you immediately.
PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS AT ANY TIME: AmiSimms@aol.com