Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Textiles and Clothing

First Advisor

Mary Littrell


The purpose of this study was to explore inductively older women's involvement in textile handcraft guilds as a conduit for interactions among textiles and their producers, successful aging, and friendships. Thirty women, representing 15 textile handcraft guilds and 8 different textile crafts, were interviewed throughout the state of Iowa. All informants were actively engaged in craft production and a guild. Content analysis revealed two superordinate themes, Craft as "I" and Guild as "We." From these themes emerged a grounded theory of guild membership. Within the Craft as "I" theme three minor themes surfaced: (a) Process, (b) Product, and (c) Continuation. Process represented the act of craft production, while Product referred to the finished craft object and the expectation of that product to fulfill the specified goals of the informants. Continuation depicted both the goals of the informants, and the function of the craft product, in craft perpetuation. The Guild as "We" theme had two minor themes; For Self and For Self and Others. For Self referred to goals or benefits that were internalized by the women during guild interactions. For Self and Others represented the goals of the women to concurrently influence their own and other guild members' guild experiences;Through membership in the guilds women made an effort to consciously provide structure to their lives. The women were able to achieve identity and affective as well as cognitive experiences through craft participation and the resultant products. Guild membership provided the women additional benefits that could only be obtained in the presence of other guild members. The guild's structure promoted interaction among and between individuals in an egalitarian setting which fostered validation, the sharing of information, and friendships. The resultant social and craft support reinforced the women's craft production, thereby intensifying the affective components available to the women. As the women increased their levels of guild activity, they also increased the opportunities and benefits that were available to other guild members. Through textile handcrafts and guilds, the women were able to fulfill goals in their lives that promoted successful aging.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Sherryl A. Schofield-Tomschin



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

157 pages