Sunday, May 29, 2011

Looking Back on the SAQA Conference

Just a week ago I was in Denver, getting ready to check out of my hotel and meet some friends. The SAQA Visioning Conference had finished the night before and I had just had a pleasant breakfast with fellow SAQA Vision member, Jean Judd, and her husband. Jean was only one of several wonderful friends that I met at the SAQA conference. Having breakfast with her helped prolong the warm feeling of spending time with new found friends who shared a common love of creating with fiber.

From registration on Thursday afternoon, the conference continued to reward those who attended with high quality workshops and presentations. Now, a week later, my memories are fading but I still appreciate the opportunities presented.

An opening highlight was the display of 268 member contributions to the SAQA traveling exhibit, This is a Quilt!, never again to be viewed as a group. The framed 8" square quilts will now travel in smaller groupings both in the U.S. and abroad.  Seeing all these wonderful art pieces on display as we registered reminded us of the artistry of our work. (Just saw that Bev Haring has attempted many more photos - check out her blog for more!)

After a night of getting to meet and visit with fellow attendees, our conference began in ernest on Saturday morning. We had an excellent panel presentation by three Colorado Artsis, Deidre Adams, Carol Watkins, and Charlotte Ziebarth. They described how they create their very different art works and then, on the prompting of the moderator, shared a typical day in their lives and how they approach studio time. Their responses to that question were as varied as their works and helped me visualize some options for framing my own day.

We were then all off for our first workshop. Mine was by Regina Benson. She shared with us her approach to marketing her works with an eye on her ultimate goal to have her works reviewed in a national art magazine. I found her thoughts on mailing lists, promotional cards, and approaching museums about shows, of value despite having a different personal vision for my work.

Lunch followed, with an opportunity to sit with fellow Vision Project members and listen to a talk by Luana Rubin of on 'Finding and Creating Your Vision'. We all then attended a second workshop of our choice. I participated in Valarie Poitier's workshop entitled 'Promote Your Work Without Apologizing.' Valarie is a skilled speaker and had some great suggestions for all of us.

We then had the opportunity to listen to a panel discussion on curating which definitely gave us all a sense of what is involved in curating exhibits. Then in the later afternoon there was an opportunity to tour some galleries and studios with local members of SAQA. I was lucky enough to wind up in Regina Benson's car. We began with a tour of the Dry Ice Factory where we were able to view both the studio of Carol Ann Waugh and her exhibit, Layered Textiles.

We then headed off towards Golden,  CO. Regina graciously first took our group to catch a glimpse of the peaks of the Rocky Mountains before visiting the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum where a wonderful exhibit was on display.  Here were two of my many favorites - it was hard to choose!
Winter's Silence by Laurie Hill Gibb
Native Faces by Lea McComas

We also visited the offices of Quilters' Newsletter where the SAQA exhibit, Sightlines, was on display. If you have the opportunity, please do get to see this stunning show.

Saturday was another full day. I did two technical workshops - one by photographer Gregory Case on how to take quality photos for juried competitions. It was detailed to say the least. Fortunately, Gregory offered extensive handouts for us!  In the afternoon, I attended a workshop on Adobe Photoshop Elements by Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki. I actually have the full Adobe Photoshop but was looking for tips on using it to promote my art. Deb and Kris are high energy and laid out a number of basic ideas for creating a promotional postcard.

There were also a number of talks throughout the day for the entire group to attend. Nany Bavor spoke about archiving our art work and Dr. Alice Zreviec spoke about the history of fiber in the art world. My favorite most definitely was a panel on the Rewards and Challenges of Working in 3D. Mary Beth Bellah, Carolyn Crump and Jill Rumoshosky Werner, along with moderator Susan Else, had us laughing till tears came at times while they recounted the challenges they face in getting their works accepted, shipped, and properly displayed in venues. All the time, their slides of their work gave us a new appreciation of the art of 3D quilting.

Then it seemed we were at our closing celebratory dinner and making plans to stay in touch and attend next year's conference in PA. Like many of my colleagues, I had never attended a SAQA event. Beyond a doubt, this experience has made me look forward to my next opportunity.

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