Friday started bright and early at 8:30 AM. Not sure we were all ready for the bright part! SAQA president, Kris Sazaki, got our attention and enthusiasm level to a high point in no time, though. Our first speaker was Namita Gupta Wiggers. Quilt: A rose by any other name does not smell as sweet had us all thinking about the quilt as a deeper form of art than just a lovely piece hanging on a wall.
I attended two break-out sessions that day as well. Carolyn Higgins talked about mastering social media as an effective tool for marketing your work. I can check some of her suggestions off the list but it looks like I should bite the bullet and have an actual web site, in addition to this blog. Ugh! Sometimes we forget that as artists the marketing part can take as much time as the making of the art. I did love her comment that Pinterest is like potato chips for the eyes.
The second session was an excellent presentation by Sue Reno on how artists can develop and maintain a daily artistic practice. Besides her own suggestions, she shared the remarks from 16 successfully practicing art quilters and what worked for them. Many of the ideas I already employ to get me into the studio and working but some were new things to try. It was very helpful to hear how some had many other responsibilities to juggle and still made time for studio work.
Rosalie Dace of South Africa led a panel of international students after lunch. They talked about what influenced their artistic style and how they, too, found balance between their creative lives and their studies and home life. The slides of their work were really enjoyable.
That evening was the Maker Space event in a banquet room of the Doubletree Hotel. There were 10 tables set up with someone at each demonstrating a technique of some sort. I was one of the demonstrators, doing small, simple landscapes using fusible web. This is me talking until my voice was hoarse. It must have been a success because the noise level in the room was very high!
Below is my friend Georgia French demonstrating needle-felting by machine. She said her machines were humming away all evening. It was a fast, and long, 3 hours.
The next morning we had an outstanding talk by artist Maria Shell who lives in a remote area of Alaska. Despite that, she has been prolifically showing in her own state well as across the country. She gave us many good tips to get into shows but the main three were: 1 - Do the work. Have at least 10 to 20 pieces ready to be entered before starting. 2 - Enter as many shows as you can that accept fiber art. Follow the entry directions to the letter. 3 - Don't be discouraged by rejection. She only gets accepted to about 40 percent of the shows she applies for. She does think Visions has a special rejection stamp with her name on it, though.
We also had a panel of local textile artists from the Oregon College of Art and Craft. The slides of their work were fascinating and the wide variety of artistic interpretations was delightful. It will be fun to follow their progress as they work through to graduation. The students are Molly Eno, Melina Bishop, Kaylin Francis and Tyler Peterson.
The afternoon was open to anyone who wanted to take a tour of a part of Portland. I took one car load to the Alberta Arts District in north Portland. We had a lovely lunch at a French-style bistro and then explored the shops and galleries up and down the street. Here is Sherrie enjoying a shady moment in the doorway of the Guardino Gallery. We loved having the sun out the whole weekend so out out-of-state visitors could really enjoy the natural beauty of Oregon. One group even took a trip up the Columbia River Gorge to Multnomah Falls.
We got back in time for a nap (yes!) and time to freshen up for the Wild About SAQA dinner and silent auction of small quilts. The dinner selections were delicious and then the fun began. Everyone had some time before and during dinner to bid on their favorite pieces. There were over 100 donations so it took some time to look and decide and then keep up on your bid sheets.
Here are two examples of the selections. Each one was originally 6" by 8" and then they were matted and put into plastic sleeves. The Mt. Hood rendition is mine which I made to look like the badges that the "Portland experts" wore all weekend. The second one is a lovely little piece made by Terry Grant.
Sunday ended with remarks by Beth Smith and Charlotte Bird on the inner workings of Quilt Visions and how to successfully enter the show. Unless you have actually mounted and curated a show, you have no idea how much work they can be.
We ended the conference with a panel of four local artists led by Jeannette Di Nicolis Meyer. They had actual pieces there to see along with slides of their work. They were Sidnee Snell, Jean Wells Keenan, Bonnie Bucknam and Sheila Finzer. Although I know all four women, it was still interesting to hear their stories of how they got to the level of achievement that they enjoy today. No one is resting on their laurels though and we can all hope to see more of their work in the future.
And, this is now, officially, the longest post I've ever written.