Roughly 40-45 fiber art enthusiasts came from all over Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts (including SAQA-MA/RI Rep Jeanne Marklin) to participate in an open SAQA meeting at the Windsor Art Center on Saturday February 12 .
It seems like the crowd increases at each regional meeting; you can’t help but be inspired by the diversity, enthusiasm and creativity of this group!
Everyone found a seat in the art center’s spacious main gallery, with walls covered by quilts from the “Identity in Fiber” exhibition. We began with a warm welcome from Marcia Hinckley of the Windsor Art Center, then CT Co-Rep Kate Themel took the lead as we moved onto routine business and a few reminders. SAQA Members Please Note: Entry Deadline for SAQA’s “Sense of Adventure” is February 28 and “SAQA Showcase” entry deadline is March 31, 2011.
We talked about the future of our CT Region and SAQA in general: What do members want from SAQA? An informal survey showed that about half the crowd is interested in exhibitions and finding venues to show their artwork. Roughly the same number of people would like to have more workshops and classes – especially those who might have a background in sewing garments or quilts, but are new to creating Fiber Art. Many people were interested in workshops focused on the “business side” of art (marketing, financial planning, insuring artwork, taxes for artists etc) and would like more hands-on instruction rather than finding information on line. We’ll try to incorporate these suggestions into future regional meetings.
We heard some great ideas to take back to SAQA’s planning committee as well. For example, Cathy Smith shared calendars featuring images of her quilts which can also be customized to include special events & dates; perhaps this is something SAQA might look into doing?
If you were not able to attend, please feel free to leave a comment about what you’d like to see and do at future regional meetings. As always, you can contact your SAQA-CT Reps, Kate Themel or Diane Wright, with any ideas & suggestions.
“Show & Tell” was a revelation of creativity and invention. Long-term members, first timers and visitors brought items ranging from meticulously pieced and beaded wall hangings to a 3D fiber art Mobius Strip, Sandi Schrader’s interactive therapy quilt, Ruth Anne Olson’s snow-dyed fabrics, Debbie Bein’s “Token Art Quilt” embellished with antique subway tokens, and so much more!
Artists also shared their ideas and projects using leftover fabric scraps, like Barb McKie’s coasters made from clothesline wrapped in fabric and coiled into circles and Diane Cadrain’s single seam garments. Since there were so many artists with work to show, we had to keep the comments brief. Yvette Howard did the world’s fastest demonstration on making fabric-covered books. We may need to have her back for a more in-depth demonstration.
Marcia Hinckley and the volunteers at Windsor Art Center were extremely friendly and helpful - moving tables and chairs and making all the arrangements for lunch. As we enjoyed sandwiches from The Beanery at Bart’s, people were able to chat and mingle, meet new friends and catch up with their old fiber art buddies. People loved flipping through the SAQA show catalogs and Portfolio books; some even skimmed the articles in the latest SAQA Journal.
More people arrived after lunch to catch the “Identity in Fiber” Gallery Talk. We were lucky to have 13 “Identity” artists there to talk about their piece in the show, including: Natalya Aikens, Deirdre Abbotts, Debbie Bento, Debbie Bein, Sally Brown, Carol Eaton, Gail Kotowski, Karen Loprete, Barbara McKie, Ruth Anne Olson, Kate Themel, Carol Vinick and Diane Wright. Artists answered questions about their work and talked about why they are drawn to fiber versus other artistic media.
Sally Brown’s presentation “Forever Sisters” was unfortunately cut short due to time constraints. We got to hear only part of the complex and emotional story behind Sally’s beautiful book. Hopefully we can reschedule her full presentation for another meeting or as a separate event through Windsor Art Center. Stay tuned for news on that; dates & times will be posted on this blog as soon as they are available.
You can see Sally’s quilted book in person, as part of the “Identity in Fiber” show at Windsor Art Center from now until March 5, 2011.
Thank you to everyone who came to Windsor on Saturday! WAC staff, Visitors and SAQA artists – you made it a wonderful experience. We’re looking forward to seeing many you at the next meeting!
Until then, be well and find time to do what you most enjoy,
~Your SAQA Reps, Kate Themel and Diane Wright
(Images from top: The group gathers at WAC main gallery; SAQA-MA/RI Rep Jeanne Marklin talks about her series on racism; Hiroko Fukawa shows off her amazing pieced design; Sally Brown’s quilted book “Forever Sisters”)