We had a fantastic meeting on Saturday, September 9, 2017, at the Mattatuck Museum, 144 West Main Street, Waterbury, CT. We had approximately 27 members and one guest in attendance.
We opened the meeting with a “thank you” to Roz Spann for coordinating our lunch. Note to all: if you see we are meeting somewhere in your neck of the woods, please speak up and lend a hand! We also welcomed our newest member to the region, Meredith Brooks.
We had another intro/reminder for our upcoming regional show, Local Color 3: Inspired by Science. There are two options to enter (you can even choose both!): the main show (juried) and the trunk show (all work accepted and will be for sale at a price of your choosing - recommendation from Cathy Smith is around $100-$150 bc it’s an “easy” amount for people to spend). Drop off is on December 2nd at Sew Inspired (this will NOT be a full meeting, only artwork drop-off...and maybe some shopping). Additionally, *trunk show pieces* can be shipped to Mary Lachman. We will need to know AT THE TIME OF DROP OFF, if you will need your main exhibition work professionally photographed (only available if it is accepted). There are already FOUR exhibition venues booked; the commitment for your pieces would be through the end of 2018. These details and more are located on the SAQA-CT website, under the tabs “Local Color: Inspired By Science” and “SAQA-CT Trunk Show”.
Christina then mentioned the SAQA-CT Facebook group. In order to access posts, you need to have a Facebook account, then be “invited” to be in the group. If you have a different email address attached to your Facebook account than what SAQA has on file, please email Christina so she can send you an email invitation. If you are not on Facebook or don’t wish to join the group, do not panic - THIS IS NOT THE PRIMARY METHOD OF THE DISSEMINATION OF REGIONAL INFORMATION. Anything crucial or critical is distributed primarily via email, and also via the SAQA CT blog. Similarly interesting for inspiration, tidbits, and community is the international “SAQA members only” page.
Sparked by a post on that SAQA Facebook group page - in which a member recounted jurying an exhibition of 130 entries but with NO fiber entries and thus encouraging members to ENTER - Christina opened up a conversation about entering work in non-fiber art exhibitions. Members who spoke up included:
Mary Lachman, who found the Mattatuck show #ibelieveinwaterbury on a fluke and entered a piece we then viewed on exhibition later in the meeting. She was similarly juried into a current Connecticut Women Artists exhibition. She had applied to SAQA shows in the past and was frequently disappointed, and so she was happily surprised at getting in to these shows, especially the curator’s excitement and enthusiasm for fiber.
Cathy Smith also has a piece in the CWA exhibition. She has always entered non-fiber shows. She says they are a great opportunity to talk to artists of other media. She notes to take advantage of the newfound excitement of fiber in non-fiber circles. She also recommends using your pods/Local Connections to get together to find exhibitions, to carpool, to split artwork drop-off/pick-up, etc.
Clara Nartey pointed out you might possibly win a non-fiber award, in her case - even a painting award! with your fiber work. She also strongly recommends getting involved in the organizations.
Margaret Phillips mentioned her involvement and success with the Greenwich Art Society. In particular, they have an annual show which includes a fiber award, and they could frequently use more fiber entries.
Pods/Local Connections: Christina handed out spreadsheets of member contact information, based on hometown. She suggested groups just “GIVE IT A TRY” - initiate even one meeting at the library or at a coffee shop, and see what happens. It is an opportunity to network in your local community, find out about shows, grow as a group, prepare work, share knowledge. In addition, you can keep tabs on each other - for example, make sure everyone is getting all the information, carpool, run to fabric store. Local Connections can keep the SAQA spirit going, especially if you can’t make it to a regional meeting.
We finished the official informational segment of our meeting by giving members a short questionnaire on how our region and its meetings are going. Questions we asked were:
- How many meetings should we have per year?
- Should we meeting during the summer and winter? (What do you consider summer/winter months?)
- Would you participate in a CT-based weekend symposium with a nationally know speaker/teacher? How much is reasonable to spend on a hotel? How much is reasonable to pay for a day-long workshop?
- Do you have suggestions for meeting locations? Where?
- What would you like SAQA-CT to do more of?
- What would you like SAQA-CT to do less of?
- Are you interested in shadowing either of our current reps to see what it is about?
- What roles do you see yourself doing with SAQA-CT in the future? Meeting planning, exhibits, trunk shows, outreach, communications?
- Any other comments?
We will report back at our next meeting. If you missed our meeting, we would still LOVE to hear your thoughts on these or any other topics. Feel free to email either of us with some or all of these answers.
From 11:00-12:00, we held everyone’s favorite, Show and Tell:
Joan Blade Johnson has been working on eco prints on silk scarves and selling them in shops. If anyone has ideas on shops where she might be able to sell - contact her.
Barbara Dieroff showed off two of her quilted mandalas, steeped in her love affair w sacred geometry, both in dyeing and quilting. This work includes dye resist circles and Swarovski crystals. We learned of Hang it Dang its , a wonderful quilt hanging solution that comes in a wide range of sizes.
Rita Hannafin showed us a piece she was commissioned for to be gifted to a retiree (that she doesn’t know). She received 9 awful photographs about someone she doesn’t know and the tidbit that the recipient’s favorite color is pink. She challenged herself to do something she would enjoy, and knocked it out of the park.
Cathy Smith showed us a piece of her earlier work, to lead into the tell of the recently published book “Artistry in Fiber: Wall Art” featuring some of her work. The authors likely found her between advertising in Art New England (there is a fee, but it gets you out there) and her work in non-fiber exhibitions (see notes above!).
Phyllis Small bought a book by Dyllis, when we were at the Windham Textile and History Museum, and became deeply inspired by the clothing/work. Phyllis showed off a beautiful work in that vein, including the use of buttons and the overall color scheme.
Jan Doyle’s quilt, Fractured Owl, was accepted into an upcoming exhibition at The New England Quilt Museum in Lowell MA.
Meredith Brooks, our newest member, is just starting a series of planetary quilts. She starts with NASA photos of actual planets and turns them into gorgeous works.
Maureen Lopes is a self-proclaimed slow producer but had the tell that Shoreline Quilters Guild will be holding their Harvest of Quilts 2017 at the Madison Senior Center Oct 7th and 8th.
Bev Hughes showed off beautiful (self-proclaimed as not an “art quilt”) supermoon quilt.
Miriam Byroade read the book “Coyote America” which details the science and history on how we’ll never be able to get rid of coyotes. Her pieces included “We’re not here to please you” coyote piece, with lettering stenciled onto fabric, applied with wonder-under, and carefully trimmed. She also showed us sun-printed cockroaches stating “we will be with you always”, and a work utilizing similarly indestructible dandelions.
Margaret Phillips noted that the SAQA auction starts next week (now last week), and has as a piece in it. She also showed other pieces from the same series of animal pieces.
Toni Torres participates in an annual show for African-American artists in South Carolina. One work just came back from last year’s show: the “Angel Oak Tree” in South Carolina - the largest oak tree in the country. She then showed us her piece from this year’s theme of “Moving On Up” - a beautiful purple mountain scene, “Journey to Peace Mountain”.
Evelyn Oliver is newly retired, and recently did some traveling. She went to the first National African American Quilt Convention in Kansas. There she took fantastic classes - including one on indigo-dyeing. Later, she went to Ohio, and spent an AMAZING afternoon with Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi and even bought a quilt from her, which she showed us.
Our guest, Connie Beckley, (Christina’s sister) shared “Ode to Thread” (complete with her first hanging sleeve ever!) Christina pointed out that her sister used a different method of facing on the two short sides, then the longer lengths on top and bottom, which means there’s less bulk in the corners.
Carol Vinick was also commissioned to do a retiree piece. Her quilt was for a pulmonologist. It featured logos from some of her grants and images of her and various programs she worked on. She also showed us a stunning piece on John Lewis (her entry into the Our Story exhibition).
Clara Nartey has four pieces in a show at a Newington country club through the end of the month. She has been interviewing artists on her blog about ways to make your art thrive. Check out her most recent interview, with Joe Cunningham!
Christina Blais’ Van Gogh Dog is going to travel as a finalist in the Cherrywood Fabrics’ Van Gogh challenge. She shared her work, Happy Dog, complete in all the colors of the rainbow. Cathy Smith mentioned that the Windham Textile and History Museum is still trying to raise money to purchase racks for displaying quilts (ideally enough to hang Local Color 3!). As a region, we donated the funds for one quilt rack.
We had a brief lunch, full of wonderful conversation from 12-12:30p. Then we packed ourselves up out of the meeting space and went on a tour of the Mattatuck, under the generous direction of Heather Whitehouse. We viewed Winslow Homer works from a private collection, a spectacular fiber installation by Nnenna Okore, luscious-colored paintings by Dmitri Wright, the button collection, and works by the Valley Girls. We also did a little hunting to view all the various #Ibelieveinwaterbury works scattered throughout the museum, including one by our own Mary Lachman!
Another successful meeting in the books. Again, if any of you had more suggestions that you did not put down on your form at the meeting, or if you missed the meeting and have input for how we can best serve our region, please please email me or Christina!
Thank you all! Keep creating!!!!!
Kelly Lorraine (email@example.com)
And Christina Blais (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CT regional co-representatives for SAQA