Thoughts about Fiberlandia by Sandra Lauterbach
I attended Fiberlandia--SAQA's 2015 conference in Portland, Oregon. It was my second SAQA conference. It is a great way to meet other art quilters and to put faces with the names of people you have read or heard about. Everyone wears a badge with their name and hometown in BIG LETTERS! The conference started Thursday afternoon and ended Sunday at noon. People came from South Africa, Australia, France and Canada.
There are a lot of benefits to attending the conference. For example, besides meeting other art quilters, there are practical tips about marketing, social media, photography (from the last conference when Gregory Case spoke), and photoshop. The content depends on the speakers. You can find out about opportunities to get more involved with SAQA. That is how I got involved with the JAM sub-committee.
There were several panels. One was of international artists and their work. Gul Laporte, from France, made an interesting point. She said that American quilts tend to use brighter, "in" trendy colors versus European quilters tend to more muted colors. Rosalie Dace and Hsin-Chen Lin (involved with the Taiwan Quilt Show) were the two other international artists on that panel. The other panels consisted of 1) students in MFA and BA programs; and 2) Quilters from Washington and Oregon. Some amazing pieces and stories.
Maria Shell from Alaska (where she lives in an off the grid home with her family) spoke about getting grants and writing proposals. Maria was enthusiastic, inspiring and informative. If you want to receive Maria’s mailings about show opportunities, she said to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maria said she views each rejection notice she receives as bringing her that much closer to an acceptance letter—very positive attitude!
Namita Gupta Wigger mentioned criticalcraftforum.com. She spoke about quilts and art.
Everyone sits at large round tables for the panel discussions and general meetings—which is a great way to meet other artists. There is also a choice of smaller breakout sessions. I picked one that dealt with social media. Most people arrived Thursday in time for the small vendor mall--hand dyed fabrics, yarn, clothing and KAI scissors. There was a short meeting for JAMs and prospective JAMs. Sharon Bass was "speed dating" (as she called it) --meeting individually with people interested in applying to be a JAM and reviewing their work.
Thursday night Lyric Kinard organized a type of “round robbin” collage ice-breaker. There was a general meeting with the SAQA board and you could meet the members. "Maker Space" took place one evening. There were different tables where you could try out paint sticks, sashiko stitching, machine felting and more.
Saturday night was dinner and the SpotLight Auction of 6” x 9” pieces donated by SAQA members. The auction raised over $14,000 this year! It is a great way to get your work known.
The SAQA members from the Portland area went out of their way to make us feel welcome. They organized various tours for Saturday afternoon--from walking in the arts district to going to the falls.
The conference ended Sunday at noon. Beth Smith and Charlotte Bird from Visions Art Museum spoke about the museum's origins, its programs and its exhibitions. One tip for applying to Visions is to submit photos of work that is in a series.
It is interesting that SAQA members in the Portland area and also around San Francisco have monthly meetings with large attendance; members drive up to 3 hours to go to them. Why is it different in So Cal? Our traffic? better weather? or???