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Monday, April 2, 2012

Fiber Philadelphia and SAQA Conference

Martha Sielman, executive director of SAQA  
 Last Wednesday, bright and early, I drove over to Lancaster, Ohio to meet up with Sue King to drive to the Studio Art Quilt Associates conference  in Philadelphia.  The conference was co-sponsored by the Surface Design Association and SAQA with the lectures and panel presentations, opening of Art Quilt Elements AND Outside/Inside the Box exhibitions as well as tours of Fiber Philadelphia preceding S.D.A. workshops which will run through April 4th.  Sue and I got there early for Sue to attend the SAQA Reps meeting, leaving on Sunday so that Sue could return to work today.

I intended to blog from the conference, and a number of people did, but I found that I was usually just too tired or too busy!

It was a lot of fun meeting people who I had "talked with" on the internet, admired their work, or just heard of.  I'm afraid that my head was spinning with new names, faces and ideas.  There's little wonder that one of the public art pieces showed three dragons, one with the pearl of great price....

One of the panel discussions on Friday was Elizabeth Barton, Sandra Sider and David Revere McFadden's presentation on the Jurying of Art Quilts Elements 2012.  It was especially interesting as we attended the show for the opening later that day.

One comment that Mr. McFadden made was that none of the quilts were particularly innovative.  He said he wanted to see quilts which used fiber optics...or other things...

One thing which I was mulling around after his statement was when does innovation become gimmick?  Why push to use new materials, if it doesn't SAY anything?

Perhaps it wasn't earth shattering, but it was a piece I liked very much and wouldn't have thought of doing on my own is this piece "Twisted", by Diane Nunez (please put a tilda over the "n" ).   Diane quilted the strips of fabric, put grommets in the top, twisted them and inserted metal rods.
  Diane is from Southfield, Michigan and I like how the space between the pieces of fabric is just as important as the pieces themselves....the negative space gives some balance.  It seems like the theme of many pieces in this show, as well as in Fiber Philadelphia, were exploring shadows within the pieces, something I have been thinking about recently as well.

I'm looking forward to seeing Diane again at the IQF show in Cincinnati in a couple of weeks...and you back here tomorrow....


Anonymous said...

I'm with you - it's not the medium it's the message. And the whole looking for "gimmicks mindset is just that - and a pretty limited mindset at that!

Rayna said...

I agree, Diane Nunez' piece was clever and well done. I wondered how on earth she had thought of doing that!

I had this exact conversation with someone a couple of days ago, after having seen Elements. Why do things have to be "innovative," "cutting edge," blah blah blah? Why can't they just be GOOD? Nobody goes to an exhibit of paintings and whines that they are not innovative. Even the reviewers focus on how they work as art. Cheesh!
Some of those pieces in Elements were just excellent examples of the medium: beautifully done, emotionally resonant (with me, anyway) - color/composition etc.
That was enough.