I feel wounded-somehow I accidentally erased most of my photos from the SAQA Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska! I have 4 useless surviving photos to try to capture/remember the experience. It hurts.
I consider going to SAQA Conferences an investment in my career as a fiber artist. I come away each time with a richer, deeper knowledge of my work in its historical and even international context. There are artists there from all over the world, artists with widely varying uses of the medium of quilts. I literally know quilt artists all across the US and the world through SAQA. Every conference leaves an influence upon me which eventually shows up in my work and my world.
The Conference, “From Creation to Curation”, itself was pivotal. I know it’s better to have photos, but I don’t, so here it is in bullet points:
-I met fellow artists that I want to know better, that I learned something exciting from.
-I learned so much from the Lightening Talks-16 mini-talks with 20 slides in 400 seconds!
-I saw amazing quilts and art-the whole time.
-I got excited about what SAQA has done, is doing and will be doing for the art quilt all over the world.
-I have a clearer view of how I and my art fit into the history and future of quilting–and I’m excited about that vision!
-I experienced being a mock juror-eye opening on a personal level and even more eye-opening to see how others approached the process.
-The student panel and local artist panels were interesting–I saw the beauty of “flat” Nebraska through their eyes.
-I spent a truly amazing day at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum-more about that later.
-I met and talked with (a wee bit) Michael James.
-Oh my–I saw an exquisite collection of Quilt Japan quilts with my own eyes-what mastery and beauty!
-Layered Voices-a SAQA exhibit was on display at the Museum. Again, pivotal stuff-use of shadow and holes and 3-d–oh my!
-I toured the clothing archives at the Univ of Nebraska–an incredible collection of garments which I drooled over.
-The student work at the UN garment school was inspirational.
-LUKE Haynes’ log cabin exhibit-the manner of display was as intriguing as his quilts.
-LUKE’s quilts were hung “haphazardly” off of hooks and lines and such-really provocative.
-There was One Quilt at the Museum that changed my life, no kidding. Read below for more. It took my breath away.
-The Museum itself was gorgeous.
-We got to go into the Archives! They pulled several Important Quilts for us to view. I was awestruck.
So many consider the Midwest “fly-over country”. I am a native Illinoisan and I see beauty in the plains and the edited landscape, the movement of crops in the ever present wind and even the weeds.
Visiting Lincoln certainly challenged the “fly over” concept. The International Quilt Study Museum is the world’s largest publicly held quilt collection, with work dating from the early 1700s to present, and represents more than 50 countries. The University is the only in the world to offer a master’s in Textile History with a quilt studies emphasis.
The exterior of the Museum is beautiful and the white porous sculpture is gorgeous as well. I saw photos of the museum at night and you can clearly see what a work of art the building and sculpture are.
The interior of the IQSC is elegant. This is the large area all 200+ SAQA members met in–it’s shaped like the eye of a needle!
The Museum people were so happy to see us and treated us like royalty. It is hard to describe what it’s like to visit. It is the quilter’s Mecca. I was awestruck to be there. We were able to go into the archive area and see how the quilts are stored. The Museum pulled several quilts of historical and cultural significance that we were able to view right before our eyes.
And this quilt stopped me in my tracks-I literally gasped when I saw it pulled out. To see it up close and right at the end of my nose, its beauty overwhelmed me. It is a boutis quilt from France made in the range of 1850-1870. Boutis is “stuffed work” where cording is carefully inserted into each area, providing much more loft than trapuno. The edges were satin stitched by hand and the workmanship was stunning, but not perfect. I took a photo of it from the edge where you could see the dimension caused by the boutis. It was so exquisite in its beauty, so elegant in its near perfection. Note that it is not symmetrical in its design.
That. Quilt. Changed. Me.
I took a bunch of close in shots, now gone, but its beauty is in me. I don’t know how or when its influence might show up in my work, but it will. It made me resolve then and there that I want to return to the museum to study some of their collection. I don’t know if they do this, but I would like to do preliminary research on their website-every quilt is on their on-line data base. I’d like to have certain quilts pulled for me to study. Oh, in my dreams I will do just that!
Michael James gave our keynote address. He recently lost his wife to Alzheimer’s and his speech was a lovely tribute to her. He talked about his series that he finished in a 9 month period after her death. I am so impressed with the man and artist that he is. What a guy!
I probably cannot keep your attention much more without photos! So I leave you with these pithy comments that I picked up here and there at Conference:
-“Authentic art cannot be replicated.” If your work is authentic and personal, don’t worry about plagiarists!
-“I use my sketchbook to capture ideas, not to draw.” Me too!
-“Mastery means I have narrowed the gap between expectations and reality.” Great way to put it.
-“Dissonance made elegant” (in reference to a particular art quilt)
-“The question marks were too big to answer so I had to move on.” Again, me too! My motto–“Onward, I’ll fix it on the next quilt”.
I decided I had to go back. I need a reason to go back. And I want to go back for a week to study. I. MUST. See That Quilt again.
I’ll be linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday. I enjoy the links every week and I hope you do too!