Monday, May 23, 2011

Sorting and Sifting

I'm not jet-lagged; there was no time change on this trip to Denver from Alberta.  However, coming and going, I was required to get up at 2:30 or 3 a.m. to get to the airport, so I'm moving rather slowly today and am thinking seriously about a nap!  That said, I wanted to post these photos, just so you can get a wee taste of the scope of the weekend: meeting cyber-friends in person, taking in the scenery around Denver and Golden, revelling in some stunning artwork and learning, learning, learning.  Oh, and enjoying some great food!

When we checked in, each of us were given a conference pouch filled with goodies, including current issues of Quilters' Newsletter and Machine Quilting Unlimited, and these delicious artist's playthings:

Paint and glitter powder

Thread - quilters' candy!

My 'cyber- friends', Dawn and Judy.  
The inimitable Nancy C, Paulette, and Jean

Judy, Dawn and I kept each other company throughout most of the weekend, and we sat with Jean at just about every whole-conference lecture and key-note address.  She's the Great Communicator on the Visioning Team, and has taught us 'newbies' a thing or two about making connections and contacts.  Nancy, a most gracious lady, is the Grande Dame of Artists, yet genuine and down to earth, and always willing to share her knowledge and skill.  Dawn was my 'roomie'; I'm sure we could have absorbed more over the course of the weekend if we hadn't stayed up talking late into every night!  Judy is the experienced traveller, the long-distance runner, and the one who kept us eating as healthfully as possible while on the road.  I'm going to miss not seeing all of these wonderful gals every day.

Entrance to the Dry Ice Factory and the Ice Cube Gallery
On Friday evening, we were offered a three-studio tour, and we grabbed at the opportunity.  Judy, Dawn and I shared transportation with one other attendee, and were shepherded by the patient and hospitable Regina Benson, a SAQA member and artist living in Golden.

Carol Ann Waugh & her work

We began our tour with the "Ice Cube" Gallery, which is situated in what used to be a dry ice factory.  It's  stunning venue -- large walls and high ceilings lend themselves perfectly to an art exhibit space.  In the back are the studios of a number of artists in a variety of media, including Carol Ann Waugh, whose pieces we viewed and admired in the gallery in an exhibit entitled Layered Textiles.  In the photo at right, Carol poses with one of her pieces, generously explaining to us how she mounted the sections and answering questions about her process.   

From there, Regina drove us out to Golden; we enjoyed the scenery all along the way -- the mountains looming into view, the homes perched on the foothills, and the site of the Coors Brewery.

Once in Golden, our first stop was the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum to see the current exhibit: "Frontiers: Colorado Inspirations and Fiber Art Innovations by the Front Range Contemporary Quilters".  Over delicious munchies and drinks, we were treated to a wide variety of beautiful, interesting and fun pieces in this exhibit.  A few of my favourites are shown below.

Sunshine in the Grove - Carol Pratt

Orogeny - Vicki Carlson

Longmont Sugar Rush - Christine Broers

Horizon XIII - Dierdre Adams

Our third venue on Friday evening was the office of Creative Crafts Group, home of the publishers of one of the first magazines for quilters:  Quilters' Newsletter.  In their foyer is a wonderful gallery space wherein we found more to feast upon -- literally and figuratively -- for at present the featured exhibit is SAQA's invitational exhibiti, Sightlines.  Our appointed driver for the evening, Regina Benson, is one of the artists chosen for this exhibit, and her piece expressing the impact of the wild grass and forest fires that devastate so much of her state (and my province) each year, is not only visually compelling but also a powerful reminder of recent events in Slave Lake (Northern Alberta).

The piece that touched me most, however, was Leni Levenson Wiener's "Travelling Companions on Life's Journey".  The last wee panel showed a woman alone...and I was speechless.  The blessing of this experience, however, has come in the days following the viewing of this beautiful work.  Even though in the end each of us comes face to face with Creator God, one spirit to One Spirit, while we live and breathe we continue to have a choice to have companions on our journey.  During this conference, acquaintances and colleagues have, for me, become friends and companions as I continue along the road of my life journey as widow, mother, sister, artist...and in my own turn, colleague, friend and companion. 

Saturday was a second day packed with lectures and workshops.  I confess to giving a pass to my last scheduled workshop, having received assurances from Judy that it was probably more information than I'd want or could use about photographing my quilts.  (When I need something really special photographed, I enlist my daughter, who has all the right equipment and is a willing and interested assistant.  Sometimes, as Dr. Monica Dixon pointed out Saturday morning, you have to decide, "This much, and no more!"

Saturday evening was our wind-up banquet, and we all got gussied up for the occasion.  

Here are Dawn and I with Lisa Chipetine, former SAQA President, and the powerhouse behind SAQA's Visioning Project.  What a dynamo!  Lisa's "day job" is in technology and communications, and she fearlessly explores all avenues available in that world that she can bring to the marketing and exhibiting of her work as a fibre artist -- and she shares her wealth of knowledge with the rest of us.

And then there are the Canadians.  There were only five of us at the conference (including me!), but I was blessed to be able to meet each of the others and get to know them a little bit.  Our group included Mary PalTeri SpringerCarol Howard Donati,  and Paulette Cornish.  Carol's husband was kind enough to take this great photo of all of us together.  I think Mary Pal has something brewing with the others....a SAQA Canada Symposium...sometime, somewhere in a Quilting Galaxy not far away...Stay tuned!

And my new friends, to those who graced us with their knowledge, to those who shared their skills, their work and their lives with me this past weekend,  I echo Shakespeare:

I can no other answer make, but thanks, and thanks.


Linda A. Miller said...

Fabulous post...glad you got so much out of the conference.

Tanya Brown said...

Thank you for this post. I didn't get to go to the conference, but I'm delighted that you and others did. It's nice to be able to put a face with a name.