SAQA Summit with Visions Museum of Textile Art

After 3+ years in the making, we held the SAQA Summit with Visions Museum of Textile Art (VMOTA) in San Diego, CA. Plans for this partnership event began around May or June of 2019 with plans to hold the event in September 2021. Due to Covid, we postponed the event and I just kept crossing my fingers that we could create a safe event for September 2022. I am pleased to say we were able to hold the event this past weekend and it was AMAZING! Read on as I share some personal highlights from this incredible event focused on fiber art and connections! 

The first day's format consisted of presentations by several world-renowned fiber artists. Jane Dunnewold kicked it off with a bit of play as she taught us how to balance spoons on our noses. Her presentation was packed with positive messages to inspire everyone's creativity through play and curiousity. Subsequent presentations by Paula Kovarik and Betty Busby, built upon previous messages for a well-rounded program focused on fiber art. An afternoon panel presentation shared practical tips and advice for exhibiting our fiber art with presentations by Laura Mitchell (Executive Director of VMOTA), Luana Rubin (Co-owner of eQuilter), and Betty Busby. It was so wonderful to witness the positive energy as attendees networked and reconnected with one another in between the various presentations and over lunch.

Afterwards the VMOTA staff and volunteers welcomed us for an evening reception sponsored by eQuilter. How wonderful to see incredible textile art exhibitions up close and personal. I was honored to have my "Follow Your heART" included in the Up Close and Personal exhibition featuring artwork created by Presidents of SAQA. 

SAQA's Southern California/Nevada Region hosted a concurrent reception that was a short stroll away which included more fiber art along with scrumptious desserts!

The next two days were workshop days with 6 amazing artists: Betty Busby, Jane Dunnewold,  Sheila Frampton-Cooper, Valerie Goodwin, Jill Kerttula, and Paula Kovarik. It was difficult to choose which 2-day workshop to take as they all looked amazing. I opted to take Paula's Line Matters Workshop as I am just fascinated with her artwork and was looking to incorporate more emotion and meaning into my free-motion quilting. 

Paula Kovarik is an incredible teacher as she guided us through several exercises, provided lots of individualized attention, and guided us through wonderful processing sessions to explore our growing gallery of stitching done by participants. If you have the opportunity to take a workshop with her, I highly recommend you do. Until then, definitely check out her website, sign up for her newsletter, and purchase her At Play in the Garden of Stitch—Thoughts That Come While Eyeing the Needle book (which includes many of the exercises we did in class and lots more inspiration from her process and fiber art).

There was plenty of design inspiration to be discovered outside the classroom which was adjacent to a marina. I had fun studying the environment for interesting lines and shapes to sketch before incorporating into one of my stitching assignments.

Below are just a few of the views that inspired my stitching.

This was the first time I've flown with a sewing machine which presented some logistical challenges. I opted to bring my back up Brother machine which I had used recently for garment making. Upon arrival, I found a broken needle but thankfully no other signs of damage. I checked the bobbin case for the broken tip which I did not find, although I did spot quite a few dust bunnies. Throughout the morning, my sewing machine kept acting up with some squeaking, broken threads, and error messages. When it started to seize up, I opened up the bobbin case again and discovered several more dust bunnies which Paula helped me to clean and inspect. 

Despite our best efforts, we were unable to get it to stitch (I have already made plans to drop it off for a much needed spa day with the mechanic here in San Jose!). A friend who lived locally offered her back up machine but warned me it too was shredding threads. Unfortunately neither machine wanted to cooperate and so they were set it aside as I focused my efforts and time in class on doodling. My roommate was kind to timeshare her machine with me as we each took turns doodling while the other was stitching. I was nervous at first given my unsuccessful track record with sewing machines, but thankfully it stitched beautifully and I was able to complete some of the stitching exercises as shown below. Despite these sewing machine woes, I am excited by all that I learned in class and can't wait to see how my stitching evolves with continued practice and stitching.

And here are just a few more incredible views from San Diego packed with color, shapes, and textures!

All in all it was a whirlwind trip filled with friendships, fiber art, and inspiration! Many thanks to all the amazing staff and volunteers from both organizations who worked tirelessly to make this event a fabulous success! And thank you to everyone who attended as their positive energy was contagious!