SAQA Conference 2019—San Jose

For those of you who do not know, SAQA stands for Studio Art Quilt Associates . I tell people that this is my professional organization. It is all about the art quilt—collecting, promoting, making, exhibiting the art quilt—that is what SAQA is about. If that interests you, please visit the SAQA website and consider joining. I love being a part of SAQA.

Last month, I attended the SAQA annual conference in San Jose, California. Here’s Georgia French, the conference organizer, welcoming the conference participants.

On day one, a group of us sort of spontaneously gathered for lunch.

We were all signing into the conference, and the next thing you know we touring the murals of downtown San Jose after grabbing a bit to eat at an indie food mall.

That evening SAQA member Mel Beach lead us on a wild and wacky ice breaker.


It was action packed.


Friday morning was full of excellent keynote speakers and the Lightning Talks. I hosted the Lightning Talks but forgot my camera. So you will just have to trust me when I say they were great! What is a SAQA Lightning Talk? You can learn more here

I attended a cool presentation by Susie Monday on art apps and digital fabric making. So awesome. Susie offers a variety of workshops online and in person. Here is one of the many samples of digitally produced fabric that Susie shared.


The evening event was Friday Night Out. This is a super fun way to make new SAQA friends. When you register for the conference, you have the option of selecting a restaurant for dinner on Friday.


SAQA makes the reservations. You meet your group in the hotel lobby, and away you go. By the end of the evening you will have a half a dozen new friends!


The next morning there was a very powerful panel discussion presented by the Social Justice Sewing Academy. Sara Trail founded the organization which educates and empowers young people to speak through cloth about issues relevant to their lives. Please visit their website to learn more.


We spent the afternoon on walking tours visiting galleries and museums in downtown San Jose.


First stop for my group was the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles


We got to go behind the scenes.


We saw four really lovely exhibitions. There was a super fun show of paper swimsuits made by Kristen Martincic called Swim Club.  I loved them. 

I discovered Karen Balos’s work in the group exhibition Momentary and Timeless. This piece is called Thank you Holly. She also has a piece in Shifting Tides which I will share with you in a minute. I will be watching for more of her work. 


The textures and arrangements of the these up-cycled materials is fascinating.


Our next stop was the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art . I am going to write more about that visit in a later post, but for now I will show you this. WOW. It is an installation by Sofie Ramos called STUFF(ed). 


We concluded our walking tour with a visit to Works/San Jose where the SAQA Regional Exhibition Shifting Tides: Convergence in Cloth was being exhibited. You can read more about the exhibition here.


It is such a great venue!

Here is the second piece by Karen Balos. I immediately went up to it and confirmed that YES it was same artist. I love that feeling of recognizing someone’s visual voice. This one is called Port of Oakland.


The evening was spent enjoying diner and bidding on Spotlight Auction Quilts.

I totally scored a piece by Bodil Gardner

Bodil Gardner

Sunday featured a wonderful panel discussion with the authors of Art Quilts Unfolding: 50 Years of Innovation.


Lisa Ellis, Sandra Sider, Martha Sielman, and Nancy Bavor all had interesting stories to share about their part in bringing this major retrospective on the art quilt into being. You can order your copy here


Joan Schultz gave a very moving keynote about her last years with her husband, and the art she created to express that time in her life.


The final event of the conference was the opportunity to visit several artist’s studios. Judith Content welcomed us into her home studio. It was so much fun to see Judith in her element and hear her talk about her work, home, and art.


I love the SAQA conference because it checks so many boxes–meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends, seeing art, learning about other artists and their art. It really is fabulous.  The 2020 conference will be in Toronto. I hope you to see you there!

This entry was published on May 12, 2019 at 12:56 PM. It’s filed under News And Events and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “SAQA Conference 2019—San Jose

  1. So enjoyed these photos, too bad I could not go. My friend Wendy H. is trying to wear me down to go next year in Toronto.

  2. What a feast

  3. I know. It was super fun. I really like the the conference committee builds learning about the location into the conference.

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