Monday, May 13, 2013

Patty Hawkins' words of wisdom

Patty Hawkins' session on her artistic path was one of the break out sessions at the SAQA conference. Patty was full of energy and enthusiasm as she spoke about her "Art Odyssey". She gave some very good information as well as making us laugh, ooh and ahh.

Patty is a kind and generous woman. She gave us lots of information about how she worked. She emphasized that welcoming any newcomer to the art quilt community was important. Although she had been working in water color for 15 years, when she found art quilts, she knew that was how she wanted to work in the future. Patty said that when her work was first accepted to Quilt National and the American Craft Museum, it gave her a lot of confidence in her work.

Patty's work has been accepted into Quilt National seven times, and three times into Quilt Visions. Anyone who is that successful is full of experience and good methods!

The first thing she recommended for advice on design was to "Simplify, Exaggerate and Repeat". If you look at her work you can see exactly how she does that to make work rich in depth and feeling. She creates her fabrics using screenprinting, dye and shibori methods. Her aspen trees are repeated in different sizes, and the leaves and other elements are also simple, but repeated to great affect. The Red Tori Gates piece uses the red gate, repeated over and over in a simple, but striking composition.  Patty was inspired to make a series of quilts after her visit to Japan. She was awarded the trip when she won the Quilts Japan prize in 2006 from Quilt Visions.

Patty recommended that the artist play to a theme that you are passionate about, and listen to others suggestions. We've all heard suggestions from others and thought they weren't useful. Patty said she might not like what she hears, but she tries them out anyway, and finds her friends are often right, and the piece is improved through their feedback.

Putting lights and darks next to each other was another tip she gave, as well as adding a tiny bit of complementary color to lead the eye around the composition. Patty does fused collages, and often uses tulle over parts of them. Sometimes she sews shapes on the tulle, and then cuts some of them out, creating a negative shape.

After having an hour with Patty, I would love to take a workshop with her. She is so talented, friendly and giving. Please visit her website and enjoy her work!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Enjoying time with SAQA colleagues

The SAQA conference in Santa Fe was jam packed with information, inspiration, networking and good times. This year there were 3 break out sessions, with enough time between the sessions to network, and catch up with friends. We had a banquet with a key note speaker, a cocktail party with a silent auction, and lots of meals and laughs.

The conference is a high light of every year for me. I don't live near many SAQA members, so I don't get an intense experience on a monthly basis. Attending the conference helps me feel I'm with people who love what I love - and they also happen to be very friendly and kind to each other.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to post about some of the things I learned and/or experienced at the conference in Santa Fe. For now, I'd like to say thank you to the organizers! Here's a photo that shows some of them:

L-R Bill Reker (SAQA shipping expert), Deb Cashatt (a huge volunteer and organizer of the auction at the conference), Kris Sazaki (vice president of SAQA and a Pixelady with Deb Cashatt), Martha Sielman (executive director and writer), Sandra Sider (behind Martha and present President of SAQA), Mary Pal (special exhibitions coordinator), Leni Wiener (exhibition committee chair) and Linda Beach (board member). Desiree Vaughn isn't it the photo, but she was the main conference organizer and had everything running smoothly.

The keynote speaker for the banquet on Saturday night was Geoffrey Gorman. He was smart, knowledgable and funny. Just the right mix of quirk and sincerity. He makes wonderful animals out of found objects and has a lot of experience in the art world. Geoffrey has been an artist, artist representative and had many other roles in and out of the art world. One of the things he said that stayed with me was "Our lives are transforming all the time, and so is our work". A good reminder that we don't have to keep producing the same thing - our art can grow and change as we do.

He described himself as an aggressive marketer of his own work, and always expresses to potential collectors that he's doing the best work he's ever done. He recommended that we know our work, its premise, and our market.

Geoffrey has some video's on YouTube that give you a quick look at his work, and give a sense of his humor and perspective on life. Take a look when you get a chance - his animals are full of life.

His work is in 6 galleries around the country, including the Jane Sauer Gallery in Santa Fe. Judith Content, one of my favorite fiber artists also has an exhibit there, and spoke to us on Saturday afternoon. I'll save that for another post!