SDA Conference

I’ve tried to get it together to write about the fantastic presentations at the recent conference, but then I came across this post by Cameron Ann Mason. Seriously, I can’t really add to what she had to say, so I’d suggest you read her post. I’d also suggest you read her post about the SDA Members’ Show. I showed a few pieces in my last post, but Cameron has more photos and some great detail. Interestingly enough we did both choose some of the same pieces to highlight. Now, while you’re at it, you should certainly read Cameron’s post about the gallery tour day.

Now, here’s and assortment of photos from my time at the conference:

at Gallery Nord downtown architecture columns of the Majestic architectural detail San Antonio library library interior mosaic bench quilt by Michael James fiber exhibition river walk Texas stars serpentine tile bench Texas style "Canadian" regional meetingview from universityfashion show entrynew friends

cermics at SSA Coates Chapel at SSAcactus flower

The next photo is from the presentation to promote the next SDA conference in 2015 in Tulsa. Can’t wait to visit Oklahoma!

Tulsa conference promo

The last photo shows what I think is the greatest example of “recycle/reuse”. Our taxi driver had altered his name tag. He recently changed cab companies and this seemed to work for him!

taxi driver's badgeI thoroughly enjoyed my first Surface Design Association Conference. I met great people, saw fantastic art exhibitions, heard incredible lectures, ate excellent food and loved getting to know San Antonio. The whole experience was inspiring, and if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to work!

historic market square

This San Antonio market area was only a few blocks from our hotel, so a group of us walked over after the closing remarks of our conference. I fell in love with the colorful vibrant displays of merchandise and festive restaurant decor.





In the farmers’ market building (which no longer houses a farmers’ market) we were entertained with traditional Mexican dances. The costumes were lovely, and the young dancers were very cute!



We had a late lunch in the heart of the market at Mi Tierra. The food was excellent and the atmosphere was festive. The staff were all pleasant and seemed to be enjoying their day. It was a great break in our day.

Mi Tierra Restaurant lunch at Mi TierraWe finished off our fantastic week with a walk along the River Walk. We had intended to take an evening cruise to enjoy the lights, but we missed the last boat – literally – by 15 minutes. Oh well. With all the food I consumed over the week, the exercise felt good. These are my new friends from Ontario – friends I intend to see again, whether they like it or not!

Riverwalk viewI still have photos to post from the conference and I’ll get on those as quick as I can. Been travelling with no time to post properly, and I’ve arrived home to a bit of flood damage (minor but frustrating) so I’ll need to deal with that first. Glad to be home.


pre-conference tour

Surface Design Association Conference – San Antonio, TX. Wednesday was our first day of pre-conference activity. It was beyond my expectations. Pamela and I had signed up for a bus tour – here’s the brochure description:

“The tour begins at the new Art Cloth Studios, hosted by Jane Dunnewold. It continues with a visit to the Witte Museum’s exhibit of ornately beaded and embellished Fiesta gowns. (Originally a single parade to honor fallen Texas heroes, Fiesta has grown into a 10-day celebration featuring some 100 events and dozens of “royal courts,” whose members wear elaborate gowns in the many Fiesta parades.) Final stop is the McNay Art Museum, with its noted collection of theater arts, including Fiesta Festival, an exhibit of festival costume drawings and stage models from around the world.”

You have no idea what a fabulous time was had by all. There were 2 busloads of attendees and there was an excitement in the air the entire day. As an added bonus there was an exhibit of large prayer flags by Sharon Rowley hanging in the yard of the studio. The studio space occupies the main floor of house, with the wet studio occupying what would be a huge garage for anyone else. (What a waste of space that would be!) Everyone was practically drooling with the thought of working in such beautiful space! This studio is so new that the photos on the website still show another space. We were some of the first visitors, and honored to see the thoughtful and well planned spaces.

After the studio tour we stopped for lunch – authentic Texas bar-b-que at Augie’s Restaurant. Great food and atmosphere. Both museums were fantastic. Soo much to see – too much to tell. (I’m afraid I will be guilty of an excess of superlatives when describing everything related to the conference, but that’s just the way it was! Here are a few photos to give you a taste of the wonder!

exterior studio view side of studio artwork on side of studio studio main house artful kitchen prayer flag info prayer flags in back yard studio work space wet studio work space wet studio view

Augie's bar-b-que Fiesta gowns Fiesta gown gown detail McNay exterior McNay entrance work by Jane Dunnewold Jane Dunnewold detail McNay interior McNay interior McNay original exterior sculpture at McNayAs if that wasn’t enough stimulation for one day, there was a lecture in the evening. Several instructors gave slide presentations of their work. We heard from Jackie Abrams, Kathyanne White, Kerr Graboski, Kim Eichler-Messmer and Mo Kelman. Unbelievable collection of work and talent!

Jackie Abrams Mo Kelman, Jackie Abrams and Kerr Grabowski


Surface Design Conference – let the fun begin!

Early in June I attended the 17th International Surface Design Association Conference in San Antonio, Texas. I heard about the conference months earlier and was interested but not sure if it would be worthwhile for me. Then at an SDA meeting held in Calgary I sat next to fellow member, Wendy (Please note that I am making reference to the Surface Design Association and not Seventh-day Adventists, speed demos archive or small dead animals, as found on a Google search.) Wendy told me that she had attended a couple of SDA conferences and would not even consider missing one. That was enough of an endorsement for me. I went home and registered that evening, and then over the next couple of days convinced my good friend, Pamela, to come along. Best decision we could have made.

We arrived on a Tuesday evening, with plans to meet some Austin friends for dinner. We were expecting to start our SDA experience with a pre-conference tour on Wednesday. I checked the online schedule and discovered a lecture that we could attend, and heaven forbid that we should miss anything! After bumping our dinner reservations back, we headed off in search of the Southwest School of Art, Navarro Campus. It was only a few blocks from our hotel but we found ourselves on the main campus instead. Imagine our delight in finding this art installation, called “Interloper” by Trish Ramsay:

garden art more garden art single "bloom"There were  hundreds of these yellow felt balls on wire stems installed throughout numerous garden beds on the school grounds. They were playful and awe-inspiring at the same time. I decided to make my own tiny version at home. I used real flower head from an arrangement that had otherwise given up the ghost. Note loss of the wow factor – I had 6 flowers to work with.

my verision my single bloom

As and addendum to these photos, I’m adding one from my trip to Vienna, where I spotted this window display:

window display in Vienna

Pamela and I found the correct building for the lecture given by Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga, titled “Unconventional Materials / African Heritage”. Naomi is not only a tremendously talented artist, she is a fabulous story-teller. We were completely wired/inspired by the time we heard about Naomi’s background and experiences that have influenced her work. What a fantastic way for us to start the conference! Naomi had a show in the same building. Here are a couple of images of Naomi and her incredible work.

Naomi Wanjiku N.Wanjiku work 2 N.Wanjiku work 2 detail N.Wanjiku work 3 N.Wanjiku work 1 N.Wanjiku work 1 detail N.Wanjiku workSo that was our introduction to the conference. I’m exhausted just recounting our experience and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it. Stay tuned for more installments.