SAQA @ 20 Juror and Curator statements
Close your eyes and think back to 1989. Do you remember what was happening in the world? George W. Bush was sworn into office; the Berlin wall came tumbling down; and we watched with horror the events of Tiananmen Square. A quirky, ground-breaking comedy called “Seinfeld” premiered on TV; Jessica Tandy charmed millions with her acceptance speech for Best Actress in her leading role for “Driving Miss Daisy”; and many of us danced (in our acid-washed jeans) to the new wave beat of The B-52s’ “Love Shack.”
While these political and pop culture events transpired, another significant event took place in the art world. Thanks to the grass roots efforts of quilt artist Yvonne Porcella, Studio Art Quilt Associates, a non-profit organization whose sole purpose was to celebrate, support, and champion the Art Quilt, was born.
The purpose and mission of SAQA still holds true twenty years later:
- Promote art quilts to major art publications, museums, and galleries
- Educate the public about art quilts
- Serve as a forum for the professional development of quilt artists
- Act as a resource for curators, dealers, consultants, teachers, students, and collectors
Over the past 20 years, SAQA has gained worldwide recognition and respect. Thousands of members hail from South Carolina to South Africa. SAQA publishes a quarterly professional journal; hosts an active and progressive online community and website; coordinates an annual conference; assembles numerous traveling exhibitions; and provides art quilt education and critique opportunities. Thanks to the concerted and focused efforts of SAQA and its members, 20 years later we can boast of art quilts hanging in such esteemed institutions as the American Craft Museum and the Smithsonian.
When I was asked to choose 35 art quilts made by SAQA members to celebrate SAQA’s 20th anniversary, my first reaction, quite frankly, was that I’m not qualified. As founder and editor-in-chief of Quilting Arts Magazine®, I understand the thought process behind the invitation, but my concerns were of a more personal nature. You see, 20 years ago while Yvonne was hard at work applying for non-profit status and sending letter after letter to prospective members, I hadn’t a clue what an art quilt was—let alone possess a single sewing or quilting skill. In 1989, my concerns involved my basketball dribbling, the status of my college applications, and the quandary of all high school quandaries: was I going to prom. (Little did I know then that art quilts would become my life’s passion!) How could I possibly appreciate and understand the rich history of this organization? Then it dawned on me: This 20th anniversary exhibit is an opportunity to not just celebrate the past 20 years and where we are as an organization today, but to think about the next 20 years.
For this exhibit I selected quilts by seasoned and new SAQA members from around the globe. I believe the diversity of the work exemplifies the breadth of talent and skill in this organization and shows not only where we have been, but also where the art quilt movement is heading. I am hopeful art quilts such as these in this exhibit inspire those in the next generation to pick up a needle and celebrate our art form. In that vein, I am curious when thinking about 20 years down the pike, what “SAQA @ 40” will look like. God willing, I plan to be a part of that celebration, too. And who knows…perhaps right now there’s a teenage girl somewhere in the world whose sole worry at the moment is if she’s going to prom. She doesn’t know it yet, but by us sharing our art in exhibitions such as these, art quilts just might become her life’s passion, too.
Editorial Director & Founder of Quilting Arts Magazine®
Quilting & Paper Division
Managing Curator's Statement:
I have created fine art for over 25 years. I started creating fiber poetry 15 years ago. My work emphasizes using fiber as collage with embellishment, and my original poetry often appears in the work.
I had seen outstanding past exhibits organized by Studio Art Quilt Associates so I was thrilled to be invited to be the Managing Curator for this special exhibit that would celebrate 20 years of SAQA. I wanted to be a part of the production of this excellent and exciting show.
Curator Patricia Bolton selected the pieces in this international exhibit representing the amazing art work being created globally by SAQA members. The 35 works in this show display a wide range of styles, materials, and concepts being employed by the gifted quilt artists who make up SAQA.
It was a pleasure to work with Ms. Bolton, SAQA officers, and a group of talented quilt artists from around the world.
SAQA@20: Art & Excellence