I've been asked -- at my booth at an Art Show and Sale -- "So you've retired now, and this is what you do?"
Do you get these sorts of comments?
- "Must be nice to have a job where you can sit around knitting/stitching all day."? -- from customers who see me knitting or stitching in the yarn/craft shop in which I work part-time; or
- "Nice little hobby, eh?" or
- "I'd love to do that, but I never have time."
Certainly within living memory, art and fine craft, including the "domestic arts" -- sewing, knitting, quilting, embroidery -- have been seen more as "hobbies" or past-times better reserved for retirement from a "real" job, than as ways to earn a living, or even as ways to make meaningful contributions to society at large.
I'm not going to go any farther down that rabbit hole here, but on Facebook I came across a post from member Valerie Wilson about an event happening this Sunday at the Dalnavert Museum in Winnipeg, and thought I'd share it here. Entitled The Elegant Arts (or what did they do all day?), it's described as an "illustrated talk" with Ines Bonacossa, collections registrar at the museum, about the ways in which Victorian ladies of the manor occupied their time, when they weren't busy managing upstairs, downstairs and various other parts of their households. It's part of their lecture series on Exploring Victorians, and if you're in the area, you might want to reserve a seat at the (tea) table, as it were. Just click the link above for all the details.
Regardless of what others think about our work, our members certainly seem to have answers to that question, "what do you do all day?" However we juggle "day jobs", families, volunteering etc. in order to manage time in the studio, we're actively creating...and when we've not got our hands in work, we likely have our minds whirring with thoughts and ideas about it.
B.C. member Judy Villett is presenting Canadian Colours, an exhibit of Fibre Art inspired by the "...clean, graphic design" of the Canadian flag "...as a format for blending complex commercial prints into seasonal tributes to Canada..." Colours opens November 17 at Place des Arts, 1120 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam, B.C., and runs through December 22. Meet Judy at the Opening Reception on November 17, beginning at 7 p.m.
Some of us have a tougher time answering that question -- not because we don't have an answer, but because we've fallen prey to the Voices that tell us our work is trivial, inconsequential, not nearly as important as other demands on our time. Some of us lack support from the friends and family around us, such that we're given space and time to work out our ideas. Perhaps we don't even have any "peeps" nearby to cajole, inspire, encourage us in our work.
To that end in Winnipeg, there are two opportunities to meet some of those needs.
The Textile and Fibre Artists of Manitoba held their inaugural meeting on Wednesday, October 25...and from all appearances it was a resounding success. Follow on their Facebook page for photos of the meeting and for ongoing news!
Also in Manitoba...
Please note that childcare is available -- but must be reserved by Nov. 14 (notice on bottom right corner).
Meanwhile, in B.C....the Lower Mainland SAQA POD had its most recent meeting on Wednesday -- a full day, with artist sharing and two exciting mini-workshops: a demo on deconstructed screen printing, as well as hands-on with origami in both 2D and 3D. Watch your Regional News for information about the next meeting and dates for 2018.
The Calgary POD seems quiet these days...Inquiring Minds want to know how this group is doing...
And finally, also in MB/SK, it's time to bid 'adieu' to retiring Co-Rep, Valerie Wilson, who served that part of our vast Region so capably from June 2015 until the end of October.
Serving as a SAQA Co-Rep for a Region this size is a challenge -- but can also be a great opportunity. The job entails representing the interests of the Region -- as a whole and the sum of its parts -- to the SAQA Board. It involves communications with members about what's going on around the Region, and trying to meet and greet members where at all possible. In the case of our Region, there have been Regional funds to track and manage, and find ways of using to the benefit of the entire Region.
Each Co-Rep brings to the role a vision for his or her time as Rep. For Patti Morris (AB -- 2010 - 2013) and Jill Sullivan (B.C. 2011 - 2013) it was all about exhibiting. For yours truly (AB -- Nov. 2013 - Nov. 2016) and Dawn Piasta (MB/SK -- Feb. 2013 - spring, 2015), it was communications (a workshop/Parlour Meeting, the blog and a newsletter) and assisting Katie Stein Sather (B.C. Nov. 2013 - Dec. 2014) with touring a trunk from the 25th Anniversary Trunk Show. Former member, Anna Hergert, now living in SK, was the first Regional Rep for SAQA Western Canada (2007 - 2013), it was spreading the word about SAQA and recruiting members (like me, in 2008!)
Valerie and Coleen Adderley (former Co-Rep, B.C.) partnered to organize the Region's first Retreat in May of this year. I know that all who attended enjoyed it thoroughly -- not only because of the lovely surroundings and excellent mini workshops, but also (dare I say "especially"?) because of the opportunity to meet and get to know our colleagues.
Thank you, Valerie, for your service!
And now...it's time to remind you that Jennie Johnston, Co-Rep in B.C., has no..."Co"...in either Alberta or MB/SK.
How about You?
Contact SAQA Regional Reps Co-Ordinator
for more information about the role of a Co-Rep,
and about the training available for the task.
It's a two year commitment...and worth every moment.
Thank you for your support!