Monday, February 13, 2012

Thoughts on New SAQA Mission Statement

If you are a member of The Studio Art Quilt Association you recently received notification of a change to the definition of the art quilt. The new definition reads:

The art quilt is a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.

This new definition is presented with the following statement as to why this change was made.

The Board sees the revised definition as a visionary statement. The word "references" allows for a broader understanding of the art quilt, thus creating a potential for growth in SAQA membership in terms of numbers and diversity of artists. The revised definition allows for more 3D work and work in media other than fiber/textile/fabric/cloth; it allows for techniques and materials not found in traditional quilting. The revised definition allows for framed, unframed, bound, and unbound work, thereby welcoming growth and development of individual style.

I applaude this new definition as a statement reflecting the desire of the SAQA Board to get our medium more in-line with the attitudes and directions of other art mediums. Anyone who attends shows which features paintings, sculpture or ceramics for example, knows that you will see a very broad range of uses of these materials and processes. At a sculpture show you might see a traditional bronze casting and you might see an installation piece. At the painting show there is a huge range of mediums and approaches and you might see something that appears more like a sculpture than a flat stretched canvas.

This new definition will attract new people with new ideas and invigorate the group. New show offerings will develop and our work will potentially be shown in new venues. New viewers will also be attracted to attend our exhibitions.

Let me share a story with you. A few years ago I was attending a meeting of a group of women artists who were members of an east coast art group. Among the women attending this conference was one woman who had a solid regional reputation. She lived and worked in New York City and belonged to a women's art collective which often sponsored group exhibitions featuring work from the members. One year the woman suggested that the group invited a very high profile woman sculptor to be a guests and show with them. While some of the members saw the prospect of having their work hanging next to work of such renowned, others said, "Why should we feature her? She doesn't need the exposure." My friends response was simple. The inclusion of a new element (the work of the famous artist) would attract new and potentially more viewers to she her work but they would end up seeing the entire show.

I am not suggesting that the new members who might join SAQA are more famous than any of the very accomplished art quilters already in the organization but there are benefits to new ideas, new directions and new opportunities for creative adventures.


Today's post on Art with a Needle is a review of my current exhibition: Evidence + Explorations = Resolution. Please check it out!

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  1. Thank you so much for posting this information about the new Art Quilt definition...I for one, am thrilled to read's about time there was a change made! Always good to move in new directions, forward or sideways or up or more open.

  2. I checked out your work and I see where you might like this. I think it's great. Thank you for commenting!

  3. Thank you for posting about this change. I am a former member and perhaps I'll rejoin. Their updated definition and statement shows openness to include art forms aligned with art quilts. I've seen paintings and drawings that reference art quilts as well as 3D forms. Brava!

  4. Thank you Christine. I am very pleased with this new policy. I have always been impressed with the richness and variety of work that is acknowledged by the Surface Design organization. The new "definition" of art quilts will allow the inclusion of many exciting new artists in SAQA.