I recently returned from a week in Toronto, Canada were I participated in a SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) Conference (my 5th conference). This conference was originally scheduled for March 2020. At that time, I was on a roll of good things happening. I had been traveling alot. Traveling is something I enjoy doing but wasn’t able to do much of prior to that era of my life. I was super excited to visit Eastern Canada. Then, a few weeks before the trip, it was cancelled; Covid was a thing … a scary thing. It was safest for everyone to cancel that conference.
Between 2020 and 2023, SAQA continued to have conferences, but they were virtual. I didn’t participate in those online events because it involved too much computer time. During those years, I missed the connection with people who understood the life of an art quilter. People to talk to without having to explain the details. When SAQA announced a re-do of the Toronto in-person conference, I had to go.
The conference proved to be all that I expected (that is, minus the delayed flight and subsequent lost luggage). It was fun to catch up with old friends, make new friends and be inspired by the presentations. I even got to be a runway model for Chunghie Lee’s “Bojagi Walk” (see her Pinterest images)
I think it is important to be inspired by other creative people, but it is equally important to be with like-minded people. To me exploring a city with people who appreciate the same things is a bonus to these events. Trying a iconic local restaurant, exploring street art, visiting museums, and exploring textile exhibits were all enhanced by the company I kept on the journey.
Its all about finding your tribe. It has been challenging to connect with people the last few years, but I’m glad I went. For me, it fed my soul. It is important to step away, walk outside my comfort zone, and experience new things. And, if we’re open to it, the energy will fill our souls.