2017 Conference - Keynote Speaker and Presenters 

We are pleased to have the following speakers and presenters for the 2017 Creation to Curation SAQA conference. View Schedule of Events


Michael James


40 Years in the Studio

Our keynote speaker Michael James serves as department chair and Ardis James Professor in Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. There he works closely with the International Quilt Study Center & Museum and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of foundation design, textile design and quilt studies.

A significant part of his creative endeavor is focused on integrating digital technology with textile design development and production. Michael has worked with all aspects of non-traditional quilt making as a studio medium. His textiles have been recognized and exhibited internationally.

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Marin F. Hanson

Quilts in Common: Quilting Across the Globe 

The IQSCM takes seriously its mission to collect and preserve quilts from all over the world. In this session, you will gain an overview of the IQSCM's international collecting efforts, in both studio art and traditional formats. You will also learn about the various strategies we employ for interpreting and exhibiting global quilts and patchwork, pieces that often display a range of aesthetic and physical attributes.

Marin F. Hanson is the IQSCM’s curator of exhibitions and is responsible for building and interpreting the museum’s non-Western collection. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Leicester (UK), focusing on cross-cultural quiltmaking practices, and in particular, quilts made for Chinese adoptees in the U.S. Marin is co-editor of American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870-1940, co-editor of the IQSCM’s website, World Quilts: The American Story, and has curated a variety of exhibitions at the IQSCM.  She has served on the board of the non-profit Quilt Alliance since 2009.



Breakout Session Presenters

Be the Juror: Experience first-hand how exhibitions are juried

Have you ever visited an art quilt exhibition and thought, “Why did they pick that piece???”  This is your chance to learn how the jurors work and try it for yourself. Martha Sielman, SAQA’s Executive Director, has been a juror and organized jurying for countless exhibitions. She will lead you through the entire jurying process: the first silent overview round; the second silent scoring round; and the third round filled with discussion with your fellow “jurors”.  

We guarantee that you’ll look at exhibitions very differently after you’ve experienced the process for yourself!  The results are never the same twice.  And if you are asked to serve as a juror in the future, you’ll know what to expect.

Martha Sielman is the Executive Director of SAQA. Most recently she was one of three jurors for Art Quilt Australia 2015, where the jurying was all done virtually since the other two jurors were in Australia.  She is also the author of five books on art quilts, including her new title: “Art Quilts International: Abstract & Geometric” (Schiffer 2016).

Martha Sielman

Corporate Secrets to Compelling, Effective Presentations

Learn how to make your presentations compelling, effective, and achieve the results you want. In this session, you will learn how to plan and deliver presentations to achieve your goals. Practice what you learn in the session on your own “elevator talk,” a 45-second introduction that you can use in many settings.  

We will start practicing right in the session so you can try out the skills. When you sign up for this session, you will receive an Elevator Talk worksheet to help you identify your goals, main points, and analyze your audience. In this part of the session, you will apply what you learn about planning and delivery to your own elevator talk and you can practice using a microphone. Facilitator guidance is available to anyone wanting a critique or suggestions. And, you can video your talk so you can critique it yourself using the session handout.  

Candice Phelan has helped hundreds of Fortune 50 executives hone their presentation skills - how to get across their message and accomplish their presentation goals with varied settings, audiences, and subject matter.   During her 25-year career with Lockheed Martin, she completed her Ph. D., and her results-focused Learning strategy won many awards. After being promoted to Corporate Director of Learning Services, she received the highest leadership award of the corporation. After retiring, Candice focused on her own art-quilting, helped others advance their own art-quilling talent, and was SAQA’s membership chair for two years. 

Candice Phelan

Museum Acquisitions

Collector Ardis James once said “A quilt has to speak to me. It hits me in the chest and says “Take me.”

One of the most often-asked questions museums receive is how and why they select particular art pieces for their collections. Join us for a lively discussion of acquisitions plans and procedures, facilitated by curators of quilt and/or art museums, including Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Wally Mason, director and chief curator at the Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Nancy Bavor, curator of collection and exhibits at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. A brief presentation by the panelists will address each institution’s acquisition processes, including discussion of how decisions are reached when considering new works for their collections. The discussion will be opened to questions from audience members following the presentations.

Carolyn Ducey (Panel Moderator) is curator of collections at the IQSCM. She oversees new acquisitions and ongoing care of the collection of more than 5,000 quilts. She has curated a number of exhibitions, including "Chintz Appliqué: From Imitation to Icon” and “The Collector’s Eye: Amish Quilts from the International Quilt Study Center Collections," and co-curated “Quilts in Common,” the inaugural exhibition of Center’s new museum. She is also author of the monograph Chintz Appliqué: from Imitation to Icon, (2008), co-author of What’s in a Name: Inscribed Quilts (2012), and a contributing author of Wild by Design: Two Hundred Years of Innovation and Artistry in American Quilts (2003).

Nancy Bavor is the Curator of Collections and Exhibits Coordinator at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in art history from Northwestern University and a Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a History of Textiles/Quilt Studies emphasis. Her thesis explores the origins and development of the art quilt in California. Nancy also serves on the Boards of the SAQA and The Alliance for American Quilts and is an American Quilter's Society Certified Appraiser.

Wally Mason is the director and chief curator at the Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Mason earned a master’s of fine art from Indiana University and was the director and chief curator of the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University. He has organized more than 60 exhibitions, including “Alfred Leslie: The Killing Cycle,” “Phillip Guston: Inevitable Finality,” “Tina Barney: The Europeans” and “John Marin’s Maine.”

Carolyn Ducey

Seeing the World through Quilts

In this interactive, multi-media session, participants will practice seeing into the worlds offered by quilts. UNL instructor of Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education Rita Hermann and IQSCM assistant curator of exhibitions Jonathan Gregory will share discoveries from their multi-year collaboration and provide participants an opportunity to look at quilts in ways that pull us through the surface and to ponder the world offered "in the cloth" of quilts.

An ongoing partnership between IQSCM and UNL educators has proven that, when students have the opportunity to look at/practice seeing quilts and are invited to question what they see "in the cloth,” the quilts reveal a world that opens a space for engagement. Whether studio works, international and ethnic bedcovers, or traditional American quilts, by “being invited into the cloth,” students have connected to real-world global and local issues, the subjectivities of personal experience and the process of making and finding meaning, and the relationships between pattern and structure in the physical and social world. 

Jonathan Gregory leads development and production of exhibitions at the IQSCM. Jonathan is co-editor of the IQSCM’s website, World Quilts: The American Story, and is a contributing author to various IQSCM. He has curated IQSCM exhibitions including Covering the War: American Quilts in Times of Conflict and The Engineer Who Could: Ernest Haight’s Half Century of Quiltmaking.

Rita Hermann has over a dozen years of experience teaching in a variety of K-16 educational settings around the country. In addition, she has developed programming for community organizations, collaborating with various museums, arts organizations, youth services, libraries, non-profits, indigenous Native populations, and visiting study abroad groups. Rita also teaches undergraduates in foundations courses and conducts research in art education.

Gregory Jonathan

Rita Hermann


Other Speakers / Panelists

Student Panel: Let it Happen: Iterative Design Basic

Moderated by Michael Burton with student panelists Meredith Bargman, Audrey Foster, and Naomi Snyder.

Local Artist Panel: Prairie Perspectives

Moderated by Shea Wilkinson with panelists Rhonda Baldwin, Jennifer Bockelman, Sarah Kolar, and Jane Marie

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