When Connie Fahrion talks about the Beaumont Area Fiber Artists (BAFA), she sounds proud, but takes little ownership of the group that has emerged in this east Texas area. And yet, Connie, alongside Sylvia Weir, played an active role in building community for this group of now-avid art quilters.
Before moving back to Nederland, Connie spent 14 years in Houston enjoying a vibrant art quilt community. She attended monthly SAQA meetings that included a member-led program topic, and Connie kept track of what worked with that group. She came to the Beaumont area with a huge accumulation of design exercises to share with new art quilters she met at the traditional guild.
Connie found that she didn’t have to explain SAQA to the new art quilters other than to say, “If you would like to explore an art focus with your work, SAQA really is the place to be. You really aren’t going to find that in the traditional guild.”
The very first year, BAFA hosted a gallery exhibit of art quilts, which allowed the members a chance to share early projects and look to the future to develop a larger body of work. This year, the BAFA members have scheduled various activities to support a specific focus on art. As a group, they are journaling on paper and fabric. They are visiting museums and using those excursions as the foundation for art quilt discussions and projects.
When Connie talks about SAQA recruitment, she isn’t thinking so much about what the future holds for SAQA, which is fair. She’s just thinking about what she can pass on to the next generation of art quilters.
You can read more about Connie and her summaries of the BAFA meetings on her blog, Fiber Speak.