2020 SAQA Conference - MoSAiQA

2020 Conference

NOTE: The 2020 SAQA Conference in Toronto was converted into SAQA's first Virtual Conference due to the COVID19 situation.

That is where SAQA’s 2020 Conference: moSAiQA will be happening! Join us March 19-22, 2020 for our annual conference held at the Hilton Toronto in the centre of this dynamic city.  

Toronto is a vibrant, cosmopolitan, prosperous, funky, global village. It is Canada’s premier city, a major hub for government, transportation, business, education, entertainment, architecture, medicine and industry. Within easy walking distance are many galleries, museums, restaurants, shops and miles of safe streets. Plan on taking some extra time to explore, and before you arrive check out our list of things to do while visiting.

Known for its cultural diversity, Toronto is home to people from around the world, and this has created a cityscape of inclusion and international flair where there is room at the table for everyone. The theme of the conference is moSAiQA - a reflection of the many diverse global, artistic, ethnic and cultural elements that make both SAQA and Canada wonderful.  

Conference Update

Due to increasing concerns about the coronavirus, the SAQA Board decided that we should not risk asking everyone to travel to Toronto for the annual conference. This decision was made after reviewing the recommendations of various government entities in addition to receiving many emails from our members.

With the support of our members, volunteers, donors, sponsors, and staff, we were able to have the conference virtually!

Who would have believed that this virtual format could even come close to capturing the meaningful personal connections that our members love about our physical conferences?  Everyone seemed to love the content and seemed almost giddy with excitement over the unexpected personal connections - that they really were “with their peeps.”

Conference Schedule

Thursday (March 19)

All times are US/CAN Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4) Time Zone Converter

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM 

Welcome and Ice Breaker

SAQA President Lisa Walton will open our first ever Virtual Conference, and we will go to small conversation rooms for meet & greet, sharing thoughts, addressing some topics of mutual interest, and more.  You'll be whisked into three of these rooms - virtual speed dating!  The Spotlight Auction will open, and we'll talk you through the process to bid. 

New to Zoom or just have questions? Then join us early (starting at 6:15pm) to get more details and a chance to test your technology. We do encourage you to read our FAQs first as we cannot troubleshoot all video/audio problems remotely.  

This event takes place in the Meeting Room and will not be recorded.   


Friday (March 20)

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Grab a cup of coffee and join Executive Director Martha Sielman for our first full day of the Virtual Conference. We'll find out how the auction is going and give you the line up for the day.


11:15 AM - 12:15 PM 

Mother Tongue, Motherhood, and Transculturation - Shin-Hee Chin

Shin-hee Chin will reflect on how a diasporic artist perceives, negotiates, and articulates her cultural identity as an Asian American female artist. Utilizing reclaimed quilts as canvases and stitching as mark making, her work is an effort to re-valorize women's labor and work by reinterpreting them as a positive creative act.

The slow nature of these techniques seems to reenact the creative process of birthing. Indeed, the process testifies that the cultural phenomenon often referred to as transculturation has always been part of our mundane life and activity as exemplified by varied culinary and musical practices.


15 Minute Break

12:30 pM - 1:30 PM

The Zen of Threads  - Consuelo Jimenez Underwood

In her keynote address, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood will examine the creative process of the fiber artist. How does one find and construct ideas with beauty, grace, AND instill a powerful message to the viewer? How do you decide? What form? Which material? What process? Should you pierce? Intersect? Wrap? These questions and more will be discussed.


1:30 PM - 2:15 PM 

Community & Conversation

Join other SAQA members in the Meeting Room to talk about what we've seen during the first part of the day, find out how it's going for you, and get in a little networking.

This event takes place in the Meeting Room and will not be recorded. 

15 Minute Break


2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Handwork, Heartwork, and Homework: Adventures in Long-distance Collaboration

In 2016, friends and established artists Penny Berens and Judy Martin engaged emerging curator Miranda Bouchard to co-develop an exhibition of new works. This lecture explores their collaborative, intergenerational process.

Miranda's sensibility and artistic training/background lend a knowledgeable, contemporary perspective to the process that broadens and encourages the individual practices of these senior artists. This is a unique, intergenerational project that extends beyond looking at and appreciating the work into stitching together, passing knowledge and appreciation on through direct and immersive mentorship, and experience in the process of making.   


3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Are You a "Green" Fibre Artist? - Bridget O'Flaherty

Are you environmentally aware and looking for green options? Join Bridget for an in-depth look at what your options are and let's discuss the costs of being green. From organic fabric and recycled content threads, to natural fibres and dyes, there are a lot of options, but where do you find them and how do you know what to look for? Find out how to reduce your environmental impact as an artist, crafter, or a business owner. Learn how and why you should do your part to help save the planet, one stitch at a time.


15 Minute Break


4:45 PM - 5:45 PM

Brand Yourself by Learning About the “U” in You - Dan Mariani

You and your Art are inseparable and complementary. You reflect your Art and your Art reflects You. Attend this presention to get a better understanding of who you are, and how to promote yourself - your personal brand - your target, how you differ from other artists. This knowledge will help you reach your career and artistic goals.

5:45 PM - 6:45 PM

Tracking Your Artwork Using GYST - Kris Sazaki

Keeping track of your artwork is a critical aspect of exhibiting and selling your work. In this session, Kris Sazaki will demonstrate how she uses the software program GYST (Getting Your Sh*t Together) to document all the pieces the Pixeladies create (size, date, price, etc.), their exhibition records, and their availability. She will also show you how she creates inventory lists for exhibitions, maintains artist statements, and records buyer information.

Even if you do not plan to use this specific software program, you will gain a better understanding of what to consider when documenting your own artwork.


6:45 PM - 7:00 PM

Closing Remarks


We'll briefly recap the day's activities and preview the evening fun.



7:15 PM - 9:00 PM   

Friday Night IN 

Drop into the Meeting Room to share what you experienced today with other attendees. Let's check in on the Spotlight Auction, where the first four tables will close. We'll cover some topics of mutual interest & entertainment, take a couple of critical polls (apolitical!) and network.  

This event takes place in the Meeting Room and will not be recorded. 


Saturday  (March 21)

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM


Start the day again with Martha Sielman and prepare yourself for another day of excellent speakers!

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM

Purposeful Quilting: Communities at Work

Four activist artists, each with a strong background in community projects, will share their experiences on the art, organization, and passion it takes for meaningful community projects. Berene Campbell (Toronto Love Project), Andrea Tsang Jackson (The Here and Elsewhere Bee), Tina Struthers (Indompté/Untamed), and Laurie Swim (Hope and Survival Memorial Quilt) will give insights on this challenging and impactful process. Their combined experiences showcase how awareness and social change can be promoted through collaborative art that celebrates of our diverse communities.


15 Minute Break


12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Making a Life

Melanie Falick will speak to us about her experiences researching her new book Making a Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Are Meant to Live, which involved traveling to meet makers across the world, and how that journey clarified her understanding of the human instinct for handwork and energized her to promote its power to give our lives authenticity and meaning in ever-widening circles. 

1:45 PM - 2:30 PM

Community & Conversation

Join other SAQA members in the Meeting Room. Bring your lunch!

This event takes place in the Meeting Room and will not be recorded. 


15 Minute Break


2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Lightning Talks

Each speaker creates a presentation of 20 slides and then speaks about each slide for 20 seconds. This results in a fast-paced informative presentation that is six minutes and 40 seconds long.

  • Gunnel Hag - Extraordinary Prints from Ordinary Objects
  • Christine Hager-Braun - The Alchemy of Resilience - from Personal Growth to Artistic Voice
  • Maggy Rozycki Hiltner - Every Stitch Counts/Count Every Stitch 
  • Jenny K. Lyon - The Quiet Beauty of the Imperfect 
  • Regina Marzlin - The “Dress (de) Code” Project – Empowering Young Women through Textile Art   
  • Sue Sherman - Penguins! 
  • Nancy Turbitt - Hanging by a Thread: Using Art to Advocate   


3:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Colour with a U Virtual Slideshow

Colour with a U is a juried exhibition of art quilts created by Canadian members. Thirty-five artists have reflected on the theme of diversity and inclusion to give “colourful” representations of the Canadian cultural identity. Each offers an individual perspective on how we as Canadians see ourselves in our social, historical and physical landscape.


15 Minute Break


5:00 PM - 5:45 PM

Cut up your Quilt: Application of kirigami approaches to fiber art - Shannon Conley

Kirigami is the Japanese paper art that employs cutting in addition to folding. Shannon Conley has recently begun applying kirigami approaches to her three-dimensional art quilts. In this presentation, she will show you how she has been utilizing kirigami-inspired ideas, share challenges and solutions, and provide resources for you to learn more about this topic. 


5:45 PM - 6:30 PM

SAQA: Today and Tomorrow - Deborah Boschert  

Learn more about OUR organization! SAQA Board Vice President Deborah Boschert will talk about the exciting SAQA programs of today, including: exhibitions, regional highlights, member education, and publications. She will also provide an overview of SAQA's strategic initiatives for tomorrow as she steps into the role of SAQA President after the Toronto conference.


6:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Closing Remarks   

Join SAQA president Lisa Walton as she passes her crown to our next president Deborah Boschert.


7:15 pM - 9:00 PM

Conference Finale

Last chance to bid on beautiful pieces from the Spotlight Auction. Be ready to watch the fun and slip your winning bids in. We'll network and hear from each other in a comfortable relaxed finale to our conference.

This event takes place in the Meeting Room and will not be recorded. 



All registered attendees will get access to the following pre-recorded presentations after the live event:

Selections from HERstory: A Celebration of Strong Women - Susanne Jones
Meet Susanne Jones and hear about why she created this amazing exhibition and book celebrating strong women from around the globe.

Art Quilt Elements: History and a sneak peek at this year’s event - Cindy Friedman
Cindy Friedman was one of the founders of Art Quilt Elements and has run it for over 20 years.  Hear about how it started, see highlights of the exhibitions, and find out what their plans are for this year’s event.

New Acquisitions at the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska - Carolyn Ducey
IQM has launched an exciting acquisition program to build their collection of art quilts. The launch involved award winners from Quilt National. See the amazing treasures that they’ve added to their collection and what their plans are for the future!

Conference Donors

To offset potential losses, we reached out to our Visionary supporters and asked them to consider making a one-time gift. We also asked our conference attendees to consider donating back all or part of their registration fee.

The following individuals made cash donations:

Margaret Abramshe, Rhonda Baldwin, Elizabeth Bamberger, Diana Bartelings, Nancy Bavor, Stephen Berkenfeld, Margaret Blank, Julie Bohnsack, Esther Brabec, Judith Content, Sherri Culver, Lisa Ellis, Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry, Marvin Fletcher, Cynthia Fowler, Judith Quinn Garnett, Cindy Grisdela, Jackie Heupel, Tina Hilton, Cathie Hoover, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Jenny K. Lyon, Therese May, Shirley Neary, Candice Phelan, Dorothy Raymond, Barbara Schneider, Martha Sielman, Jennifer Solon, Katie Stiassni, Marianne R. Williamson

These conference attendees chose to donate all or a portion of their registration fee:

Robert Bein, Heather Bennett, Susan Bianchi, Arlene Blackburn, Christina Blais, Margaret Blank, Helen Blumen, Deborah Boschert, Miranda Bouchard, Sharon Boucher, Susan Boyer, Holly Brackmann, Sonja Campbell, Deb Cashatt, Shin-hee Chin, Shannon Conley, Vicki Conley, Paulette Cornish, Deborah Cowan, Millie Cumming, Vivika DeNegre, Heather Dubreuil, Carolyn Ducey, Lisa Ellis, Susan Else, Sarah Entsminger, Joyce  Ferrie, Margaret Filiatrault, Robin Fischer, Marvin Fletcher, Cynthia D Friedman, Jayne Gaskins, Mary Louise Gerek, Mita Giacomini, Pat Gould, Cara Gulati, Sharon Hamlin, Terry Hartzell, Carolyn Higgins, Greta Hildebrand, Jaynie Himsl, Linda Ingham, Lisa Jenni, Karen Johnson, Kathy Johnson, Jennie Johnston, Debra Kay, Jill Kerttula, Frank Klein, Joan Kilpatrick, Gul Laporte, Cat Larrea, Lisa Lauch, Tracey Lawko, Judy Leslie, Jenny K. Lyon, Edith MacGregor, Wendy MacKinnon, Jeanne Marklin, Janet Marney, Judy Martin, Regina Marzlin, Sally Maxwell, Carol McCann, Sherri Lipman McCauley, Dale McMillan, Dolores Miller, Karen Miller, Joanne Misener, Susie Monday, Elisabeth Nacenta, Amy Nelson, Nysha Oren Nelson, Bobbe Nolan, Katie Pasquini Masopust, Carrie Payne, Paula Perri, Candice Phelan, Dawn Piasta, Marika Pineda, Heather Pregger, Dorothy Raymond, Martha Ressler, Mary Ann Rich, June Robertson, Maggy Rozycki Hiltner, Lisa-Marie Sanders, Helena Scheffer, Anne Severn, Maria Shell, Marion Shimoda, Candace Hackett Shively, Sue Siefkin, Martha Sielman, Sarah Ann Smith, Anne Solomon, Jennifer Solon, Carol Stanley, Kathy Suprenant, Linda Syverson Guild, sandra teepen, Jan Tetzlaff, Judith Trager, Gwyned Trefethen, Andrea Tsang Jackson, Nancy Turbitt, Jean Tutolo, Linda Van Gastel, Maggie Vanderweit Meredith, Desiree Vaughn, Kit Vincent, Lisa Walton, Betty Warner, Laura Wasilowski, Allison Wilbur, Marianne Williamson, Martha Wolfe

Thank you to everyone!

Thank you to our Conference Sponsors

Conference Sponsors

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