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2020 SAQA Conference - Speakers & Presenters 


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Keynote Speaker

Consuelo Jimenez Underwood

Consuelo Jimenez Underwood

The Zen of Threads  

In her closing 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.


Fiber artist and weaver Consuelo Jimenez Underwood is known for her large wall installations and woven works. Themes of layered identity, borderlines, and interconnectedness have naturally found their way into Jimenez Underwood’s body of work. She has mounted many solo exhibitions and is represented within the collections of museums such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.

In addition to her active studio practice, Jimenez Underwood has years of experience as an educator. She taught at San Jose State University for 20 years, serving as the head of their fiber/textile area from 1989 to 1996. She was also a 2014 Artist Laureate for Silicon Valley Creates and was featured in the 2012 “Threads” episode of Craft in America on PBS. Consuelo Jimenez Underwood was named an Emerging Talent by the American Craft Council in 1987, and she was elected a Fellow in 2018.

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Other Speakers

Shin-hee Chin

Shin-hee Chin

Mother Tongue, Motherhood, and Transculturation

Shin-hee Chin will reflect 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.

Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Shin-hee Chin received her BFA and MFA from Hong-Ik University. Shortly after, she immigrated to the United States with her husband and raised two children while earning her MA in Fiber Arts from California State University at Long Beach.

As an educator for 15 years, Chin has taught drawing, painting, color theory, and mixed media at Tabor College in Kansas. She was elected as Distinguished Faculty at Tabor College in 2008. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.

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Miranda Bouchard

Miranda Bouchard with Penny Berens & Judy Martin

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.  

The curator and artists would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Miranda Bouchard is a Northern Ontario-based artist, artistic director and independent curator. Her current work is deeply informed by textile art, community-engaged practice and intergenerational connection. 

Penny Berens (Nova Scotia) and Judy Martin (Northern Ontario) are two of Canada’s leading contemporary artists working in hand stitch and natural dyes. Both create large embroidered wall pieces and sculptural constructions inspired by and coloured by nature, and are currently producing new work for a second exhibition together. 

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Other Presenters

Dan MarianiDan Mariani

Brand Yourself by Learning About the “U” in You

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.

Dan Mariani has 45 years of marketing experience on all aspects of marketing, including relationship, brand image, and loyalty. His passion is consumer behaviour and why we do what we do. He believes that that the more you know about yourself, the more you will understand the uniqueness of those you communicate with, for better communication - a means to an end.

Bridget O'FlahertyBridget O'Flaherty

Are You a "Green" Fibre Artist?

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, recycled content threads, 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.

Inspired by nature and biodiversity, Bridget O'Flaherty is best known for her stunning large landscapes created with thread. With an environmental and sustainability focus, she explores the use of local, organic and natural hand-dyed fabrics and materials in her works. An award-winning artist with over 25 years' experience in the fibre art world,
O'Flaherty work is showcased in national galleries, private collections and she teaches and lectures internationally.

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Tracking Your Artwork Using GYST

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.

Kris Sazaki makes up one half of the Pixeladies art studio. Along with her with creative partner, Deb Cashatt, she focuses on text collages that are rendered in cloth. She and Deb create everyday objects and imbue them with (often political) meaning using found words and phrases. The Pixeladies also teach online Photoshop classes geared toward fiber artists and their creative and business needs. One of Kris's duties in the Pixeladies studio is to maintain the inventory of artwork.  

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Melanie FalickMelanie Falick

Making a Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Are Meant to Live 

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. 

Melanie Falick is an independent writer, editor, and creative director—and a lifelong maker. She is the author, mostly recently, of Making a Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Are Meant to Live, as well as several other titles, including the seminal Knitting in America and the bestselling Kids Knitting, with over 450,000 books in print.

She is the former publishing director of STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books, an imprint of Abrams, where she spearheaded books by such esteemed authors as Natalie Chanin, Kaffe Fassett, Roderick Kiracofe, Denyse Schmidt, and Sherri Lynn Wood. She lives in the Hudson River Valley in New York State, where she recently curated a sold-out Maker Film Festival that included feature-length and short films, panel discussions, and a maker’s market, all investigating and celebrating the role of making by hand in our lives today. Follow her on Instagram @melaniefalick and visit her website:




Shannon Conleyshannon conley

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

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.

Shannon Conley is an art quilter and fiber artist in Moore, OK, whose work is informed by her experience as a cell biologist and biochemist.  She runs a biomedical research lab at a large university and ideas for her pieces often arise from scientific research from her lab or others.  She has been artistic her whole life, and art quilts have been her primary medium since 2009.

Much of her recent work has focused on interpreting the diversity and interconnectedness of various ecosystems using fabric and stitching.  She grew up in southern New Mexico, and retains a strong connection to the dry mountains and high desert, areas that frequently appear in her ecology and nature-inspired pieces.  Though her practice originates with traditional quiltmaking techniques, these approaches are often expanded to include the use of non-traditional fibers and fiber-like materials, as well as other media/design approaches including surface design, sculpting, and cutwork.



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.

Critique Panelists

A Vancouver based modern quilt designer, Berene Campbell has initiated a number of community projects that have brought quilters across the globe together as a collective community. These impactful projects have comforted communities and raised thousands of dollars for women's causes around the world.

Andrea Tsang Jackson is a Halifax-based artist, designer and author who uses her artwork
to explore place, belonging, and agency.The Here & Elsewhere Bee was the output of her 2017 artist residency at the Canadian Museum of Immigration and was awarded 1st Place in the Group/Bee Quilt category at QuiltCon 2018.

Tina Struthers is a Canadian visual and textile artist whose artwork focuses on human impact on global societies and environments. She has developed more than 40 community arts and cultural mediation projects in the Montreal region. Her work has been exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally, in solo and group exhibitions.

A prize-winning textile artist from Nova Scotia, Laurie Swim has combined fine art and public advocacy, initiating many large scale community-made quilts with volunteers. Her works grace public and private collections throughout North America.
She has also written three books on the quilt as art.  


Presented by 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.


Please note: Toronto Presentations by Chunghie Lee, Pat Pauly, and Lorraine Roy will not be part of the Virtual Conference.


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