Tuesday, March 1, 2011

SAMA in Austin, Texas!

I’ve finally gotten a moment to breathe and post about my experience at the SAMA conference in Austin, Texas. It was great fun! I took three workshops: Mosaic Portraiture with Carol Shelkin, Designing and Presenting Sculptural Mosaics with Sherri Warner Hunter, and
Finding Your Voice with Pamela Irving.

I looooved Carol’s workshop. She is an amazing teacher. So warm, so personal, so smart and talented! I only got one eye done on my portrait of Jack, but that is what she expected of us. It was difficult for me. I had a hard time committing to gluing anything down. And then when I did, I’d pick it up and redo it again anyway. I was the only one doing a portrait of somebody I knew. The rest were using photos that Carol supplied. And in hindsight, I would have picked one of her photos instead of Jack because I wouldn’t care how the mosaic turned out of somebody I didn’t know. It would be more of an exercise, and practice. With Jack, I wanted it to be beautiful and perfect. So I think what I will do is make a portrait of somebody I don’t know first, to practice and experiment and play, and then do Jack.

Sherri was great and her class was very informative. I took it to see if I thought I might be interested in learning to make sculptural mosaics in the near future. While I would love to mosaic a pre-made sculpture some day, I’m pretty sure now that I don’t want to learn how to make the sculptures themselves.

Pam was such fun, so charming and talented. We worked very spontaneously on a portrait using materials we were to bring that had meaning, for instance, dishes that belonged to a loved one. I didn’t have anything like that to bring, so I brought materials that I didn’t generally use so at least I’d be doing something different from what I usually do. While this approach was fun, I prefer using stained glass and millefiori, as well as planning out my mosaics a little in advance.
I really enjoyed the mosaic salon where we got to bid on each other’s mosaics. My cat mosaic sold to a sweet woman from Kansas. (She happened to be visiting her daughter in my area today so stopped by to visit!)

I did spend more at the marketplace than I intended! I thought I’d just buy mille and be done, but there were a couple new vendors and I found some really beautiful glass fusions from Helios Glass and some pretty square tiles from Mosaic Outpost.

The mosaic exhibition was pretty nice. A bunch of us went a couple days early. Karen Ami did a gallery talk which was great – lots of participation all around. She wanted to know our thoughts, too. It was nice because it wasn’t crowded and you could really get a good look and take photos. Here's one of my favorites, Beautiful Day by Carol Shelkin.

There were some interesting presentations this year, including a panel talk on What is a Mosaic? It has brought up further discussion on CMA, if anyone is interested in following along.

I participated in the tesserae exchange and got some really unique pieces. I won at the raffle for the first time in three years! My prize was some green smalti, which was a particular green I wasn’t interested in, so I traded with Crystal Thomas for her win, a book by Martin Cheek that I didn’t have.
And what would a SAMA conference be without a PJ party and the closing party with lots of dancing! And of course, I had a great time hanging out with my buddies. :)
On my way home, going through security, my carry-on bag was subjected to a random search. (You need to know, I’m not a big traveler at all!) The first thing she asks me is, “Do you have anything sharp in here?” Hahahahahaaa. Um, yes. A few tools and lots and lots of stained glass… I said, “Maybe a tool?” I tried to point to where the tool was and she yelled, “Don’t put your hands in there!!” Yikes! So she confiscated one of my pairs of nippers (for ceramic tile, which I never use), but not the other one (my favorite!), which was about ¼” shorter! The funny thing is the nippers were in a bag with all of my stained glass. She didn’t even see the glass! It just goes to show, if you lie to security, you might get away with it, hahaha.


  1. Thanks for sharing Christine. I really enjoyed reading about SAMA Conference. One year I might make it back.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences AND your feelings about them --hearing your personal reactios to the workshops makes reading about SAMA that much more intetesting! Sometimes TSA is just so...random.

  3. Hello Christine, I loved your description of the SAMA Conference, it seems an event full of knowledge sharing and of course fun!
    I loved your description of the workshops, made me want to go too!


  4. Thanks for reading my post, friends!

  5. Always Christine !

    ah ah ah ah :)

  6. oh wow, you sure were busy :) looks like a lot of fun!

  7. i still think that is so funny about the nippers. At least you didn't lose the faves.

  8. It was fun, Megan, thanks for reading my post. :)
    I know, Rayna, I'm glad I got to keep my faves! It is pretty funny that they didn't notice my glass or dental picks.