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Wednesday, July 18

NIADA 2007

Well, I am back from my first NIADA conference. And very tired. But it was a fun weekend...

Ugly carpetFriday: My flight put me into Detroit around 6 am. Bleery eyed, I found myself on a van on my way to the Thrifty Rent-a-car center. I waited in line for what seemed like forever (there was only one person working the counter). While trying to decided if it was possible to sleep while standing up, I heard the attendant say that they only had minivans left. Greeeaaat. Me and a minivan, in downtown Detroit. But just as I stepped up to the counter, an far too peppy man handed the attendant keys to a new, clean, shiny Dodge Avenger. Sunburst orange, sunroof and all. And all mine.

I managed not to get lost from the airport to downtown. I found the parking garage, and got to the hotel ten minutes before registration started. This left me with enough time to splash some water on my face, and grab a bagel and a cup of tea (CAFFEINE!) from the table before signing in. I couldn't help but notice how much the god-awful-ugly carpet in the conference rooms hurt my sleep deprived eyes. Cant...look...away...

I got my badge and packet of info, and headed into to check out the Swap Meet. I was very excited to see all the goodies for sale for cheap. I picked up some glass eyes, silk fabric squares, and a little darling Bunting Baby from Annie Wahl. It took a lot of self control not to by up the whole lot of silk squares, they looks so COLORFUL laying there on the table, begging me to buy them all, and take them home. No!

Orientation was quick. Mary Ellen Frank lead a discussion on photography--why it is so important it is for selling online, and submitting to juries and magazines. Afterward, we all headed up to the Skyline room for a yummy buffet lunch up on the roof, surrounded by the skyline of downtown Detroit. It was so nice to sit down and relax with other artist and collectors, and find out home much we had in common. I felt so at home with them, we were all so alike. I was able to carry on a serious conversation about making dolls, with out having to stop and define my terms every few seconds. Why that surprised me, I'm not sure, but it did. I found myself sitting next to Noni (Antoinette) Cely, and we got talking about our husbands (both video editors) and how their work had changed since so many people are now their own amateur movie makers. It was so refreshing!

After lunch, it was time to set up for the critique. Gulp. After setting up my doll, and then tried to run around with the camera to get pictures of everyone else's work. I quickly realized how completely outclassed I was by everyone. There were some amazing dolls there. NIADA artists got first chance to walk through first, and write down comments and suggestions for each artist on paper. After they were done, everyone else at conference got to walk through while we stood next to our dolls. I think this was the hardest part for me. I was already very self conscious, feeling like a mouse among lions. Every time some one walked by and didn't interact with my doll, I felt like climbing into a little hole. Thankfully, those people I had meet earlier in the day did make an effort to stop by and talk to me. This was encouraging, but I still felt so out of place. Needless to say, I was extremely nervous about the one-on-one critique coming next. But Stephanie Blythe, and Diane Keeler were wonderful. They started the time with a big smile, and, "We won't bite!"

Diane and Stephanie had the perfect balance of criticism and compliments. They said I already had a good sense of scale (size of print, fabric, bead, etc), that my proportions were great, and Elli's hands were very good. Diane said I had tackled a lot of the basics, but now had to keep working on the details. They suggested that I use better materials--like silks and natural fabrics--tone down the bright colors, and work on my anatomy. They also thought the piece would work better if it was on one base, that connected the two figures, which I have to agree.

After the critique was over, heaved a sigh of relief, and ducked out of the conference to meet my sister and her family for dinner in Ann Arbor. We ate at Outback, while I tried to not fall asleep in my salad.

Saturday: Demos! There were three hours of demonstrations done by various artist Saturday morning. There were demos on sculpting hands, painting eyes, making felt hats, using Alley Goop for making molds, and a few others. I think this was my favorite part of the conference--being able to see other artist at work, and realized that we aren't all the different. I took home a long shopping list of new things to pick up and play with.

The rest of the day was filled with various discussions (Ebay and You!), and the "Over the Moon Challenge". I added some new artist to my long list of Favorite Artist after seeing the challenge dolls. I fell in love with Olga Roehl's doll--she is a new artist to NIADA, and I think I will be following her work very closely. Her use of colors, and stylized figures are just inspirational.

I had enough time before the banquet to take a little nap in my car, and change into my dress. The food was very good, and desert even better! We were supposed to receive our souvenir dolls at the banquet, but tragically, they weren't ready. With the recent passing of her mother, and mishaps with the casting process, Forest had to report to us that the dolls were not ready in time. But we should receive them in the mail soon! She gave us a picture of the doll....I can't hardly wait, it is so beautiful! You all will have to though, I won't show you a picture until it is in my hands!

Sunday: Sunday was the day for the Show and Sale. Since I had missed the gallery night Thursday, I was very excited to be able to see the dolls the NIADA artists had brought. Also, the Miniature Exhibit was up for the public to view. Such beautiful, TINY work, I can't imagine creating things so small, and so perfect.

I left the show, with lots of inspiration flying around my head, my fingers itching to get to work. And a bunch of new friends. And I hardly got lost at all!

More pictures on my website:

Next year, NIADA will be in Vegas, July 24-28. Mark your calendars! The challenge will be: Cirque Du Soleil

1 comment:

luminarumbra said...

Yay! I'm glad you came back safely and had a good time!