Official SGAA Summer Conference Start

Email by Elizabeth Steinebach on July 4, 2008
Categories Filed Under: ARTICLE

Official SGAA Summer Conference Start Image

My day started poorly, the head cold decided to take me for a nasty trip, where the vertigo and nausea drove me from my bed at some ungodly hour. The effects were temporary and so long as I sat upright, nothing wanted to move. I had only two and a half hours to wait before meeting Helmut, back in the classroom. So I rested, sitting up.

Since we had run out of time and the room needed to switch from a dalle classroom into a board room, we could not finish our dalle projects, the day before. Helmut had wanted to finish them and donate them to the auction, but unfinished projects would not do, so instead we had a class raffle. Whoever was up early and keen, could potentially draw a sample panel to take home. I was a lucky contestant and have the freestyle sample panel, made from the practice pieces rejected for the other panels. Truly unique and lovely, just the same.

The day progressed in a haphazard sort of way after that. The registration desk would not open until ten, more than and hour and a half away. Neither time really to go to San Francisco nor to do any Oakland exploring. A long breakfast wasn't what I was up for nor touring the wonderful market in Old Oakland, just next door. A little peek at some fabulous flowers, just at the edge of the market, was all I could manage.

Registration was not that big a deal. Most of us were wondering why the name tags, packages, t-shirts and bags couldn't have been handed out when we arrived at the front desk. There were raffle tickets to purchase, however most of the prize certificates would likely not be honored back in Canada. And unfortunately the auction table was very empty. Two blown glass angel figurines, two beautiful hand painted design renderings by Nick Parrendo and a stained glass looking quilt. It was a rather poor auction turnout.

The next option was to go to the Bendheim West open house. Luckily I had met up with Nidia Mezalick, who had her own car. She graciously offered me a drive, to and from the event. Others were not so fortunate. Because there was no organized transportation, it was up to you to organize a car pool type taxi trip, or carry the cost yourself. The BART public transportation system, easy and cost effective, however went nowhere near the place, so there was a bit of a trek involved. I suspect that the Bendheim people were a little disappointed with the small turnout, as many found it just too cumbersome, did not go. Which was a poor reflection on the SGAA, I thought, as Bendheim had prepared a wonderful luncheon and had many staff on hand for Q&A and tours.

Back at the hotel, I truly think no one was prepared for what was to launch the lectures. I suspect everyone had a psychedelic flashback when the lights were dimmed and the Age of Aquarius by the Fifth Dimension, stared playing. Rick Hoover arriving in a Romeo shirt, love beads, jet black hair, head band and bell bottoms, brought the room to it's knees. Smiling as if stoned on some mind expanding drug and handing out blue flowers to one and all, the summer of love hit the Marriott Calvin Simmons room. Rick's lecture was punctuated by photo collages as he talked about the political and social changes that influenced Oakland and San Francisco at that time and how it's creative expansion and thoughts of simplicity and love, started another subculture - stained glass. He finished his lecture with at least thirty images from our groovy forefathers including - Dan Fenton, Otto Rigan, among many many others.

I needed to rest and took time away from the discussion panel, that was to follow. I returned in time for the reception and welcome dinner. The foyer was slowly filling and instead of enjoying the members panels and display stands from various studios, there was much abashed kibitzing about the cost of a drink from the bar. Times certainly had changed. And so the attendance as well. I did a wander of the foyer and it just didn't seem that there were that many of us. Katei had said that there were only 68 full registrants, with just under 100 coming part-time, I wondered where they were hiding.

David Ruth was our key note speaker, an though perhaps not as "far out" as the earlier lecture, it was an interesting thought connection to the actual material we all use. His image essay on the beginnings of his Art Glass took us on the journey of opening a hot glass studio, to the trials and tribulations of the medium, to new work and how David found his artist expression, in the glass he makes. It was very impressive, that when asked, almost everyone present had some Ruth glass. I really liked having glass made personal and appreciated the artistry that David was trying to create in a sheet of glass, even before it gets into the hands of a stained glass artist. (Dennis, Tod and Jo, we need to talk to this guy!) My apologies to David as I was fading and didn't quite make it to the very end of the presentation. Over all, a very groovy day.

First Prize - members panel