I spent a large portion of my weekend reading class offerings at 2 upcoming decorative painting conventions. This year, SALI, (Stencil Artisans League, Inc.) is hosting their annual convention in Charleston, SC, July 21-26th. This is a great opportunity to network with other decorative painters, learn about new products at the Expo, and take some classes to add some new samples to my portfolio. The top decorative painters, nationally and internationally come to teach at the SALI conventions.
I have my issues with the SALI organization and the direction it has taken over the years. My two pet peeves at the moment are 1) the vague, non-descript Mission Statement they have recently adopted; and 2) the decision of the board to change the name from Stencil Artisans League Incorporated to one of the following: either International Organization of Decorative Artisans (IODA), or International Decorative Artists League (IDAL).
I am very disappointed and dismayed with this organization for making choices that, in my humble opinion, do not honor the history of this organization. I’ll just leave it at that for the moment. 😉
The three classes I am interested in taking are 2 that are being taught by Helen Morris of my favorite stencil source, the Stencil Library, and 1 taught by my other favorite stencil/modello designer, Melanie Royals, Royal Design Studios. Helen is teaching "21st Century Print Rooms" and "New Stencil Techniques". Melanie is teaching "Faux Marquetry Decor with Modellos". I hope I get into these classes! While there are many, many classes to choose from, I feel these best represent the type of work I like to do and what sells in this area. The emphasis is on all the plaster finishes at these conventions. I enjoy doing plaster finishes, but they are costly both in product and labor, and not an easy sell, at least in this area. If I had to survive on the number of plaster finishes I do in the course of a year, I’d be one hungry gal.
When I go to a SALI Convention I get the opportunity to connect with several members of my online Stencilers Group. This is a group of women from various parts of the country, who broke away from a larger online SALI chapter years ago. We have supported each other both personally and professionally for several years now, and many of us have never met! So… it’s always a thrill to get to meet another member or two and reconnect with others.
The second large convention that will be offered on the East Coast this year is the Decorative Arts Show/The Faux Event. This will be held in Atlantic City, NJ, September 7-13. Now, I do like many of the classes being offered here too, and it is a bit closer in location, but I do not have unlimited funds or time for these conventions and must do what I think is the better business decision for me.
Lastly, I will be attending a Convention in September in Delaware. This is the annual convention of Stencilers & Decorative Artists Guild or SDAG. This is mostly a social gathering and small in number compared to these 2 other events. I signed up to be on a committee to help organize this convention, and look forward once again this year, to connect with this fun group. Many in this group were the founding members of SALI and are very accomplished and respected stencilers. I am always in awe of their talents. Last year their Convention was in Providence and due to some health issues with my Mom, I was only able to attend 1 day. I had so much fun that I vowed to attend the entire convention this year.
More on these Conventions later.