Sofia Maria Paz
SGCI, Take #2
Last year I got to attend SGCI in Knoxville, TN after having won a best in show prize's travel grant to attend the conference. I had such a wonderful time that desperately wished I could attend next year's in Portland, OR. However, I feared that I would not have the monetary funds to be able to do so. It was thanks to ASU's GPSA travel grant who made this dream come true for me. I am so incredibly grateful, since this trip turned out to be even more eventful than the last! Thank you GPSA!
Gosh, so much happened I'm not sure where to start... probably from the beginning right? OK, well, at the conference's welcoming address, John Risseeuw gave his thank you speech after receiving the Printmaker's Emeritus Award. I was so honored to sit in the first row as his research assistant. Weeks prior while we were working, John told me he was rather nervous about what he was going to talk about. The verdict? He hit it out o f the park! Way to go John!
I later visited Publisher's and Vendor's Fair to see my friends from Takach Printmaking supplies, and discover my print displayed on Speedball's winners' wall from their New Impressions competition. That is where I met Dave from Speedball, who had kindly been in contact with me via email on sending me and my intaglio class's monetary awards for my 2nd place prize. The conference only got better from there on, from contemporary panel talks to innovative demos using encaustic wax, vacuum molding sheets, and painterly stencil techniques. I also participated in the open portfolio again, where my very first pop-up book received a lot of attention and enthusiastic smiles.
The best part of my whole trip however, was getting to reunite with my screen printing mentor Tim High - the father I never had. We were inseparable, so now the whole printmaking community knows we are art father and art daughter! Together we ran into Jessica Spring and Cindy Iverson on numerous occasions. I even met some new wonderful printmakers as well including, David Newman, John Driesbach, and Michelle martin. They are all such wonderful people! Another one of my more interesting new acquaintances was getting to meet SGCI's founder, Boyd Sanders. After we finished having lunch together with Lee Chesney and Tim High, I told Boyd that it was my experience at SGCI which validated my decision of becoming a printmaker. He then reached out and gave me a huge hug! A perfect endnote to my trip (just two hours before my plane's departure).
I truly had a brilliant, eyeopening time in Portland, and I wish I could do it all over again. Years form now, if the committee decides to host SCGI there again, I highly recommend attending! However, whatever you do, do NOT take Portland's public transport system. When I took a bus to get over to the art school where the demos were being held, it ended up taking me across the river instead! And of coarse the bridge I had to take to cross back over on foot was covered with scaffolding. As I walked the one foot wide pathway between a menacing wall of scaffolding on my left and a perceptively short guardrail on my right I thought "This is the end! I'm never going to make it! I'm... Oh! that's a nice view [selfie time] ... Yep, this is end, I'm a goner!" Thankfully life still has a place for my overactive imagination.