…every surface has a structure and every structure has a surface.
The 1970s in the United States and abroad heralded a renewed interest in craft techniques and materials for personal expression and aesthetic awareness. In textiles, this resurgence of interest sparked the creation of fiber programs in colleges and universities.
The emphasis on weaving and other forms of fiber construction, however, overlooked the attention being paid to surface-oriented work among educators and artists in many parts of the country.
To offset this gap in information and practice, Elsa Sreenivasam (University of Kansas) and Patricia Campbell (Kansas City Art Institute) organized the first national Surface Design Conference at the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1976. The enthusiastic response--600 came when 200 were expected--affirmed the need for an organization to facilitate communication among artists, designers, scientists, students, and teachers.
Initial steps were taken to form an organization at this conference. In 1977, the Surface Design Association was founded to promote critical thinking about and education in surface design.
In its 35 years of existence, SDA has reached several milestones that have expanded awareness of surface design and broadened its focus to include constructed textiles as well as surface techniques. Among these milestones are:
1976 Institution of the Surface Design Conference, which brings together world-acclaimed textile artists, materials experts, scholars, and educators to inform members and the general public about advances in all areas of textiles through presentations, demonstrations and panels, as well as gallery and museum exhibitions
Publication of the Surface Design Journal as an 8-page, black-and-white newsletter that reported on the first conference, announced the formation of SDA, and gradually grew to a 76-page full-color magazine
1977 Incorporation of the Surface
Design Association in Minnesota as a 501c non-profit organization
1987 Addition of a quarterly SDA Newsletter
1999 Launch of the SDA website to serve as a central resource for the surface design community, including information on SDA exhibitions, events, textile suppliers, and educational opportunities
2002 Establishment of the SDA Award of Excellence given by an exhibition judge or curator to honor an exceptional work in surface design
2004 Establishment of the Small Event Grant to assist area reps present local events and exhibitions, and fund member projects
2006 Establishment of the Creative Promise Award for Student Excellence to provide career-building opportunities to SDA members
2008 Inauguration of collaborative regional conferences co-sponsored by SDA and Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)
Establishment of the Outstanding Student Award given by instructors to honor students’ textile art
Launch of the SDA eNews digital publication
2010 Launch of the SDA NewsBlog
Creation of SDA’s social networking sites on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
2011 Launch of the redesigned SDA website with increased resources and benefits for members and visitors to the site
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Send your textile arts news to:
SDAbuzz [at] surfacedesign [dot] org
PUNK: Chaos to Couture
Watch now: ARTS | KLRN Video
A local artist uses modern materials to weave creations representative of her roots.
Orly Genger in Madison Square Park / NYC
Orly Genger, an artist who deploys masses of rope in eye-popping ways, has created an installation of 3 enclosures for Madison Square Park.
Big score for use + visibility of textile mixed media...
Judy Pfaff Studio
In the Loop 3: Knitters Unite in UK
Whether or not you use looping techniques to express your ideas, you'll enjoy this glimpse of those who do. Let knitter Adrienne Sloane take you to a recent international confab in the UK, where she encountered lots of local color - along with some knitting royalty.
SDA Journal | Material/Science
Museum of the City of New York : When Fashion Danced