Linda Gass "Severely Burned: Impact of the Rim Fire on the Tuolumne River Watershed" (detail)

Devotion: Sewing the Sacred Exhibition in Print

It’s hard to believe we are less than a week away from the submission deadline (June 15th) for our 2020 International Exhibition in Print, Devotion: Sewing the Sacred! I wanted to share some “behind the scenes” thoughts on how Jovencio de la Paz (Artist, Weaver, Educator, and Guest Juror) and I, Lauren Sinner (SDJ Managing Editor) arrived at this year’s theme and what it means to us.

When Jovencio and I were initially discussing possible topics, the concept of devotion kept rising to the surface of our conversations. Devotion for us, refers to dedication to and the ritual of creating textile works and objects of labor. There is an inherent slowness or rhythm to the making process. It is a laborious task where one becomes attached to and imbued within your work. When we refer to the sacred, we are thinking of the act of getting lost in the making process and also the dedication and focus it takes to create a piece. My personal frame of reference for this year’s theme is about trust, care, and love for my craft (rather than a traditional religious garment).

Sewing the sacred is also a process-based reference where any technique can be substituted: be it weaving the sacred, printing the sacred, knitting the sacred, and so on.

Reflective questions on the theme could be:

  • Where do you find ritual in your creative practice? And how does that come through in the work you make?
  • In addition to mark making or technical choices of creating a piece, how do you permeate the physical boundaries of your work? In other words, what part of you is captured in a piece?
  • When you sit with something for a long time, do you feel a deeper connection to it?
  • Is there a sense of the spiritual in the making process? How does that come through in your work ?

As makers, we often ask ourselves “What does devotion look like in a material form?” There are the purposeful acts and other behaviors that we perform out of ritual and habit. The cycle and repetition of daily life can sometimes seem mundane, forgettable, and otherwise ordinary. Perhaps through these repetitive and devotional processes, we can begin to see something meaningful, surprising, and even sacred emerge in the humble routines of handwork and daily life. The idea that a link exists between the sacred and the mundane is a constant and universal theme within the human story. This year’s Exhibition in Print seeks to reveal these narratives and invites artists to explore the theme as it manifests in their particular and idiosyncratic lives.

We’re really excited to see what this year’s theme inspires in you! The annual Exhibition in Print is a special Journal where we get to showcase the amazing and diverse work of our members. With many exhibitions being cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19, this is an excellent way to exhibit your work from the safety of your home.

Important dates and facts:

  • Deadline to submit: Monday, June 15
  • There will be 7 Award Winners (receive a 3-page spread)
  • There will be 20 Featured Artists (receive a 1-page spread)
  • Award Categories:
    • Surface Design Award
    • Guest Juror Award
    • Material Exploration Award
    • Next Generation Award
    • Innovation in Technique Award
    • Innovative Installation Award
    • Modern meets traditional Award


Please reach out if you have any questions at all!

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