"Sandpiper Bird II" (detail)

SDA Year in Review: 2020

Thank you to everyone who made this year at SDA possible! Without the work from our dedicated staff, board, volunteers, committees, and members, none of this would have happened. 2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year, and the fact that anyone was still able to accomplish something is no small feat. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights from Surface Design Association for 2020.

Current Threads

Online Exhibition

Across centuries and generations, fiber complements a deeply human experience. It is a consistent presence in all communities and spans generations. This exhibition surveys the broad range of materials and processes utilized by SDA artists pursuing consistent ideas/themes over time. Curated by the SDA Membership Committee, Current Threads highlights a range of mediums, styles, and themes, reflecting the diversity and creative possibilities of contemporary practice. 

Teddy Milder Wall Constructions 2018, archival pigment digital mono-print on hand-made paper, stitched, lashed to paper-covered barbed wire, 11″ x 20″.

Interwoven: Collaboration in Fiber

Spring SDJ

“Collaboration can take on many forms. Artistically speaking, it can have the wondrous effect of strengthening community, at home or across the globe. The 2020 Spring edition of Surface Design Journal explores what happens when creative minds come together—whether through intimate exchanges between life-long collaborators or personal journeys that reveal the fruits of working together in unexpected ways—it is often remarked that we reach our fullest potential when we join forces.” – Elizabeth Kozlowski, SDJ Editor

Outstanding Student Awards

Each spring, SDA’s Outstanding Student Award is presented to students enrolled in accredited undergraduate or graduate programs at a college or university with a fiber focus. In 2020, this award was also opened to those enrolled in high school programs with a fiber focus. Instructors nominate students who have demonstrated inventive and innovative use of technique, materials, or concepts. 

Simone Saunders She Holds the Key 2020, natural and synthetic yarns on cloth, tufted, 62″ x 60″.

Congratulations to all 35 awardees! 

Kate Bickel, Riana Bovill, Megan Taylor Dunn, Olivia Edginton, Tobi Edwards, Tallulah Farrar, Elena Garrido, Caroline Gerberick, Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt, Heather Matthews, Lily Mueller, Sabrina Kindervater, Samantha Knaust, Kylie Lallemont, Ashley Leon, Haley Lykins, Tina Marks, Dominique McNeal, Monya Nikahd, Taylor Orr, Jiyoung Park, Seoyoung (Sarah) Park, Yena Park, Diana Pemberton, Bethany Rahn, Simone Saunders, Jess Self, Stephanie Singh, Axel Steeno, Aureolus Stetzel, Lauryn Teti, Jessica Wheeler, Amanda Whitaker, Caroline Worrell.

Potential of Paper

Summer SDJ

“The world of paper art is a fascinating one. Artists are able to transform its properties from an ephemeral, one-dimensional medium into structurally sound three-dimensional sculptural forms. Paper’s only limit is the human imagination. We travel the globe in this issue to discover The Potential of Paper.” – Elizabeth Kozlowski, SDJ Editor


Online Exhibition

ARCHIVE is a window for future generations to peer into the monumental year, 2020. Every object has its own cultural history, as does each artist and craftsperson. The textiles preserved within this exhibition tell unique stories of identity, place, and time utilizing pattern, technique, subject, and of course material. It is our responsibility as makers to share our contemporary perspective, while imagining the future we wish to create. Curated by Shannon Molter.

Michael Rohde Redacted 2020, wool, natural dyes, handwoven, 77″ x 48.5”

Equity, Access and Integration Committee (EAI)

This fall SDA convened an Equity, Access and Integration Committee (EAI) to hold space for and amplify the voices of historically underrepresented communities in the fiber and textile world. It is an indelible response to systematic injustices of all kinds including racial, gender and ability-based discrimination. Members of this committee take on the responsibility to keep SDA and its community members committed to and accountable for achieving this goal. This work will help build an inclusive, empowered community of artists and leaders enriched in the field of textile and fiber art as a whole.

Committee Members Include:

Fafnir Adamites


Appalachian Center for Craft Gallery at Tennessee Tech, August 13–October 27, 2020

FUTURE TENSE 2020 celebrated the creative work of student artists, designers, and makers working with or inspired by fiber or textile materials or techniques. FUTURE TENSE 2020 offered a glimpse into the future of contemporary fibers by presenting the very best work being made by students in the field today.

Award Winners

Haley Wood Feast 2019, wool and acrylic yarn, hooked, 20″ x 30″.

Devotion: Sewing the Sacred EIP

Fall SDJ

Juried by Jovencio de la Paz and Lauren Sinner, this EIP poses the question: What does devotion look like in material form? With 239 artists submitting 1113 works from all over the world, we definitely had our work cut out for us in selecting our featured artists! As makers, we devote ourselves to our work and the relationship we have with it. Devotion can take many forms including trust, care, dedication, and love for a craft. 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.

Mandatory Color

Museum of Texas Tech University, October 3–December 19, 2020

Mandatory Color was the most challenging exhibition that I have juried to date. There were 450 entries from Surface Design Association members across the globe, all executing quality craftsmanship and design in two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and installation formats. The varied techniques include applique, basketry, collage, crochet, dyeing, embroidery, quilting, screen printing, and weaving, showcasing the endless possibilities in fiber arts and how prolifically we are creating.

Award Winners

Emily Gomez Triggers 2019, fiber, sterling silver, 11″ x 12.5″ x 12.5″.

Below, Through, Above and Beyond the Datum Level

Online exhibition

The works chosen for this virtual exhibition conveyed forces of creative expression beyond a controlled presentation plain or ‘datum level’. My initial approach was to separate the submissions around social issues and then those statements more of the physical world. Of course this is a totally fraught concept as the one realm cannot operate without the other. The materiality of the explorations became the place this melding happened as I searched through the works. The selected works convey disruption, deep thought, contemplative observation and intimate but universal searchings. Curated by Viv Davy, from out the blue gallery in New Zealand

Bebe Kuhr Extinct 2019, ostrich Shards, 2′ x 3′.

Aotearoa New Zealand

Winter SDJ

This Journal provides a glimpse into the creative community of Aotearoa New Zealand. From vibrant fabric sculptures and the wool industry, to the conservation of Māori Textiles, readers will find a wonderful account of the diverse communities that flourish across the island of Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Have something that you’re thankful for and want to celebrate and share with SDA’s community? Post in the comments below to let people know!

Cheers to 2021, I hope everyone has a safe and lovely holidays.

– Lauren Sinner

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