Aerial view of my town showing the horizon
Naturally enough, conferences have been much on my mind of late. I thought I would share some thoughts...
A conference is so much greater than the sum of its parts. The whole package adds up to an event that can inspire, inform and broaden horizons.
Choosing the theme of Confluences, we looked at inviting instructors who - in many ways - epitomize the theme. They look at how cultures inform each other. They look at how the various stages of fibre prep affect each other. They look at how manipulation of the materials can create a range of qualities of cloth and decorate it.
Instructors were chosen for their commitment to the craft and their specific knowledge set.
We tried to choose people mainly from the region, but also a few from further away. People who ANWG members might not be able to learn from because the cost of getting to them might prove too great. Bringing those people here means more people can have access to their knowledge.
But we are also blessed with a large number of textile practitioners here in BC, so many of our instructors were drawn from our own pool of very talented and knowledgeable people. (Instructors are listed on the conference website.)
What do conference registrants get? First of all, three seminar time slots. The seminars range from introductory, historical, or technique exploration. The seminars can be used to find out more about something that is of interest to see if further investigation is the direction to go. Or maybe a little is known but resources are thin on the ground (eg ceinture fleche') Or take knowledge to the next level, find out about more resources, maybe try a little hands on.
Seminars are a menu tasting while workshops are the full meal.
Traditionally there is a key note speaker. We have invited Abby Franquemont for her unique perspective on Peru and North American approaches to textiles. She is currently in Peru gathering up to the minute information and will no doubt have a lot to share. (She may even have textiles and spindles for sale - we have offered to manage sales in my booth in the vendor hall.)
The fashion show is always fun. I'm hoping that my challenge to think about pockets makes a splash in the fashion show, but also in the other exhibits. Speaking of which, we now have in excess of $5000 in sponsored awards to give out - BUT! You do have to be registered at the conference to be eligible for awards.
There will be some special interest group meetings - the time and place will be listed in the registration area.
But most of all? Conferences are a time to meet with others who are as interested in textiles as you are. There will be time to socialize. There will be time to shop. The vendor hall is filling with some great booths.
There will be opportunities to be inspired - by textiles, by people.
Conferences are an opportunity to educate yourself and grow - as a textile practitioner and as a person.
Prince George isn't hard to get to. WestJet and Air Canada both fly in/out. Regional airlines such as Pacific Coastal and Central Mountain Air have flights. Or drive. BC is a beautiful place and the highways (97 and 16) intersect here.
A conference can be an adventure. Of the very best kind.