Friday, June 20, 2014

QSDS - A Review - Off the Wall Friday

Sunset from my Classroom window

Because I've decided to keep my progress on The Curves under wraps for a bit, I thought I would do a review of my week at Quilt Surface and Design Symposium in Columbus, Ohio.

Although this was my first time at QSDS, I've been going to quilt conferences for 15 years.  As in most things in life, this one had some things I really liked and some things that I really didn't.

The Things I Liked

  •  The City - Columbus is gorgeous.  The conference is held downtown at the Columbus College of Art and Design.  All the classrooms and campus suites are pretty much in the same block and its easy to get around.  The parking is plentiful, free and close.  The Campus is close to the interstate.
  • My Classroom - We had this huge - very huge - space.  In the master's class they gave us  2- ft tables and two design boards.  There was also a conference room for our use and a huge set of tables to lay out quilts if you needed too.  Electricity and light were adequate.

  • My teacher - Sue Benner - was great.  She knew how to offer advice when needed and back off when not.  She facilitated great discussions each day and kept some kind of structured to this non structured class.  I would recommend anybody take her.
  • Opening Lecture by Michael Mrowka of Batik fame was excellent - probably the best I've heard in 15 yrs.  He told the story of how he and his wife, Debra Lunn work directly with a batik factory in Java Indonesia where they strive to make a difference in the factory's community.  Amazing!  (I really didn't realize that all batiks are STILL made by hand!)
  • My Suite  - I really loved where we stayed.  The suite had 4 very small bedrooms and two baths, a complete kitchenette (with a nice table) and modern decor.  The living room wall was completely glass and you could look out over the city.  The elevators and big bins made moving in and out a snap!
    View From My Living Room
  • 7 Day structure - Classes run 2, 3, 5 or 7 days.  I love that.  The 7 days was plenty to get something done!

The Things I Didn't

CCAD Campus is Pretty and Convient
  • The Food - Now let me preface this with, I'm not a fussy eater but I do expect to get fed.  This unlike other conferences leave meals up to the quilter.  You can buy a meal ticket and eat in the college dining hall.  The food was horrible.  Deep Fried food (sometimes cold), little to no staff, little variety (menus repeated).  You could go to the near by grocery which was Amazing but expensive and who wants to eat take out 3 meals a day?  You could cook in the kitchenette - UGH!  or eat out at restaurants.  With all these choices, everyone seemed to go their separate ways for meals and you didn't have a big chance to meet anybody in other classes. All of this added up that too much time was spent  trying to decide what I was going to do about eating.  
  • The Organization - Before the conference emails went unanswered, payments and due dates not done on time, inaccurate website.  During the conference, the communication is lacking and programs started late.  
  • Wednesday Afternoon Off  - On Wednesday classes only go to lunch time.  After that the conference offers a nice bus tour of local venues that might be of interest to a quilter (at an additional fee).  You could work in your classroom instead but there was no teacher at that time.
  • The Size - this conference is small.  Many classes were cancelled this year because they did not fill and there didn't seemed to be a huge amount of quilters around.  Also I didn't meet anybody younger than me all week (I'm 48).
  • The Vendors - there wasn't a big number of vendors so you'll want  to make sure you have what you need with you or expect to go looking for the closest Joann's or LQS.
I guess I've come to expect my week away to feel like summer camp for quilters where you eat, breathe, talk quilting all week long.  Instead this kind of felt more like taking a class at home but you're sleeping in a strange bed.

In all fairness, I talked briefly with a lady in the elevator (the one place I did chat with other quilters) who loved the food - hated the suites!  And my friend, Pam, LOVED eating alone (or with her roomies) up in the suite each meal.  She liked the quiet beak away from her stressful job.   But even she was tired of take out food by the end of the week.

What you been up to creatively this week?


Laura said...

Sounds like it was kind of disappointing. I can't imagine being able to afford these week-long classes, I've never been to any, so I would have nothing to compare with. Sue Benner would be one of the teachers I'd like to experience someday.

Nina Marie said...

You know the only reason it was a bit disappointing is that I had different expectations of what the week was going to be like. I prefer my week to be meet other artists and get to know them during my week of class. Plus I like to totally forget the outside world while I"m there. I like to just to show up and be fed (quickly and cheaply) - so I can spend my energies on my work. Now with what I know about the class - I would have other expectations and probably would plan to bring a bunch of stuff from home to microwave all week.

The Inside Stori said...

I appreciate your candid overview of your week at QSDS.......and am anxious to see your work!

MulticoloredPieces said...

Hi, Nina Marie. I enjoyed your review of the QSDS and your glimpse of the Show in the last post. I find a candid opinion to be more interesting than gushing wonder. The piece you're working on is going to be gorgeous.
best, nadia

Christine Staver said...

Thanks for a candid review although that is pretty much what I would expect you would write. An honest review is always the best.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Boy do I appreciate a candid review-thank you!

Teresa Duryea Wong said...

I have also been to many classes and one 4 day conference. I have not been to a master's class... but I would love to do that one day. I think sharing food with fellow students and teachers is part of the whole point... without it you have no sense of community. Because during class time you're working. So too bad. I appreciated hearing your experience.

Robbie said...

My daughter and I were at QSDS several years ago...I forgot about the food! We ended up eating at the Cheesecake Factory, some Fish place that was great, etc...but that does get wasn't that great at the conference and unless they changed places our room wasn't that nice at all...BUT the classes we took were wonderful, saw a great documentary (dang, can't remember name!!!), did shop at the small vendor hall they had...again the class was I said, you brought back memories...which having a weekend with my daughter was perfect! And we drove to Starbuck's each a.m.!! HA

Mary Keasler said...

Thank you for your heads up on the QSDS. That has been something I gave wanted to do for a long time. If I get the opportunitiy to go, I will have a better idea of what to expect. Looking forward to seeing what you created.
Meanwhile, I am heading to Arrowmont tomorrow for a indigo, natural dyes, shibori, itajime workshop with Jaon Morris. Will keep your posted.
Keep on creating

Linda M said...

I've often wondered about some of these big conferences and classes, but actually going has never been an option, so I really appreciate the review.