The first All Dolls Are Art Conference (ADAA) in Austin (July 28-30) was, in my opinion, a smashing debut. The well-arranged and mostly smoothly run show/sale room, the first rate workshops, the artists and vendors who had work and materials and patterns on display, and a closing banquet that included good food, very cool table favors, and a dynamic presentation by Elinor Peace Bailey inspired and impressed me. People were in tears--it was that kind of affirming and community-building experience.
I took a one-day class with Lisa Renner who was teaching an original reliquary doll. She was organized, patient, flexible, and incredibly well-prepared and engaging. Everyone in the class had a finished or "almost there" piece to take home, and I didn't hear a single negative comment during the entire day! Not only was I delighted with my piece, I also learned things that have already inspired me to think of new projects as well as new ways to use the techniques we were taught. Marilynn Huston had a full class making her Escargot doll, and the other workshops were also well attended.
In the exhibit hall TAODA was represented by at least eleven members. Rachel Donohoe, Wilmer LaBome, Beth Akin, Tina Forster, Marlene Slobin, Annette Money, Neva Waldt, Theresa May, Karin Otto Burfict, Marilynn Huston, and Adriana Esqueda all had work on display and for sale. The TAODA banner and information area had a prominent place at the back of the hall and drew people to our exhibits. A number of interested folks signed the mailing list. In addition, TAODA members visiting or attending the conference included Janet Bodin, Kimber Fenili, Yoanna Baumgartner, Veronica Cox, and Rosie Rojas. I apologize if I've overlooked anyone who was there joining the fun.
The theme and dates for next year were announced at the banquet, so we can look forward to "The World of Make Believe," July 26-29, 2012. If everyone had as positive an experience as I did, registration for next year will be full by Christmas! Even though sales were modest, this one is definitely worth checking out.