Sunday, September 25, 2011

Will you go to your state conference?

Envious. Jealous.
I was just reading the latest posts at Dan Reeder's Paper Mache Blog (he's Dan the Monster Man, a Seattle math teacher who makes the most AMAZING papier-mache dragons). Dan wrote that he was going to be a keynote speaker at the Texas Art Education Association Convention in Galveston this November, PLUS he's teaching a HANDS-ON papier-mache monster workshop there!!!!!! So I checked out the convention website and discovered the AMAZING Sandy Skoglund is also scheduled as a keynote speaker (that's her work in the image above; below is one of Dan's dragons).

My state conference, which I plan to go to (I'm waiting for my school district's approval, but I'm going no matter what, since I'm teaching 2 workshops), has keynote speakers scheduled I've never heard of.

If you, dear readers, are a Texas art teacher, you MUST go to this conference, even if just to see these two people. If you can't go, send me in your place! I'll put on a fake mustache or whatever it takes! I saw Sandy Skoglund speak at a conference years ago, and she was awesome, and I would LOVE to see Dan Reeder, and attend his workshop. Of course, if he was offering a workshop at my state conference, I'd probably be shut-out. The minute there's a hands-on workshop, the lines begin to form and NY art teachers get really pushy and crabby. We all do love those hands-on workshops, don't we?

By the way - unrelated - you may have noticed a little change in my blog layout. I've decided that you, my readers, are very important to me, but there are a LOT of you! So I've moved you to the top of the blog, where you all fit, because if nobody was reading, I probably wouldn't still be blathering on!


  1. Definitely heading to my state conference. Wish I was going to National, but I'll take what I can get. I love going to VAEA.

  2. I definitely want to go now! I teach in Houston, and Galveston is very close. We go almost every weekend actually! I kept trying to comment back on your comment abbout the rooms Phyl, but it wouldnt work for some reason!I stack them on each other not IN each other. I put them on top of the cabinets and i only do them with two classes at a time. I switch off with the other groups when they finish due to storage. The furniture is VERY easy. It is all made from rectangles with the edges folded down and legs cut into the edges. We glue more rectangles on the backs for the headboards or chair backs. Does that make sense? I had some old books from textbook adoption that i let them use to cut artwork for the walls, and lots of scrapfabric. They really love this project.

  3. Definitely waiting for district approval too. Sandy Skoglund is also a favorite. I have done some cool lessons with the kids making mini installations and critiquing her work (the fox in the restaurant is especially a rich conversation) I hope to not have to take a personal day (I never use them all but with a baby I like to have all my options open.) If I have to take a personal day I will for SANDY:) So does she go to all the conferences or just our region?

  4. Hi Phyl,
    Thank you for the nice plug! Who knows, maybe I'll get to NY at some point. I've never been. It's a shame. I look forward to seeing Sandy too. It should be fun.

    Good luck with your workshops!

  5. Hi Dan. Maybe I'll put a bug in the ear of the "powers that be" in my state organization.

    @Erica - did you misunderstand me? Sandy and Dan will be at the TEXAS state conference, not mine in NY, and I (obviously) have no idea about Connecticut. I was talking out of jealousy that I WOULDN'T be seeing them. Sandy was at the NY conference probably at least 10-15 years ag, maybe even longer - but it was memorable. She did a slide talk after dinner, and explained a lot of how she made her installations, and it was an absolute riot - hearing her talking about trying to coat a wall with jelly, etc... We've had some other interesting keynotes over the years, and some deadly dry presentations, and some that were interesting but hard to see or hear. A few years ago we had William Wegman (I think that's his name) - the guy that photographs those dogs - and he was interesting but the scheduling was terrible and not many people actually saw it. I think Sandy's dinner presentation was great, but so many of the younger art teachers don't attend the (expensive) dinners at the conference these days that it becomes sort of an in-crowd elitist thing. It's too bad, because it used to be a wonderful part of the convention. But no matter where you put us, art teachers are a tough audience; we don't sit still well.

  6. Natalie - thanks for the info. Blogger is sure strange sometimes. Ironically I hadn't checked back yet at your post to see if you had answered my questions, so thanks.

    As for the Texas conference, LUCKY YOU!!! If you get to Dan's monster workshop, tell him Phyl sends a hello from NY!!

  7. Okay, I'm jealous too. . But, I'm excited to check out who we do have coming to GAEA: Keynote is Enid Zimmerman. And, we are going to have Melodie Milbrandt and Mark Runco too. Very, very excited about that.

    I know what you mean about "pushing into hands-on workshops. GAEA is "laid back," so while there is sign ups, there is also a lot of gate crashing. The thing is, people work really hard to be respectful of the speaker's supplies and the people who signed up, but there are exceptions.

    I gate crashed last year, just to watch. The speaker -from an art supply company- took attendance and then singled out those of us there to "just watch" and began a very humiliating lecture about how rude we were. I got upset and challenged her right back and then stormed out. Turns out, her hands-on art thingy was lame and a lot people walked out behind me. I was told repeatedly that weekend how crazy the workshop speaker was! Lol.

    But, I've been on the other side too. I kept my hands-on workshop free and provided the materials myself. I had a lot of gate crashers, which I didn't mind at all. . But, they all were very grabby about materials which left the people who had signed up with very little material. The gatecrashers recognized their presence was causing this, and apologized, but they didn't do anything (like taking less supplies) to solve it. So, I guess I get where the angry workshop speaker was coming from!

    I think sometimes at conferences some people get this attitude of "I'm here to get stuff for me" and forget we are also there to build community!

    Maybe Phyl, you should start a demand to get Skoglund and Reeder at NYAEA next year!

  8. I have to say it, even though I've been a New Yorker all my life. NY teachers can be the WORST at conference etiquette. Pushy, pushy, pushy. Most of our NYSATA workshops have no pre-registration, so it's first come, first served. There are Friday night "after dark" workshops for a fee, but everything else is at the discretion of the presenter. I present my workshops for free, and while I set a max number, in reality I never turn anyone away. But I do NOT like people who come and get the free supplies and handouts and then don't stay for the workshop, so I won't put out the materials until the workshop has started. I print tons of extra handouts, or will email them to anyone who contacts me via email.

    Amy, I've been to workshops from a certain distributor, who does not allow anyone to stand in the back and watch, even without taking materials. It infuriates me, because there are never enough workshops and once you are shut out of one it's often too late to get into another, and it doesn't make me want to patronize that distributor who closes me out.

  9. Wow. I can't believe there isn't any pre-registration!! I'm helping to plan the GAEA conference this year and there is extensive planning that all has to do with pre-registration. . Wowza.

  10. I wish I was going to the Texas conference, I went last year inAustin. Unfortunately, my district only has one elementary art teacher left and she'll be gone next year. I now teach kindergarten.

  11. Hey Phyl, Hoping to see you at the Marriott on Friday. What are you presenting. send me an email please:
    lauraleechambers at hot mail dot com