Going to a Doll Conference is a wonderful, intensive experience for any doll artist. Conferences maybe an annual event for a Doll Club or organisation; or the work of one inspired individual who wants to gather others to a particular time and place to share their passion.
- Workshops with a number of different teachers
- A Welcome Dinner or Gala Dinner - perhaps featuring a key speaker. The Dinner may be themed or have a fun element to it (e.g. "Hat and Heels")
- Free Demonstrations, Mini-Workshops, Round-table Discussion Groups
- Fun Social Activities such as a Pin-Doll swap, Raffle, Annual Themed Challenge
- An Artists Display area - perhaps work by the teachers, students or the results of a Challenge
- Side trips to downtown shops, local artisans, regional suppliers
some or all of the meals may be included in your conference package. If you have special dietary requirements - then ask whether these can be catered for - most venues can cater for the usual dietary needs such as vegetarian, gluten/dairy/nut/wheat free or kosher/halal dietary requirements - so long as they are given advanced notice.
Going to group meals can be daunting but remember - you get to meet and mingle with other conference attendees. Don't walk into the dining room and sit down at a lonely table - find a table that already has a few people on it and ask if you may join them. Better still - invite people to join you!
Misunderstandings around workshops are probably the single greatest cause of discontentment in unhappy conference attendees. Here are a few pointers to make sure you know (and get) what you paid for:
- Find out if there is a Workshop Kit - again - is it an additional cost? If so - how much is it and what does it include? Is it mandatory or optional?
- If you sign up for a conference, you may be asked to list your workshop preferences. If there is only one workshop you wish to do - seek clarification whether all monies will be refunded if you can't have your first (and only) preference. Similarly - what are the alternatives if the workshop is cancelled (for example - due to low numbers)
- If the workshop requires a sewing machine and you are travelling from interstate or overseas - make sure that it is possible to rent a machine or that there is one available for you. Overseas travellers should check the power requirements of their machine is compatible (e.g. USA = 110v, Australia = 240V).
- You should receive a list of requirements well before the conference as well as instructions and information on any pre-work that needs to be done prior to the workshop. Don't turn up without the requirements or without your pre-work done unless you want everyone in the workshop to give you the evil eye! There is nothing more annoying than someone who wants to wing it through by "borrowing" from everyone else - it's called being cheap people!
- Pack well for the workshop. Don't take everything you own "just in case" - most workshop rooms have limited space - you don't want to be guilty of urban sprawl all over your neighbours. Make sure you label your tools - so that you go home with your own and not someone elses (or vice versa).
If you are going to participate in a swap - make sure that you do your very best work. Don't dash something off with the expectation that you will receive something better than you made. Do your best -always!
So - with all that in mind - here are a few conferences that are coming up in 2010......
Annie Mayer Hesse has been running Magic, Mischief and Mayhem (better known as MMM) for several years - featuring a wonderful collection of teachers including herself, Pam Grose, Pearl Moon and others. Feedback and buzz about this conference is always so positive - Annie always organises a topline group of teachers.
The Joy of Jubilee - Cyndi Mahlstadt
Cyndi Mahlstadt - The Joy of Jubilee & Garden Pixie
Spartacus - (c) Gloria Winer - used with permission - all rights reserved.
Canadian Doll Artists Association (CDAA) 29 April - 2 May 2010 Four Points by Sheraton, Mississauga,Ontario, Canada
Theme: Renaissance Dreams
Leslie Bailey - Designing Your Own Woodland Elf in Polymer Clay
June Cable - Figure Development in Felt and Refining Facial Features in Felt
Kate Church - An Inspirational Approach to The Doll
Chris Jammer - Expressions and Sculpt a Mini Soft Body Baby in Polymer Clay
Diane Keeler - Sculpting a Fairy Bust in Polymer Clay and Creating Beautiful Handmade Shoes
Elena Loukianova - Wall-Oh-Ghost and Inspirational Fantasy Art Doll in Polymer Clay
Wendy Lynne Reinhart - Creating a Soft Sculpture Face
Gloria "Mimi" Winer - Spartacus Full Body Fabric Sculpt Male
The next conference was one I had not heard of before - but one look at the line up and you know it's gotta be good.
Date: May 14 -16 2010
Where: Punderson Resort and Conference Center Ohio
Leslie Molen - Meow-Meow-Neko
Barbara Schoenhoff - South America
Adele Sciortino - Witch Doctor Wears Prada
Christine Shively - Passage to India and Beyond
Kathryn Walmsley - Mother Earth, The Centre of Our World
Mary Kochevar - Allusion and Open Classroom
I always think of NIADA as Dollmaking on Steroids because of the quality of the artists who are accepted in. Here is a little Youtube video that Antonette Cely made about the NIADA Conference in 2007.
National Institute of American Doll Artists (NIADA) Annual Conference
Date: 17 July - 21 July 2010
Where: Swissôtel Chicago, Illinois, USA
Marlaine Verhelst - Container Doll with Air Dry Clay Head & Cloth Body
Ankie Daanen - "Big Belly Boy" Sculpted Doll
Deborah Pope - Needlesculpted Piece
Olga Roehl - Sculpted Piece
Stephanie Blythe - Marketing, Self Promotion and Pricing
Enchanted Doll Artists Conference (EDAC) is held annually and organised by a dedicated committee who bring it all together. It has a great reputation and has been consistent for a number of years.
Enchanted Doll Artist's Conference
When: 29 July - 1 August 2010
Where: Embassy Suites, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Theme: Cirque De La Lune
Di from Di's Dazzling Dolls started retreats last year in Queensland, Australia. Obviously it was a big success because she's planning another one this year.
Dollmakers Retreat 19 - 22 September, 2010
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Royal Esplanade, Manly, Queensland Australia
Suzette Rugolo - The Pied Piper
Jenny Romano - "Flotsam" or "Jetsom'
Chris Boston - 2 Babies
Julie Barton - Whimsical Journal