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Why I’m a SAMA Member :: Banu Cevikel


by Banu Cevikel, Istanbul, Turkey

It was always my dream to go to a SAMA conference where I could meet mosaic artists who inspire me and see friends made during workshops that I’ve taken. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the courage to get on a plane and fly for ten hours or more to somewhere in the United States!

In October of 2011, I submitted a mosaic for possible inclusion in the Mosaic Artists International exhibition (MAI). When I received the news that my work had been selected, I was so ecstatic my mother had to literally calm me down. I couldn’t believe it. Not only would this be my first SAMA conference, but I would be an exhibiting artist. It was too good to be true.

Next I gathered all the courage I could and flew from Istanbul to New York to meet my friend, Judy Davis. The next day we flew to Lexington, Kentucky.

SAMA 2012 was held at the Hyatt Regency Lexington Center with all activities taking place under one roof. Judy, my friend and guide, made fitting in easy. She introduced me to all her friends and was always looking out for me.

So much to do, so little time! The first two days consisted of workshops lead by favorite artists. Next came excellent and informative presentations. The Mosaic Art Salon and Auction was fun and a great opportunity to see and buy works from many of the artists who attended the conference.

Participating in the Mosaic Marathon was a memorable experience. The opportunity to sit next to and work together with artists that I admire while getting a chance to get to know them in person was wonderful. It was absolutely amazing to see and experience how they work. The Marathon was also a perfect time to make new friends who shared the same passion in life.

The MAI Gallery talks, led by Karen Ami, were a wonderful learning experience . We had the chance to meet some of the artists who were exhibiting and listened to what they had to say about their work.

"Hullabaloo 1" by Banu Cevikel (left) with Karen Ami

"Hullabaloo 1" by Banu Cevikel (left) with Karen Ami

How exciting it was to attend the Vendor Marketplace! I had the opportunity to see and buy the latest tools plus different types of tesserae and materials I had never seen before. I bought as much as my suitcase allowed! It was awesome to see an “everything mosaic-related” Marketplace. Plus the Raffle was so much fun. Even though I didn’t win anything, I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much.

I found it remarkable how down to earth, openhearted, sharing and caring everyone was. The atmosphere was always positive and it was obvious how happy and excited they all were to be there.

Even though the whole experience was a bit overwhelming for me with so much to take in, I utterly enjoyed being a part of this loving group. I was so sad when it came time to leave, BUT I will definitely be going next year and the next and the next…to share the love, the passion and the enthusiasm of the SAMA community. I can’t wait to go back and see all my new friends.

I have gained so much by being a part of SAMA and the conference, both as an artist and as a person. I am very grateful to each and every one who keeps this society going and makes it happen. I am very lucky to be amongst this wonderful group of people.


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