Like Coming Home
by Jenny Perry, Frederick, Oklahoma, JennyPerry.com
I came to SAMA, like many others, by route of a Sonia King workshop. My first conference was San Francisco 2004 and it opened up a whole new world for me. Here was a place full of other people whose brains thought in tesserae just like mine did. Here there was an entire gallery full of mosaics! Here were the artists whose work I had admired in books! I was immediately hooked and I’ve been to every conference since.
That first year holds a lot of memories for me. Dinners and art discussions with my new Southern girlfriends, riding in the elevator next to Lucio Orsoni (he was wearing the most wonderful suit and I wanted so to touch his sleeve), winning 25 pounds of glass at the raffle, overhearing Shug Jones sing her famous birthday song to some lucky (or unlucky) girl, meeting the most interesting and funny girl with green hair and a nose ring.
It’s not difficult for me to pinpoint what is my favorite thing about the conference. Although I certainly have a big time at the Vendor Marketplace every year, and I love the silent auction and the art exhibits and the raffle, the best part of the whole week is just being close to those friends whom I have come to know and love through SAMA. We talk about art and life and stay up late into the night, often laughing until we cry. We can sleep when SAMA is over and we go home.
I love going to the conference so much that if I found myself penniless, I believe I might consider selling a kidney in order to pay for my trip. Wandering into the hotel bar that first year, not knowing a soul, I never imagined that the next year and every year after it would be almost like Cheers. Everyone is always so happy to see each other again, hugs and laughter everywhere. It’s kind of like coming home.
Jenny Perry makes art and teaches workshops in her funky and cool studio in tiny downtown Frederick, Oklahoma. She has a million ideas and wishes there were more hours in the day.