A Beautiful Relationship
by Amber Pierce, El Cajon, CA. ambersartistry.com
My background is rich and diverse with creativity of all kinds…counseling, cake baking/decorating, interpreting, writing, and teaching. I started creating and experimenting with mosaic art over 20 years ago. At that time, there were no websites or other forms of references so, I was basically self-taught. Through trial and error, I found out what worked and what definitely did not.
One day, quite by accident, I stumbled upon the Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA). I watched SAMA grow, bit by bit, and after a few years, joined myself. It was the start of a beautiful relationship. I found that SAMA is a place for creativity, sharing, and artistic freedoms within a unique field that embraces many genres: pique assiette, traditional/old-world, ultra-modern, stained glass, corrugated cardboard, mixed media, and more. Contemporary mosaic art is a collection of endless styles, methods, and materials.
What do I like about SAMA, you ask? It’s the unity of togetherness that at the same time allows us to be separate and individual. Let’s look at the power of that statement.
How many other groups allow for – in fact, thrive on – individualism? Who else promotes the growth of each individual by providing educational scholarships available to both the beginner and the experienced artist? In addition to this, what organization strives to garner the recognition due mosaic in the “traditional” art world? The answer is simple: The Society of American Mosaic Artists.
The misnomer of the title should not dissuade anyone from becoming a member. The Society of “American” Mosaic Artists is international right down to its core. Attend a conference and you will understand: everyone is welcome. Over the years, I’ve met and befriended fellow artists from hundreds of countries around the world.
It seems that everyone has a unique opinion as to what mosaic is… what constitutes a mosaic piece of art and what are the best materials to use for that art. SAMA members agree to disagree, diverge, converge, discard or cling to the traditional, run wild with ideas never before seen, watch, learn, and breathe among others who think in creative thought bubbles just like they do. That is what I like about SAMA.
SAMA exists to educate and support its members. It stands for each and every member as a connection to the greater community of mosaic artists, its supporters and suppliers. And SAMA does all of this while being run almost entire by volunteers. Those who don’t realize this are often amazed to realize how much work is done by SAMA’s one full-time paid employee, Executive Director – Dawnmarie Zimmerman, and one part-time paid employee, Operations Manager -Chris Forillo, and a crew of incredible volunteers within the mosaic community. The appreciation for this force of volunteers is incalculable in my mind.
If you have ever felt outside of the community, or merely not connected in the way you aspire to be, then volunteering is the way to go. There is no better way to wade knee-deep into SAMA and its workings. When attending a conference, volunteering is an absolute must for even the most seasoned members. It is how we encounter each other’s talent in surprising ways, interact with those with whom we share passions, meet new members, and kindle friendships. It is how we, as individuals coming together as a powerful force, hold the organization afloat, steady, and keep it that way for future generations of aspiring artists.
SAMA: It is all of us and, in turn, it is each of us. We are a united force that is made from unique, creative, and amazing individuals. This force, which comes together for annual conferences, is a powerful one. In fact, I believe we are more powerful as a group than many individuals within the group believe possible.
Case in point: At the last SAMA conference, I attended the general meeting. There I saw that we, as a group of individuals who belong under this large umbrella called mosaic art, can tile our future pathways as one. We can come together and create a solid foundation where everyone can stand and thrive among the rest. If YOU want to know how WE did it during the conference, and how you can still make a difference in SAMA’s future, take a minute or two to read the blog I wrote about the power of asking for what you need. www.ambersartistry.wordpress.com
If you are a member of SAMA, I applaud your community spirit. Remember, we are responsible for keeping our organization steady, solid, and flourishing both financially, ethically, and artistically. If you haven’t yet joined SAMA, I ask you to do so and grow with us. You will make it that much better because you are adding your distinctive style and opinions to the existing assortment of artists. Let’s join together in order to stay individuals in a powerful organization that keeps our artistic concepts thriving, discerned, and connected.
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