From Misha Moore, 2015

Due to finances and medical issues within my family I have been unable to attend a SAMA conference in past years. This year an opportunity presented itself and I thought I might as well try, I had nothing to lose. I received an email from Jackie, stating that I had won one of the two registration and workshops that she and the MESI Scholarship were offering. As an added bonus I was going to be given money to assist in paying for my travel and lodging, Krystie Rose Millich was raising funds via a Go Fund Me page for this second half of the award. I then took to the SAMA website carefully reading over all of the workshop descriptions. I decided to attend a two day workshop with the iconic folk artist, Isaiah Zagar, in his personal studio. 

I arrived in Philadelphia on Tuesday, checked into my hotel room and tried to get rested. I knew I would have a big day on Wednesday in Isaiah's studio. Once we arrived his studio was dripping in mosaics, color and textures. The ceiling, walls, windows and even the floors were covered in mosaics both inside and out. We had a brief round table get to know everyone then set to work making "clay doilies" which he uses in his mosaics. I have a history in pottery and it felt so great to get my hands in clay as well as merge my two favorite things, pottery and mosaics. Next we cut mirror and learned Isaiah's mosaic method. He then took us to a large 15' x 30' wall in his studio and we were set to work. Wednesday and Thursday were spent in his studio, we learned his technique as well as how to mix concrete and add colorant. I spent a great deal of time wondering the studio's 3 levels on Wednesday, he had recently moved his studio to this location, so I was surprised to see how much of the space had already been covered in mosaics. 

During the time at the hotel I saw people that I recognized and was able to put faces to names. Some I stood and waited to meet because I wanted a chance to introduce myself. I knew who they were but I wanted them to know who I was. I met so many wonderful people, I have made friendships that will continue far beyond SAMA or mosaics. I made connections and traded business cards with so many wonderful people. I enjoyed the lectures, speakers, food, vendor market place, the brown bag exchange and the raffle. Being a first timer and wanting to make a name for myself in the mosaics community I decided to enter a piece in the SAMA Salon. I wanted to show these amazing people what I could do. The Salon was an enjoyable evening filled with bids and friends and concluded with a purchase for some. I placed one bid and was very quickly out bid. I was excited to have bids and sell my piece to a very excited buyer. 

I was able to get out of the hotel a few times to explore the city. The IMA exhibit as well as the local MSOP exhibits were outstanding. So much amazing talent in such a small and concentrated area. I value the time spent in Philadelphia and at the SAMA conference, this was so rewarding both personally as well as professionally. I hope to attend SAMA again but we will have to see what the future holds. I am grateful for the opportunity I was given by Jackie, the MESI Scholarship and Krystie Rose Millich.