Class time is always a highlight of the convention. Shown in foreground: Anita Yeh Norrie.

IDAL: 2016 Was Educational Highlight

The 2016 convention of the International Decorative Artisans League (IDAL), Sept. 25 through 29 in San Diego, was an educational highlight for the group, which continues to draw raves on social media.

The event pulled decorative artists from around the United States as well as from China, Italy and the United Kingdom who not only enjoyed the camaraderie that accompanies events of this nature but also an expanded educational offering. IDAL’s convention this year brought experts from around the country who taught a wide range of techniques, from cabinet and furniture refinishing to creating bas reliefs and murals, and introduced a wide range of styles as well.

Additionally, the convention this year was tied to the Concrete Expo, which gave the decorative artists group a greater slate of educational opportunities from which to select, from business courses to workshops on decorative paints and sealers, best color practices and stamping and texturizing concrete.

According to IDAL Past President Glenda Mosley of Ross Designs in Houston, the crossover between decorative artists and concrete professionals was a positive one. The close proximity both industry groups shared within the convention facility increased their mutual appreciation, while the expanded educational slate allowed them to hone their skills in a new direction. As Glenda reports, “We had several of the concrete side people take workshops on the IDAL side this year.”

Glenda adds that overall attendance was somewhat smaller than hoped for—with a little more than 100 decorative artists participating—but workshops were enthusiastic and well attended.

“The workshops all ended up having good turnout, with many being full,” Glenda reports. “We had wonderful comments about all the workshops.”

An example of the rave reviews IDAL received after the convention was this from a Facebook follower: “I just want to thank everyone who helped pull this incredible IDAL convention together … I couldn't begin to name everyone (you know who you are) … But all the hard work and efforts definitely did not go unnoticed.

“Being here reminds me of why we do this: bringing together such talented lovely people (and) the fellowship and sharing. I was so glad to meet my FB friends in person and many new friends as well,” the post continues. “Also, a BIG thank you to all the incredibly talented instructors for all the work that goes into preparing for these events and the generous knowledge that you all shared.”

The classes, which were intimate and very hands-on, allowed participants to return home with new skills, sample boards and business-making ideas that they can put to good use.

Classes included Kathy Wear’s workshop on how to create an accent wall and coordinating finishes—giving students the wherewithal to return home and start selling finishes “right away,” as Glenda reports. According to Glenda, other “sellable” skills emerged from Diane Corso’s mica instruction; Rebecca Slaton’s two cabinetry and wall finishes workshops; Andy Eccelshall’s landscape and dramatic clouds classes; and Ellie Ellis’ bas relief workshop.

However, all of the workshop instructors—who also included Kelly S. King, Crista Cloutier, Sue Scott, Master David Sav, Robin Belisle, Sarah Hines and Mets Schilstra—garnered rave reviews.

The sample boards and artistic renderings that decorative artists created under the instruction of these experts were “really cool,” says Glenda, adding, “We all are excited to show the new looks to our clientele.”

Another IDAL Facebook user post put it succinctly: “Having a blast here in San Diego, learning new products in our trade, making new friends, hugging old ones and creating beautiful magic!”

Rik Lazenby was sworn in as incoming IDAL president and talked about the group's
goal of being more global and inclusive in focus.

Orders of Business
Among the orders of business at the IDAL convention was the annual IDAL Board of Directors meeting, in which Rik Lazenby, of Lazenby’s Decorative Arts Studio Inc. in Birmingham, Ala., was sworn in as president.

Rik discussed the group’s goals for 2017, which include IDAL’s goal to becoming more global in focus and more inclusive in its outreach to fine artists, architects, designers, decorators, builders and craft people within the building industry.

The themes are frequent ones for the new president, who recently told Focus on Faux, “The next generation of decorative artists is the lifeblood of our organization. Both are challenging goals, but they need to be addressed if we are going to continue to be the leader in the decorative arts industry.”

During the business meeting, keynote speaker Crista Cloutier talked passionately about how the arts have defined the professional she is today. According to Glenda, many IDAL attendees said Cloutier was the best keynoter the group had ever had, “and seven people immediately signed up for her mini-workshop.”

The meeting also saw the installation of the rest of the 2017 board, including: Diane Williams, vice president; Glenda Mosley, past president, chapters liaison and philanthropy; Anita Yeh Norrie, secretary; Kathy Carroll, treasurer; Lori Wilson, outreach; Mindy Harrell and Cindy Howard, marketing and education; and Beth Warnecke, events.

During the convention, IDAL members additionally gathered for a Think Tank session, in which they discussed ideas for growing IDAL at large.

“We had a great group come to share their hearts and ideas, and we are doing our best as the Board of Directors to bring many of those ideas to fruition,” Glenda states. “We are sure members will be very excited to see the things coming forth (from that session) in the next few years.”

At this writing, IDAL was planning educational events for 2017 and to offer ECU-credited workshops in 2017. Stay tuned to Focus on Faux, as we will cover the details as soon as they are available …