The SDA short for Surface Design Association began life in America and now has branches all over the world.

‘every surface has a structure and every structure has a surface’.

Pompilai Buranabunpot, White Wave, 54" x  108", Screenprint on cotton using fiber reactive dye,  c. 1976The 1970s in the United States and abroad heralded a renewed interest in craft techniques and materials for personal expression and aesthetic awareness. In textiles, this resurgence of interest sparked the creation of fiber programs in colleges and universities.

The emphasis on weaving and other forms of fiber construction, however, overlooked the attention being paid to surface-oriented work among educators and artists in many parts of the country.

To offset this gap in information and practice, Elsa Sreenivasam (University of Kansas) and Patricia Campbell (Kansas City Art Institute) organized the first national Surface Design Conference at theUniversity of Kansas in Lawrence in 1976. The enthusiastic response–600 came when 200 were expected–affirmed the need for an organization to facilitate communication among artists, designers, scientists, students, and teachers.

Initial steps were taken to form an organization at this conference. In 1977, the Surface Design Association was founded to promote critical thinking about and education in surface design. Marna Goldstein (Brauner) Student, California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of Arts) Batboy Photoscreen, direct application of fiber reactive dyes, with stitchery and quilting on cotton 4.5' x 8.5' c 1976 From International Student Fabric Design Competition held during first SDA conference in Lawrence, Kansas, 1976

In its 35 years of existence, SDA has reached several milestones that have expanded awareness of surface design and broadened its focus to include constructed textiles as well as surface techniques. Among these milestones are:

1976      Institution of the Surface Design Conference, which brings together world-acclaimed textile artists, materials experts, scholars, and educators to inform members and the general public about advances in all areas of textiles through presentations, demonstrations and panels, as well as gallery and museum exhibitions

Publication of the Surface Design Journal as an 8-page, black-and-white newsletter that reported on the first conference, announced the formation of SDA, and gradually grew to a 76-page full-color magazine

Patricia Dreher, Butterfly Poncho, 5' diameter, Screenprinted, direct application of fiber reactive dyes, c. 1976

1977     Incorporation of the Surface
Design Association
 in Minnesota as a 501c non-profit organization

1987     Addition of a quarterly SDA Newsletter

1999     Launch of the SDA website to serve as a central resource for the surface design community, including information on SDA exhibitions, events, textile suppliers, and educational opportunities

2002     Establishment of the SDA Award of Excellence given by an exhibition judge or curator to honor an exceptional work in surface design

2004     Establishment of the Small Event Grant to assist area reps present local events and exhibitions, and fund member projects

2006     Establishment of the Creative Promise Award for Student Excellence to provide career-building opportunities to SDA membersTheodora Zehner (Graduate student) University of Tennessee (1976) Geo Major Silkscreen on linen using Colortex pigments, 47" x 9', International Student Fabric Design Competition, 1st SDA Conference in Lawrence, KS 1976

2008     Inauguration of collaborative regional conferences co-sponsored by SDA and Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Establishment of the Outstanding Student Award given by instructors to honor students’ textile art

Launch of the SDA eNews digital publication

2010    Launch of the SDA NewsBlog

Creation of SDA’s social networking sites onFacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn

2011      Launch of the redesigned SDA websitewith increased resources and benefits for members and visitors to the site


3 comments on “About

  1. I have been a member of SDA for 4 years now. Cannot find a way to ‘register’ onto this UK SDA site, and have not been approached to participate in it. Can you help?

  2. Hi Liz – your message has just arrived in my email, yet it seems it was posted in 2012!! I will be at the SDA conference next week, and hope to track down whoever runs the UK site there. Hopefully, will be able to send you info shortly!
    Hope you are ok, and enjoying the spring.

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