This blog highlights the talents of this years symposium presenters. For more information about attending this years symposium, please see

Friday, February 18, 2022

Michael Nashef - Functional Resilience

Michael Nashef will present his work at the 43rd Yuma Arts Symposium February 24th - 26th 2022

Functional Resilience 

Throughout history, peace has been a scarce commodity in any human civilization, and war seems to be a dominant theme. Destruction is one of the prevailing outcomes of these wars. Having lived in war-torn Lebanon for half of my life, I have seen a lot of destruction and damage that has been imposed on beautiful architecture. It takes months, even years, to design, build and finish a building, yet it takes less than a second to bring it crumbling down with a powerful bomb. Nevertheless, with all the damage the Lebanese architecture sustained, these buildings still function as vessels for human life. They kept us safe, sheltered us, housed us, and shielded us. Seeing the decimation of these structures has caused me to crave perfection, and I grew attracted to the clean lines and curves of modern architecture, which I pursue in my work. Influenced by the vernacular of architecture and building materials, I have constructed structures that double as vessels. These vessels are distilled representations of war-torn buildings, whose functional resilience comes from the stable and strong material used, cement. This truth, coupled with my inquisitive nature, has brought me to create innovative processes and methods in which my work is created. The simplicity of the forms and lines allow the shot/damaged parts on the vessels to be highlighted and accentuated. By bridging the aesthetics and the materials within my work, I ask the viewer to form a connection to their surroundings, realizing that there is no perfection, only an adaptation to our current status and situation. 

Personal Bio 
Born in war torn Lebanon and moved to the United States in 1998, Michael Nashef has earned his M.F.A in Metals/Jewelry Design from Bowling Green State University. Nashef has managed a jewelry store, worked as a CAD designer, launched his fine jewelry company Intersecting Hearts, and invented few tools that are used in the jewelry industry. He worked as the area coordinator and lecturer at Towson University in Maryland, and currently is an instructor at Western Michigan University. Nashef has an extensive record of exhibition including solo and international shows. He is published in books such as JaMs and New Bracelets.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Roz Ritter - A brief description of my presentation REFLECTIONS on an ORDINARY LIFE (Drawing with Thread)

Roz Ritter will present at the 2022 Yuma Art Symposium February 2022.
Find out how to attend Yuma Art Symposium HERE
Find out more about Roz Ritter at

A brief description of my presentation REFLECTIONS on an ORDINARY LIFE (Drawing with Thread) 

I am a fiber artist and visual storyteller, piecing together personal stories using hand embroidery with digital photo transfer techniques, appliqué and mixed media. 

After a brief history of how I became a Fiber Artist, I plan to present a retrospective of my work in four parts: 
 • The Past is the Past 
• Reflections on an Ordinary Life 
• If it Wrinkles it Must be Real 
• Abstracts 

And a demonstration of my process…including transfer techniques and materials I use…
Followed by time for any questions you may have. 

I am also bringing a limited supply of sample kits, for those who are interest, so you can begin you own journey of “drawing with thread”…one stich at a time.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Motoko Furuhashi


Motoko Furuhashi was born in Tokyo, Japan. She received her MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently, she is appointed as an Associate Professor at New Mexico State University. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, the Oakland Museum of California, and Alliages in Lilly, France. Publications include 500 Plastic Jewelry design by Lark Books, New Rings: 500+ Designs from Around the World by Nicolas Estrada, and Humor in Craft by Brigitte Martin. 

Her works has been inspired by her experiences traveling around the world, and road that takes her to go one place to another. She is fascinated by the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death – and the complexity of the processes that govern life between one place and the next. Using specific sites as her medium, she expands the conceptual meaning and purpose of the object, and play with the audience’s understanding of place. Relevant to the site from which materials have been excavated, each object is a representation of the specific correlations between time, location, perception, and importance; each carrying the history of the site captured within. Her works are distant memories embodied, and histories waiting to be told.

See more about Motoko HERE
See more about how to register for the 43rd Yuma Art Symposium HERE

See you in YUUUUMMMAAA!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Linda Christensen - Yuma Art Symposium 2022 Presenter

I have been inspired by emotion for many years. It has been the driving force as my subject matter. It is challenging and allusive and oftentimes frustrating. To prepare for my day in the studio, I create an environment that keeps me engaged and in the room! I put on old black and white movies, I keep my day open ended, I work on the under-painting for a very long time and I use photos of family members and shared memories. 

Aspire, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 24 in 

Writer, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 36 in 

The threads that weave their way through the work are pattern, line, abstraction and the figure. These elements were part of my early childhood playtime and it is these foundational visual cues that give me a sense of stability as I explore the more difficult theme of emotion in my work. Coloring books, abstract compositions visible in my bowl of Cheerios, the repeating rows of strawberries in the Salinas Valley and the ever-present horizon line where sky, meets ocean all became my early schooling in art. My mother became my original muse and it was her poses and postures that I studied. I became a keen observer.

Longest Day, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 72 in 

Common Knowledge, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 72 

The emotions that I touch on are personal and universal. I have been an observer of people in general, noticing when they drop their outward persona and tether back to their true self. I look for that. I see emotion in that. I paint that. 

Hawaii, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 30 in 

Convergence, Oil on Canvas, 40 x 40 in

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Roz Ritter - Reflections of an Ordinary Life : Drawing with Thread-- Post Part 1

Roz Ritter will present at the 2022 Yuma Art Symposium February 2022.
Find out how to attend Yuma Art Symposium HERE
Find out more about Roz Ritter at

Roz Ritter - Reflections of an Ordinary Life : Drawing with Thread

I am a fiber artist and visual storyteller, piecing together personal stories, using hand embroidery and digital photo transfer techniques. I draw inspiration from my paternal great grandmother, Rose, who was a seamstress in the summer palace of Franz Joseph during the Ottoman Empire, my father, Lew, who was a haberdasher to the stars and the Bayeaux Tapestry as well as historical American samplers. 

I love the entire process of creating my art pieces…from the research…to designing the visual stories…to the meditative aspect of hand embroidering (an art form that has its origins tracing back to the Iron Age)

Reflections on an Ordinary Life is my hand embroidered autobiographical body of work that spans generations, honoring my ancestors, my parents and my life. 

Hand Embroidery, photo transfer, vintage Jewish prayer shawl (Tallis) 

My paternal great grandparents fled the pogroms and emigrated from a small village in Austria Hungary, between 1884-1888. I hand embroidered, on a vintage Jewish prayer shawl (a Tallis) their journey from Humenna to NYC through Ellis Island. In 1955 my family settled in Southern California. Migrants reads from right to left like a Hebrew prayer book. The outlined photo was taken at my father’s Bar Mitzvah, c.1920, and the chicken soup recipe was handed down in my family from my great grandmother. I embroidered my family’s history with each of our Hebrew names between the blue stripes. We were the lucky ones! 

My parent’s generation, “The greatest generation"

Love Letters 
My mother’s wedding dress, silk embroidery thread, photo transferred love letters. 

I embroidered my father’s love letters onto my mother’s wedding dress. They met over Memorial Day Weekend in the summer of 1935 in the Catskill Mountains. One year later, they were married and remained together until his passing in 1990. 

And my generation which I call “The Swing Generation” because we are not baby boomers, nor do we remember World War II. 

More Things to Do 
Vintage Brownie Dress (circa 1949) Polyester fabric, embroidery thread, photo transfer from Brownie Scout Handbook.

This piece, with its oversized Brownie tie represents the expectations and burdens imposed on girls who were raised in the 1950's. 

Self Portrait (1962-1977) 
c.1962 deconstructed linen wedding dress (belonging to the artist), hand embroidery, photo transfer. 

The story of my transformation from a 1950’s housewife in Los Angeles to living in a tipi in the San Cruz Mountains embroidered on my deconstructed wedding dress which represents our divorce and the damages I did to my marriage in the process. 

If it Wrinkles it Must be Real 
Hand embroidery, photo transfer (photo of the artist), crepe de chine 

Now...many decades later, in my 70's, I feel blessed to have the perspective that only comes with age. But also, with age comes aging skin and with aging skin comes wrinkles. Each line on my face has a story to tell. This piece reflects on how I earned them. 

"An unexamined life is not worth living."---Socrates