May 23rd-26th I ventured across the country to Phoenix, Arizona which was the location of this years SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) Conference.
In 2009 I attended my first SNAG Conference in Philadelphia, PA and my second in 2010 in Houston, TX; however both years I had gone with Bowling Green State University and other SMAC members,(Student Metal Arts Council). This year, I was on my own; well, sort of. As I got into Phoenix, I met up with 2 friends, Jessica Armstrong and Amy Ruebsamen, who I had met the summer of 2011 at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts (more on that in another post!). Jessica, Amy and I met only for a week that summer, but it felt like we all had known each other for years. It was great being able to share this experience, visit lectures and enjoy Phoenix with some familiar faces!
I managed to find a room with another friend, Michelle Pajack-Reynolds and as it turned out, Kate Cosden, another SNAG member and new friend, was in need of a room too. It was amazing how nicely things were falling into place. We all got to meet new friends catch up with old friends, and even lounge at the pool.
The lectures and artist talks were wonderful. I really enjoyed Garth Clarke’s talk “Who’s Your Daddy?” where he spoke on where metalsmithing and jewelry fit in the visual arts world today. I also thoroughly enjoyed Caitie Sellers talk on her nomatic lifestyle from the past few years, and how the architecture she was surrounded by influences her art (I also bought a piece from her at the trunk show!), Bettina Speckner‘s talk where she spoke about her creative process, how there can be a pressure involved with creating and how it impacts the way she works and develops an idea and that moment when it all comes together: idea and material; it’s fascinating when we as artist get to dive into the creative process of another peer and see what makes them tick.
It made this adventure more enjoyable being able to wonder around the conference, galleries, and lectures with other artists. This years conference was all about networking for me. I emailed professors from the different schools I was considering for grad school, asking to meet up at the conference to chat. I made sure to have a disk of images with my resume handy to pass off to each of them as I picked their brains about the different schools. I am very thankful that each professor took some time to speak with me about their schools and how I might fit with their programs. A special thanks to Sun Kyoung Kim at SIU Carbondale and Kim Cridler at Wisconsin-Madison for taking some extra time to speak with me.
I got the chance to reconnect with a few individuals I really admire this year too. Some amazingly talented individuals attend the SNAG conference and I was surprised to find how many people I knew. I had been introduced to some big names by my professors during the past 2 conferences I attended and managed to hold some good conversations with a few. I was also thoroughly surprised when they recognized me this year. I ran into Randy Long in the Vender Room one afternoon who spent about 30 minutes walking me around the book tables, pointing out a number of great books I should dive into (soo many I had to take a few photos to remember them all!) and Marilyn da Silva even offered to give me a portfolio review! The whole weekend gave me a bit of confidence in myself and my abilities. It made me excited to get back to work.
I met a lot of new people and made some great new connections. I hope I can continue to network and become more involved with SNAG in the years to come.
Bring on Toronto! SNAG 2013!