Monthly Archives: May 2013

SNAG Conference 2013 Highlights (Part 2)

Here is Part 2 of my highlights from SNAG 2013:

Professional Development Seminar: Sacred Cow, Purple Cow, Cash Cow

This seminar was all about how to stand out in the jewelry market. The theme of the seminar, how to become a “purple cow” was inspired by marketing entrepreneur Seth Godin, author of the top-selling book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.

There were four speakers who each gave a short presentation on a range of topics relating to innovative marketing strategies for contemporary craft. Topics included

-Exploring the experiential economy (engaging audience in the creative process)

-Use of alternative (and unexpected) exhibition and commercial spaces

-New trends in media technology (web optimization, use of apps)

-Effective documentation via photography and video

-Tapping in to the fashion industry

The seminar was very informative, and provided well-rounded insight into the world of marketing. Of all the speakers, I was most inspired by an excellent segment on effective photo/video documentation delivered by artist Rachel Timmins. She emphasized the importance of knowing the focal point of your photos, and establishing a “mood” that supports the intent of your work. The concepts she discussed in her presentation were made clear by strong support photos/videos of her incredible work.


Jennie Lee 2012 by Rachel Timmins
Image courtesy

Gallery Crawl

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, the first ever Toronto International Jewelry Festival (TIJF) was launched in conjunction with SNAG 2013, bringing about a large stream of jewelry/metalsmithing exhibitions throughout the city. Some exhibitions ran only throughout the duration of the conference, however, there are many exhibitions still up! Take a peak at the TIJF exhibition schedule to see what you can still catch.

Gardiner Museum:

A Bit of Clay on the Skin: New Ceramic Jewellery

A Bit of Clay on the Skin: New Ceramic Jewellery was one of my favorite exhibitions. It features 140 works by 20 artists from around the world who have explored ceramics as a medium for contemporary jewellery. I loved this collection of work because it really pushed the definition of both ceramic and jewelry arts in their traditional context. The merging of disciplines encourages an interesting dialogue that investigates contemporary craft in today’s culture.


Girandole-Mokume #1 by Shu-Lin Wu
Earring- porcelain,silver, 2010.
Image courtesy

18 Karat:


 Ferrous was a showcase of jewelry that made from ferrous elements such as iron, steel, and stainless steel. The designs varied greatly from fine jewelry to more sculptural and conceptual works. Although ferrous materials have been used to make jewelry for thousands of years, it was great to see them being utilized in a more contemporary context.

Trunk Show Sale

On the last day of the conference, I participated as a vendor at SNAG’s annual Trunk Show- a 2 ½ hour show and sale of jewelry and metalwork by over 60 artists from North America. This was a great experience for me, as it was my opportunity to sell work at a show. The event was open not only to conference attendees, but also to the public, so it was quite busy! Selling work at a show like this was such a great way to meet other artists, and get feedback on my work- a wonderful learning experience!


My table at the Trunk Show


I made a line of earrings and a few brooches based off of my larger neckpieces:

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NSCADers Unite!

I cannot neglect to mention that one of the biggest highlights of my SNAG conference experience was reuniting with many of my fellow classmates and Profs from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. It has been a year now since I graduated from the NSCAD with my BFA, and it was so energizing to catch up with people I had worked and grown with for many years. There was quite a strong NSCAD alumnae representation at the conference- a group photo was taken at one point and there must have been about 30 of us! Living in Toronto this past year has been amazing, but Nova Scotia will always be home for me.

It seemed a funny coincidence that there was a tourism campaign running throughout the duration of the conference while many Nova Scotians were in town; my Maritimer studio mate and I discovered this on a busy Toronto street corner while on the gallery crawl! : )


All in all, SNAG 2013 was pretty great. I hope someday I will be able to attend another SNAG conference!



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SNAG Conference 2013 Highlights (Part 1)

From May 15th-18th, I had the opportunity to attend my first SNAG conference- an annual event of the Society of North American Goldsmiths. It was really exciting to be living in a city playing host to a conference of such caliber! Over the course of four days, I met many talented and inspiring individuals who work in the jewelry/metalsmithing field, and attended a number of lectures and technical demos. Throughout the city, many galleries hosted jewelry/metalsmithing exhibitions, some of which left me totally awe-inspired. The SNAG conference was a truly energizing and insightful experience, however, I am still feeling a bit overwhelmed by the multitude of all I witnessed over four jam-packed days.


There are so many things I would like to share from the conference, but I have decided to just highlight a few of my favorite and most memorable aspects.

 -Pre-Conference Workshop

The weekend before the conference started, I was fortunate to be able to participate in a workshop with visiting artist Michael David Sturlin. The workshop focused on the process of design, and developing an artistic identity.


Through his many years as a successful jeweler, Michael was able to provide much insight and guidance on how to begin developing a cohesive body of work. His down-to-earth attitude and teaching style made facing a blank page in a sketchbook suddenly less intimidating. We completed a series of sketching and model-making exercises utilizing the marquee shape as a starting point. Here are a few snapshots of some of the design work I completed during the workshop.


Through Michael’s mentoring, I felt impelled to create designs with less inhibition, and to not over think the technical aspects during the sketching/model-making process. On the second day of the workshop, guest artist Ivanne Binetruy came to do a presentation for our group. Ivanne is a Toronto based jeweler- her presentation was inspiring, and offered a glimpse into her design process. Check out her work here; it is delightful!

 Rapid Fire Presentations: Michael Belmore

The Rapid Fire Presentations were one of my favorite presentations during the conference. A series of artists delivered short slide presentations about their work and professional practise in a pecha kucha type format. One of the artists who spoke during the first set of Rapid Fire Presentations was Micahel Belmore from Thunder Bay, Ontario. I was really taken with his work.

Michael focuses mostly on sculptural and installation work that reflect our ever-changing North American landscape, and our impact on and relationship with nature. His works in metal that feature traditional chasing and repousse techniques are stunning. This youtube video showcases some of his work:

Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h: Pop-Up Gallery!

Throughout the duration of the conference, Noel Guyomarc’h (owner of Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h in Montreal) hosted a pop-up gallery in his hotel room at the Fairmount Royal York Hotel where the conference was being held. This was one of my favorite shows I went to, both for the selection of work, and for the whimsical nature of having a pop-up gallery in a hotel room. Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h specializes in contemporary art jewelry from artists around the world. I am a big fan of the work he carries by Gabrielle Desmarais, Kaori Juzu, Anya Kivarkis, and Agnes Larsson. If you missed the pop-up gallery at the hotel, there is currently an exhibition at Harbourfront Centre Dialogue: International Contemporary Jewellery, that showcases some work from Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h until June 16th. Hopefully someday I can visit the actual gallery in Montreal!

Stay Tuned for Part 2: Purple Cow Lecture, Gallery Crawl, and SNAG Trunk Show!

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