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.

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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.

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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.

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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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3-6d2Xvg14

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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