SNAG... Society of North American Goldsmiths - what can I say? It's a wonderful organization that "advances jewelry and metalsmithing by inspiring creativity, encouraging education, and fostering community." This conference in Portland, Oregon was a meeting of creative individuals from all over the world. Guest speakers like Vivian Beer, Nicolas Estrada, Jack da Silva and so many more generously shared their artistic experiences and inspired me to "keep working at it."
What was so great about the speakers at SNAG is the fact there were many "early career artists" who also spoke about their paths in art and their accomplishments so far. It's so wonderful to know that a younger generation is moving along this same line of work and coming up with some very powerful statements through their art.
Unfortunately, I missed the majority of the Saturday speakers due to preparations from the Exhibition in Motion: Objects of Protection runway show. I'm a bit sad about that, but I did enjoy my day getting the full "runway" experience.
Some of the wonderful artists I met that have been and still are some of my biggest heroes (in no particular order):
- Charles Lewton-Brain
- Andy Cooperman
- Cynthia Eid
- Betty Helen Longhi
I cannot even begin to put into words the feelings about meeting these wonderful artists. You know, we read their books and blogs and see their videos, but we are at a distance. Being able to talk to them face-to-face was/is mind blowing to me. All of them are very humble, generous with their words and very down-to-earth: which is exactly what I expected.
My particular piece, Heart Armor, was one of about 30 pieces that were displayed through a runway exhibition. Some artists, like me, chose to model their own pieces and others had models wear their artwork along the catwalk. I decided I'd be my own model because this was a once in a lifetime experience so why not do it right?! I wanted my "America's Next Top Model" moment or 3 minutes of fame.
Being a part of the show was fun and had its moments, but I have to say, the highlight of the exhibition for me was listening to Charles Lewton-Brain, Cynthia Eid and Betty Helen Longhi give me compliments on my craftsmanship, design and concept. It truly was worth all of the anxiety and stress of having "all these people look at me!" And, all of the hard work that went into this piece. There are a few suggestions from Mr. Brain that I certainly will take into consideration as I re-work the piece to ensure my message, but overall he said it was well designed, the concept was very strong and that I made metalsmiths proud. It doesn't get any better than that!
Unfortunately, I did not get any photos with Cynthia Eid and Betty Helen Longhi, but those two wonderful women made me feel so proud of my work and they definitely encouraged me to do more of it.
Now that I'm back in the studio, I will be taking some time to decompress and process the events of this trip. I am so motivated to work new things and try larger pieces. The keynote speaker, Vivian Beer was so fantastic and motivating. It's so awesome to see creative women working with welders, steel and complex design. It gives me the inspiration and motivation to keep working hard and learning new things to broaden my metalsmithing world.