SNAG comes to Boston!

by Metalwerx on March 4, 2015

Whether or not you love that dirty water, Bostonians are proud to call this place home.  If you haven’t had a chance to find out what makes our city so special, May 20-23, Memorial Day weekend, is the perfect opportunity, when the Society of North American Goldsmiths  presents its 44th annual conference, “Impact: Looking Back, Forging Forward.”

The SNAG conference location changes every year, giving its members the opportunity to see a new city through a jeweler’s eye. Attendees meet metalsmiths and make new connections with like-minded people.  Lindsay Minihan, executive director of Metalwerx, looks fondly on her past experiences at SNAG conferences. The event has proven to be fertile ground for meeting new artists who eventually teach at Metalwerx. “It’s been an incredible resource to keep up with current art practices, new technology, and educational resources,” she said.

Kat Cole

Work by Kat Cole from exhibition at 2014 SNAG Conference in Minneapolis
(She’s teaching a 3-day workshop at Metalwerx this fall!)

Metalwerx has been sitting in on planning sessions and is pleased to announce that as part of the event, we will offer both pre- and post-conference workshops. Munya Avigail Upin, owner of the Alchemy 9.2.5 Gallery in Belmont, MA, will teach “Weaving With Wire” May 16-17, and Michael Dale Bernard leads “Powder Coating” on May 18-19. Post-conference, Brian Meek of Knew Concepts Fine Metalsmithing Equipment, known as “The Tool Guy,” will teach “Gold Damascene on Titanium and Steel” on May 24-25.

Michael Dale Bernard says he’s excited about his first workshop at Metalwerx. “I can’t wait, [but] why not come to Boston a bit early, enjoy the city, and join me for an intensely colorful experience? If you attended the SNAG conference in Toronto, you may have one of the voter brooches that I powder-coated already in your collection,” he said. “Come to Metalwerx and learn how to add this type of color to your work.”

Michael Dale Bernard's Voter Brooches

Voter Brooches by Michael Dale Bernard

Lindsay also volunteers with the conference’s logistics committee, helping organize the Not-To-Be-Missed Saturday Gallery Hop. There are two routes, City Central and Metro-West, which will take pre-registered guests on a  free bus ride to several of Boston’s hottest art locales. The Metro-West Loop features three stops, the Alchemy 925 and Mobilia galleries, and, of course, Metalwerx in Waltham. Alchemy 925 features handcrafted jewelry and fine craft from a distinguished selection of contemporary artists. Mobilia Gallery is known for its special exhibitions of the finest artists working in ceramics, metals, jewelry, and sculpture.

At Metalwerx, you’ll meet our faculty and staff, and watch demonstrations of pulse arc welding, hydraulic press forming, and more. Visitors can see an exhibition of artwork by instructors, students, and the Studiomates, members of the school’s community art studio. Light refreshments will be available.

Ian Demo

Demo By Ian Henderson at Metalwerx Open House

Early bird registration for the conference ends March 13. If you are not a SNAG member, signing up will get you a nice discount. Further discounts are available if you volunteer six hours of your time at the conference. The event takes place downtown, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.

Our friends who have never attended a SNAG conference are very excited about all the energy and artistry that is coming to Boston. There is the much-anticipated Pin Swap and party afterward, Exhibition in Motion, a live fashion show and fundraiser co-sponsored by Design Museum Boston, the Gallery Hop, a Silent Auction of art books, jewelry, findings, metals, gemstones, small handmade objects, and brand new tools; and raffles, trunk shows and more. You can read more about all these events here.

Thomas Mann and Charles Lewton Brain at SNAG Toronto

Thomas Mann and Charles Lewton-Brain at 2013 SNAG Conference in Toronto

“It’s a warm, sweet environment,” Lindsay said. “You find yourself sitting next to an artist you’ve heard about all your life. Being able to talk to my ‘jewelry heroes’ has helped me become more confident and form deeper connections within the field,” both in arts administration and as an artist, she said.


Fishing Lures by Tedd McDonah from exhibition at 2012 SNAG Conference in Phoenix
(Tedd is head of the Logistics Committee for the upcoming Boston conference)

Seats in Metalwerx’s pre- and post-conference workshops are filling up fast. Munya Avigail Upin’s popular Weaving With Wire workshop will introduce students to twining, braiding, weaving, knitting, and soumak weaving. You need not be an experienced metal worker or weaver to acquire these textile skills, although manual dexterity is a must for this detailed work.  “These methods can be applied to jewelry, functional objects or sculpture — the sky’s the limit!” Munya said.

Bracelet by Munya Avigail Upin

Woven bracelet by Munya Avigail Upin

Michael Dale Bernard is a metals artist and educator currently living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He incorporates salvaged materials, welded trellis forms, and colorful powder coated elements to create his lively pieces. He currently teaches Jewelry and Metals at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. His upcoming Powder Coating workshop includes demonstrations of basic spray methods, as well as masking off areas and striping surfaces. Sifting, stencil effects, and tricks for building complex patterns through layers of lightly fused applications will also be shown. Michael will discuss methods for more painterly and organic surface development through liquid application of the powder coat and intuitive “torch firing” techniques. Finally, he will share ways to create illustrative designs, hand drawn details, and shading through pencil-work processes.

Michael Dale Bernard Trunk Show SNAG Minneapolis

Michael Dale Bernard’s jewelry on display at the Trunk Show during the 2014 Minneapolis conference

Brian Meek’s Gold Damascene workshop focuses on producing karat gold foils used in damascene work and Keum-boo, as well as how to apply the gold to a titanium baseplate through Korean-style damascening. The “damascened titanium” can then be used as earrings, pendants, or bezel set into other precious metal jewelry.  The process can be applied to different metals as a base: titanium, iron, stainless steel, or any other hard metal as a way to attach high-karat gold to materials that were previously impossible. We plan to have a more detailed look into this workshop in next month’s Inside Metalwerx blog.

Damascene brooch by Brian Meek

Damascene Brooch by Brian Meek

Please refer to the highlighted links above to learn more about these workshops, or call Metalwerx at 781-891-3854.

–by Yleana Martinez

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