Tuesday, June 4, 2013

This year's Society of North American Goldsmith's (SNAG) annual conference was held in Toronto, Ontario May 15th-19th and it was an amazing event! The SNAG conferences are meant to inspire, network, and educate. After such a great experience I am even more excited for the conference to come to Minneapolis next April 23rd-26th!

To find out even more information about the conference you can view the entire program on the SNAG website.  The jewelry community of Toronto also went above and beyond and created the Toronto International Jewellery Festival that ran exhibitions all month long throughout the entire city.  They plan to host this festival every two years.

Before each conference local organizations often take the opportunity to host master goldsmiths for 2 day workshops leading up to the conference. This year I attended George Brown College who hosted Charles Lewton-Brain for a 2 day workshop in "Fold-Forming." More info of the other workshops here.  I have wanted to take a class with Charles for many years after owning some of his books-- he is a jewelry genius!  He is a leader and pioneer in the field and discovered fold-forming in the '80's which was a radical new idea in metal forming.  He was also co-founder of the online metalsmith forum: www.ganoksin.com. Here are some photos of the workshop.

The conference kicked off on Wednesday evening with the annual pin swap!  This is a great opportunity to meet new people and bring some work for swapping!  They also served pizza so what's not to love!

The Tenda Do Louro hosted a SNAG VIP event for the Grand Opening of the first exclusively jewelry museum Wednesday evening.  For all the other SNAG peeps the conference had an after pin-swap party at a local pub.

 The conference program started bright and early at 9am on Thursday with a full day line-up of speakers.  We heard from Damian Skinner, Art Historian, of all the different kind of makers and jewelers that SNAG encompasses: art jeweler, craftsmen, traditional jeweler, production jeweler and the list goes on and on.  Diane Charbonneau, the Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, also spoke about her role at the museum and the exhibitions they have produced.  We then had a series of "Rapid Fire" from established artists who were given 20 images x 20 seconds to speak about their work or specific project: Michael Belmore, sculptor from Minden, ON; Dean Davidson, jewelry designer from Toronto, ON; Arthur Hash, art jeweler from Rifton, NY; Barbara Heinrich, jeweler from Pittsford, NY; John Rais, blacksmith from Shelburne, MA.  This was a great format and so exciting to hear from these established artists!
 Thursday evening was the Exhibition Crawl where over 17 galleries put on exhibitions throughout the city.  Not before going out for dinner and trying some poutine!
 A Bit of Clay on the Skin hosted at the Gardiner Museum.

 Other exhibitions throughout the city.

 While navigating the city of Toronto via subway, trolley, and bus I knew I was bound to find a hockey game somewhere!
Studio Huddle: A contemporary jewelry collective hosted "More than Gold".

There was a Pop-Up Gallery in a hotel room during the conference!  Galerie Noel Guyomarc'h from Montreal, Quebec.
Exhibition in Motion VIP event held at the Harbour Front Centre, a beautiful art space right on Lake Ontario. The VIP event was a fundraiser for SNAG but free food and drinks are always a way to entice!

The Exhibition in Motion is a juried event and this year had a jewelry runway with theme "Black + White + Pearl".

 The models walked around after the show for an up close and personal view of the jewels. 
 After the EM the Centre hosted The HobourFront Happening.  It was filled with music, food, and exhibits along with a view into artists studios.

 Outside exhibitions: "Mobile Canada" curated by Toronto artists and "This End Up" by Cranbrook Academy.

 RE: Position

 Quintet: A Conversation in Design

Other speakers at the conference:
Jack Ogden, CEO of the Gemological Association of Great Britian, London, GB- "Tools and Technology; Gold Working In a Historical Context"
Charles Lewton-Brain, Master Goldsmith/Writer/Publisher/Educator, Calgary, AB- "An Interview with Charles Lewton-Brain"
Peter Dicristofaro, Jewelry Designer/Adviser/Lecturer, Providence, RI- "Make it Like the Masters"
Elaine Kim, Deputy Director World Jewellery Museum/Adjunt Professor, Seoul, South Korea- "Icons of Identiy"

As a jewelry history nerd, no surprise I was most inspired and engrossed in Jack Ogden's and Elaine Kim's presentation.  Jack spoke of the history of working with gold and provided photos of immaculate jewellery over thousands of years old.  He addressed the techniques used during different periods to help identify original and fake antiquities.  
Elaine shared the collection of the World Jewellery Museum acquired by her mother's life long world travels and represented jewelery from across the world and throughout time-- specifically jewelry with cultural significance.  "The 5,000 items that form the collection of the World Jewellery Museum bear the indelible marks of metamorphosis and adaptation in traditional cultures."

 Final night party, The Great White North!! (Although we actually head North next year to Minneapolis!)

 "Passing the Torch" to Emily Johnson, me, and Dominique Berieter, co-chairs of the Minneapolis 2014 Conference "From Grains to Gold."
And of course no trip to Toronto is complete without a stop at the Hockey Hall of Fame! (At least not for me and my hockey-loving family!)  I think it's safe to say she'll be a hockey player :)  Jewels and hockey, what a refreshing combination!