It's over a month behind but I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on my time at the SNAG conference in Portland Oregon late May.

SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) is a conference of fellow metalsmiths, most 99.9% of them making jewelry. For the longest time I had no intentions of attending. For the last few years I also skipped out. However, I felt the need to attend in 2018 because:

  1. It's Portland
  2. It was my friend, Alaina's, last conference working for SNAG 
  3. Fellow classmate and GVSU Alumni, Pete Antor, was speaking at SNAG

Needless to say, I like adventure and supporting friends.

I have to also say that before all this, I really wanted to put together a really great mother's day gift for my mom. Sometimes the role of motherhood can be such a thankless job. No amount of macaroni art or sterling silver jewelry could even begin to say how much I appreciate and respect all that she has done in my life. So I really wanted to do something personal and with purpose. This led me with the desire to create something for her garden. Over the years she has mentioned countless yard abominations....

I mean art projects.

Metal flowers out of junk, of which she has encouraged me to make. I never did but figured I should put my welding skills to good use and make something both of us could be proud to have in a front yard.

My jewelry is heavily inspired by architecture, so it wasn't to hard to stretch myself to devise something larger in scale. In fact I really had a fun time with the line work, Gothic and Thai architecture, and figuring out how to get the right bends with the 3/8"x 1/4" thick steel. I was really digging this project by the time I had to leave for SNAG.

Enter SNAG: 

A lot of jewelers attend but this year not of lot of the speakers focused on jewelry. In fact the most inspiring one was Vivian Beer. She does more sculptural pieces of work that even take the form of furniture. I thought this was a pretty sweet start. I could feel things turn and change. Gears clicked. 

Then I was talking motorcycles with an attendee who's husband did a career change in his mid 30's for industrial design to build motorcycles and thought "how fucking cool would it be to work on motorcycles?! I want to build them too!"

And then for the remainder of SNAG I was pretty intent on going back to college somewhere for a masters degree in Industrial Design. 

Also, Kashima Nunome technique. 

Needless to say, when I did get back from SNAG, my direction had changed. But after a few days of rumination and reality, going 15 degrees off my path was far more realistic that a full 180 (at least right now...geeze, I just started a public metals studio). I realized that I am not a jeweler. I'll always be a metalsmith, but not necessarily one who makes jewelry.

I found the perfect niche for myself with larger steel structures. Ideas came flooding in and I had to keep going!

  • Wine racks
  • Plant holders
  • Stools
  • Chairs
  • Turntables

I finished my mom's arbor and even made a firewood holder for a friend who was getting married  while all these other ideas hovered over me. I'll get to them eventually. At least now I can hear my calling.