At 9 am the conference officially started with a welcome and opening remarks, followed by a presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Stanley Lechtzin. Stanley gave a moving speech expressing gratitude for all who helped him along the way, most especially his wife who, "is the solder that holds all his parts together." Its always nice to hear people give recognition to those in their lives deserving thanks.
Stanley then gave his talk as the keynote speaker on, "American Metalsmithing Revolutionaries". Stanley's talk consisted of video (no idea where it came from) of some early educators in the field who he felt were revolutionaries in the field. The video was hard to follow, mostly due to the quality of the sound, and I felt the talk would have been better received if Stanley had simply quoted relevant parts and discussed why he felt each individual contributed to a revolution, while also showing each individuals work and contributions to the field. What was nice about the video was being able to see people I have only read about in books...being able to put faces with names. There was very little dialog from Stanley himself which I found disappointing. He concluded his talk with a light call to action for educators saying, “This is not a dress rehearsal. When they [opportunities] come up, grab them.” And also, “Those who CAN, Do. Those who can Do it Better, Teach.” Overall Stanley seemed like an individual with relentless dedication to the field and his students. It seemed like he was very deserving of the award and it was awesome to see an overview of his 40+ years of metalsmithing.
Dr. Sandra Alfoldy – Imagining Ourselves: Looking into the Future of Craft
This was a well spoken talk about craft today and where it is heading. I think a meaningful part of her speech was when she addressed venues like etsy and the roll they play in the future of craft. Although I wasn't at last years conference, it seemed to me (in reading on blogs in the aftermath) that last year it was implied that things like etsy would be the downfall of "fine craft". Obviously...I wasn't there, this is just the vibe I got from the grapevie. Dr Alfoldy proclaimed the opposite, encouraging us to embrace these new technologies to educate the world about what Craft (with a capital "C") is...to educate people that Martha Stewart does not = Craft.