Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hiding Places: Memory in the Arts

The "Hiding Places: Memory in the Arts" exhibition at the John Michael Kohler Art Center is now open! There is also a catalog of the exhibition which I am sure will be available for purchase soon.You can find me on pages 72 and 78. Click on the images to view larger.

SNAG - The Conference: Seattle 2011

Attending the SNAG conference this year was really different for me from the other years I have attended. Since I am co-chairing the conference here in Phoenix next year, I went to this years conference with an entirely different perspective. Looking at everything from the angle of planning it made me see everything in a different light. I also spent a lot of time in meetings, so I missed out on some events I wanted to attend, and really missed out on socializing/networking in between sessions and such. I'm not saying it wasn't a great year, just different from my past experiences. In some ways it was a lot better. The first year I went to the conference I was totally overwhelmed. There were so many people, and so many big names. I felt so tiny, insignificant, and kept asking myself what on earth I was thinking attending such an event. Afterward though, I realized how important the experience had been, even if I was shy and didn't fully take advantage of all that was available. I knew I wanted to go back the next year, and I did. Each year I've attended I've gotten more out of the experience. Learned more, absorbed more, observed more, met more people, come out of my shell more, and its been wonderful. I fully believe that attending these conferences is important. It's important to know the other people working in this field, important to make friendships, important to see the work in the exhibitions in person, important to listen to the talks and expose myself to what is contemporary metalsmithing. I always leave the conferences feeling totally invigorated and ready to get back into the studio!

Anyway, this year was no different in that regard...it was a great experience. I just leave the conference every year wishing I had had time to experience a little more, do a little more, see a little more, talk a little more, etc. I guess that is why I keep going back!

The Seattle conference kicked off with the traditional pin swap. Everyone makes tons of pins to trade and then walks around trading and meeting people. I didn't make trade pins (major bummer, but I just didn't have time) but I did get to walk around handing out promotional magnets for next years conference here in Phoenix, so I met lots of people that way. It's always really fun to meet people that I am so familiar with online, but have never met in person. Strange almost, to know so much about someone without ever having met them...but I guess that is what the internet has done to us!

Anyway, the next day I listened to the speakers, Glenn Adamson, Lola Brooks, and Damian Skinner.
Lola Brooks (above) was amazing. Her talk, "Love and Other Indoor Sports" was one of my favorite presentations at the conference. Hilarious, well spoken, engaging, shocking, intelligent...I was in awe and hung on every word. The lady has some serious hoarding tendencies, but she knows it and I have to say, her collections were pretty incredible! Also, prior to the conference I was very familiar with her work, but had no idea really what the context was, so it was wonderful to hear her talk about the ideas behind the objects.

That night we went on the exhibition crawl and I walked until I could barely move! Being 9 months pregnant at the time of the conference (and not used to hills) I was huffing and puffing my way around downtown Seattle! But, I managed to make it to several of the exhibitions (unfortunately not all of them) and was not disappointed. The exhibition crawl for me is always one of the highlights of the conference. So much great work packed into such small spaces. I always go home dreaming about it...always wishing I had a photographic memory! There is never enough time to absorb it all.

On Saturday I attended the professional development seminar and saw speakers, Valeria Vallarta Siemelink, Masako Onodera, John Grade, and Miel Margarita Paredes.I have always liked Masakos work (above and below), but had never had the opportunity to hear her speak about it. I love getting to hear from the artist what their work is about, and about their studio practice. I especially enjoyed hearing about her material choices and her research into Urushi Lacquer.
John Grade (above and below) is an artists whose work I was not familiar with before the conference. The beauty of his images and his honest and open dialogue about how he goes about making the pieces and what influences him sucked me in right away. I am always totally in awe of these artists that undertake such huge projects that require dozens of people. My own world is a much tinier place! Also, the temporary nature of his work was really intriguing to me. I spend so much time focused on how to make my work last forever that making work to last only a short durations is a completely foreign idea to me.
Miel Margarita Paredes (below) is a metalsmith whose work I pretty much worship. That lady has some serious talent. And after listening to her speak (although it was already assumed) it was obvious that she has a killer work ethic as well. It was really interesting to hear her talk about how she has taken her metalsmithing skills with her into a career making steel armatures for an animation company. How cool is that? One of my dreams is to someday be involved with making a prop or costume accessory for a movie. Miels talk gave me a little hope that it may even be an achievable dream!
Saturday night was the exhibition in motion (below). I have to be honest here...usually this event is one I really like, but this year it was...weird. The whole idea was to combine jewelry/wearable metalwork with dancers who would sort of animate the work. Apparently the dancers never saw the work they would be performing with until the night of the exhibition (or at least that is what I heard, and judging from the performance I think it was true). The dance was all improvised, modern, I don't even know what to call it...other than strange. The work in the exhibition was great...I think I would have rather just seen it sitting on pedestals though. The music was weird, the dancing was even weirder, and it seemed to go on and on forever. The dancers were performing with several pieces all at once and it felt really chaotic. And, I'm pretty sure a couple of pieces that were supposed to be in the exhibition got completely forgotten and weren't performed with at all. I'm sure it appealed to some, but I have to say that this years exhibition in motion was not my thing.

Sunday was the last day of the conference. I listened to talks by Lori Talcott and Stacey Lee Webber (below).
Lori Talcott (below) was my other favorite presentation. She talked about her background and the fact that she is a 4th generation jeweler. 4th generation!! That's amazing! She talked about her influences, inspirations, and what motivates her personal work. She showed some wonderful images of historical and folk jewelry that still have not left my mind. She talked about different mourning rituals in different cultures and it got me thinking about how important research is to fuel our work. I would be willing to bet that she spends as much time researching historical work as she does making her own work. She talked about a mourning ritual in Papa New Guinea where the people wear 100 necklaces and remove one each day until their mourning period is over. Her talk left me feeling so motivated to get home and read, get in the studio, and then read some more! It was so interesting...I soaked up every bit and wanted more, more, more!
That afternoon was the trunk show, which turned out to be a huge success! I had little to no expectations. This was the first year they held the trunk show, so really there was no precident. I didn't have time to make new work, so I took a lot of older stuff to sell. I didn't imagine I would sell much since pretty much all the conference attendees are jewelers, but I ended up doing really well. I sold more in 2 hours than I normally do in a 2 day art fair. Crazy! And it was really cool because I got to see my work go to people I knew, or knew of...its so nice knowing that my jewelry was going to good homes!
The conference ended with the final night party. They held the "Passing of the Torch" ceremony where they passed the torch on to Tedd, Becky and I as the co-chairs of next years conference. Of course, we had to dress the theme (matching t-shirts, sunglasses, chili pepper necklaces, and cacti props) We are pretty excited about everything we have planned so far...SNAG 2011 was great, but SNAG 2012 is going to be one HOT conference!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sightseeing in Washington

So, I'm horribly behind in posting about the SNAG conference and my trip to Washington, but what else is new? I've been awful at blogging lately. Actually I'm behind on everything lately. This baby is sucking the life out of me...literally! She is due in two more weeks and I am hoping that I get some of my energy back then...but I know the next stage is extreme sleep deprivation, so you all will just have to stick it out with me! Sorry:/
Anyway, I went to Seattle a day early with some friends to do some sightseeing before the SNAG conference got started.We rented a car and drove through some really beautiful parts of Washington. We headed to the Olympic Peninsula and stopped at a beach along the way.As a desert girl not used to seeing big huge trees or logs, I was totally fascinated by all the wood on the beach!We also stopped and did a little nature walk through part of the Quinault Rain forest, which was amazing!
There was green everywhere!!I couldn't get over the furry trees. So weird!
This was a gorgeous lake somewhere along the way.And of course, we had to stop in Forks. HAD to.Its so strange to me when I go to places that get that much water. Phoenix averages about 8 inches of rain per year. Per YEAR. I'm such a desert girl!
Anyway, sightseeing was super fun and totally worth going a day early. I will post about the conference soon!