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2018 Conference Keynote
Vivian Beer, Keynote Lecture
Vivian Beer is a furniture designer/maker based in New England. Her sleek, abstracted metal and concrete furniture combines the aesthetic sensibilities of contemporary design, craft, and sculpture to create objects that alter viewers’ expectations of and interface with the domestic landscape. With a strong foundation in contemporary furniture design, her research into the history of American industry, architecture, and transportation adds intellectual rigor and specificity to her work. Her Infrastructure, Streamline and Anchored Candy series are physical manifestations of the cultural and industrial history of her materials even as they serve as intellectual bridges for their users, bringing them to a new way of conceiving the built world through a luxurious deployment of the senses.
Her work is included in the collections of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, MFA Boston, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Museum of Arts and Design, Currier Museum of Art, Gregg Museum of Art and Design, and public art collections of University of Maine Orono, Davidson College and the cities of Portland ME, Arlington VA and Cambridge MA. She holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy and received their 2016 Alumni Achievement Award. Beer has won numerous awards and residencies including the Ellen DeGeneres Design Challenge, John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship, Penland School of Crafts Residency, multiple Windgate Artist Residencies, Museum of Glass, Pilchuck, a Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and was recently named a 2016 United States Artist Fellow.
For Vivian, the landscape is an inspiration and the setting for her work – the magnificent landscapes of the planet, the cultural landscapes shaped by the Industrial Revolution, the changing landscape for metalworking in the rise of digital design and the domestic landscapes that we create at home. Her furniture is inspired by diverse forces of nature and culture such as desert ecosystems and aeronautics. Her studio process is deeply embedded in cultures of making and industry.
“To me, design in its most INSPIRING sense is not a market, job, skill or even a process. It is the patterns that interconnect things. Whether formed by nature or nurtured by culture, it is these connections that most interest me in making work… And one of the reasons I find myself endlessly fascinated by the subtle and powerful relationship between ourselves, our environment, our culture and the things we make or use within it. We live in a time where our most creative ideas are being born from collaboration. I believe that collaboration starts with each other but extends far past people’s individual relationships and exists within these larger patterns.”
Refining Landscapes a window into her many sources of inspiration, her wide range of skills and tools, and the ongoing question – what can research, collaboration and the creative “studio” look like?
Thomas Gentille – ACC Sponsored Speaker
Born in 1936 in Mansfield, Ohio, Thomas Gentille is an eminent studio jeweler with more than half a century of experience in the field. Gentille attended the Cleveland Institute of Art where he took his first jewelry course. Known for his precise, elegant forms and technically advanced treatment of non-precious materials, Gentille achieves near flawlessness in his one-of-a-kind works. He has taught and lectured at schools around the country, including long stints in at the 92nd Street Y and at The New School for Design. He was the first American to be named Klassiker der Moderne by Schmuck and was awarded the Bavarian State Prize. His work has been collected widely and can be found at museums including the Victoria and Albert in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He was elected to the American Craft Council’s College of Fellows in 2018.
Join Thomas Gentille and Monica Moses, Editor in Chief of American Craft Magazine, on stage as they discuss Thomas’ career, philosophies, and adornment of American and European Art Jewelry.
SNAG is pleased to continue our partnership with The American Craft Council by featuring a member of the ACC’s illustrious College of Fellows. Election to the College of Fellows shows a commitment “to honor those who have made an outstanding contribution to craft in America.
Criteria for nomination are few, but significant. An artist must demonstrate leadership in the field, outstanding ability as an artist and/or teacher, and 25 years or more of professional achievement as an American craftsperson. Awardees are nominated by the active College of Fellows; the distinction is recognition of meaningful contribution to the field not by critics, scholars, or collectors, but by one’s peers. It has become appropriately cherished by its recipients, who on joining the ranks of the College are required only to continue its legacy of nomination and recognition of the successive generations of craftspeople.
Speakers in Alphabetical Order by Last Name:
Peter Antor – Early Career Artist
Peter Antor received his MFA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2016 and his BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Grand Valley State University in 2011. Peter works with a wide range of materials from precious metals to concrete and wood, his body of work ranges from sculptural jewelry to functional lampwork.
Architecture and Materials
Peter will be discussing how architecture influences his work and the impact he sees it making across multiple disciplines. He will also cover how understanding his material has allowed him to take this influence and apply it to jewelry, sculptures, and furniture.
Jessica Calderwood – Rapid Fire
Jessica is an image-maker and sculptor that works in craft media, including enamel, metal, felt, and china painting. She uses a combination of traditional and industrial metalworking processes as a means to make statements about contemporary life. Her work has been exhibited extensively and is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Ball State University.
Jessica is a sculptor and painter that works with esoteric craft media but metal is her primary material from which she understands all others. Her presentation will focus on how moving through various (historically marginalized) craft processes and formats is an important component to understanding the content in her current work.
Thomas Campbell – Early Career Artist
Thomas Campbell, a graduate of Hendrix College and a fifth-generation steelworker, lives in Penland, NC. Years of employment in industry inspired the pursuit of his own artistic practice. His work can be found in numerous private collections and the permanent collection at University of Arkansas Little Rock.
Industry to Craft: A Personal Narrative in Steel
Thomas’ artistic practice evolved from his seven-year experience as a steelworker in his family’s 130-year-old steel fabrication business. In this talk, he will present an overview of his work in the industry, his transition to craft, and his time as a Core Fellow at Penland School of Crafts.
Bifei Cao – Rapid Fire
A native of China, Bifei Cao received an MFA degree from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania under Lynda LaRoche and a Ph.D. research from the ANU School of Art, Australia. He is currently working as an Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design, Guangdong University of Technology, China.
Building Contemporary Personal Narrative through Interpretation of Traditional Chinese Visual Culture
This presentation explores how the negotiation of different cultures can be reinterpreted in visual form through jewelry-based object making. It draws on his childhood memories of traditional Chinese visual culture and the exploration of personal identity through a shifting life experience of living in a variety of multi-cultural environments.
Carrie Cleveland – Lunch-Time Talk
Carrie Cleveland is a nonprofit devotee and lifelong jewelry enthusiast. She holds a BA from Marlboro College, and in previous lives has been a butterfly specimen pinner and a tenor saxophone player. Currently the Development and Events Coordinator at CERF+, Carrie is committed to seeing artists thrive.
SafeKeeping: Recovering From and Preventing Jewelry Theft
CERF+ has seen a disturbing increase in applications from jewelry artists who have been victims of theft. In this panel discussion, attendees will hear from people who have been through this experience and they will share resources and tips from artists, insurers, and security professionals that you can use to protect yourself.
Jack da Silva – Mainstage Presentation
A native of California, Jack da Silva was born into a family of artisans. Originally, a third generation gravestone maker, Jack teaches 3D Design, metalsmithing, anticlastic raising and enjoys researching ancient metalworking techniques. Jack’s metal work is represented in publications, and collections including the V & A Museum, London; Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, South Korea; Portugal and across the USA.
Curiosity, Crafts & the Hand: Gateway to Imagination, Knowledge, and Invention
Jack will share some observations regarding how the nature of the human hand, its ability to grasp, accumulate knowledge and advance our imagination into future potentials that enlighten the present and enhance the future. He will review how this helped accomplish his personal work, the current status of technology, and global society.
Gary Dawson – Rapid Fire
Gary owns Gary Dawson Designs, an online custom design operation once featured as a “Best of the Best” by Instore Magazine. Dawson has more than 40 years’ experience in creating designs that capture the personalities and stories of his customers. He has delivered seminars and presentations at numerous events and is a frequent contributor to MJSA Journal.
Evolution of an Internship Program
Gary will describe the evolution of an internship program he established with the University of Oregon Metal Arts Department. Dawson was operating a retail establishment at the time and while the shop focused on Custom Design and Manufacturing, repair work flowed through, providing an opportunity for the students and the shop.
Nick Dong – Mainstage Presentation
Nick Dong is a multi-disciplinary hybrid of a conceptual metalsmith, mixed-media sculptor, and socio-commodity engineer who employs an array of techniques and materials with the intention of creating works that ignite an experiential moment and even a spiritual bond with the audience.
Journey through the development of Nick’s art practice and eventually come to a realization that the link to connect his diverse bodies of work is the intention to create “experiential moments.” The presentation explores artist’s approach to the idea: “experience as art.”
Yvonne Escalante – Early Career Artist
Yvonne Escalante is an artist living in San José, California where she runs the Jewelry and Small Metals area at San José State University. She utilizes traditional metalsmithing techniques to make multimedia sculptures exploring themes of social and environmental justice. Escalante’s work has been exhibited nationally, including at the deYoung Museum and the Oakland Museum of California.
Sculpture Through the Loupe
How can an arcade claw game that dispenses world aid or a music box that plays glass corn be considered jewelry? Yvonne Escalante’s talk will examine her process of creating multimedia sculpture from concept to finished pieces and how her jeweler’s perspective transforms ordinary materials into precious objects.
Nicolas Estrada – Mainstage Presentation
Born in Medellin, Nicolas set out on his path as an artist in Barcelona. His curiosity for jewelry has taken him to a variety of places. Estrada has numerous exhibitions all over the world. He has published four books on jewelry; a fifth book is scheduled for publication this year.
Carving your own way: Creating beyond jewelry
The path is never straight or even clear. For the past seventeen years of his life, Nicolas has taken many risks that have ended with both successes and failures. His relentless curiosity has led him to where he is today, defining his own successes and path.
Teresa Frye – Mainstage Presentation
Teresa Frye is the owner and President of TechForm Advanced Casting Technology and founder of the Portland Jewelry Symposium. TechForm Advanced Casting Technology provides platinum castings to a broad customer base. As a leading expert on jewelry casting and a prolific researcher, Teresa has published technical papers and articles worldwide.
Casting with 3D printed models: Lessons Gleaned from the Aerospace Industry
Jewelry manufacturers are steadily incorporating 3D printed casting models into their production processes. This presentation will provide the audience with a deeper understanding of the dynamics at work when casting with 3D printed models by presenting the basic theories behind their material behaviors along with solutions to common problems.
Tania Larsson – Early Career Artist
Born and raised in France, Tania Larsson is of Gwich’in and Swedish descent. At fifteen, she moved to Canada to reconnect with her culture. She earned her BFA at the Institute of American Indian Arts, 2017. Tania is a founding member of Dene Nahjo, a non-profit organization that focuses on cultural revitalization projects.
Northern Indigenous Adornment
Tania designs contemporary, northern indigenous adornment based on Gwich’in culture, and created with land-based materials. Cultural revitalization is integral to her practice. Her work is driven by the research she does in museum collections and by the mentorship, she receives from traditional knowledge holders in her community.
Randy Long – Duo Mainstage Presentation
Randy is Distinguished Professor of Metalsmithing and Jewelry at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the recipient of two NEA Visual Artists Fellowships, two Indiana Arts Commission Master’s Fellowships and an Outstanding Young Faculty Award. She has exhibited work internationally and is represented in many private and public collections.
Making your Dream: Following your Path and Passion
Randy Long will share how she has lived her dream as an artist working with many techniques and with a number of media and across disciplines. A loyal attendee of SNAG Conferences since 1978, Long hopes to share her enthusiasm for finding her tribe and own path.
Matt Lambert and Edward Cabral – Rapid Fire
Edward Cabral is an interdisciplinary sculptor and pastry chef who creates work that is or appears to be impermanent. He graduated from SAIC and works as a freelance artist and preparatory in Chicago. Matt Lambert is a Detroit based craft artist/maker as well as having a background in art history and psychology/human sexuality. Lambert is a graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Description: CAKE (?)
CAKE is a collaboration between Edward Cabral and Matt Lambert that blurs image, object, and performance. Bodies engage with large-scale portraits, decorated silicone objects, cookies, and the performance of consuming cake to provide a platform to engage westernized gender construction with the intention to queer these norms.
Julia Lowther (Ron Ho Tribute) – Rapid Fire
Professional Seattle jewelry artist and teacher, Julia Lowther, is active in the vibrant Pacific Northwest metals/arts community, most recently serving as president of Northwest Designer Craftsmen.
Ron Ho Tribute
In this Rapid Fire, Julia Lowther will give a tribute to Ron Ho, internationally respected art jeweler, teacher, traveler, and man of great elegance and charm. He recently died of prostate cancer at his Seattle home in September 2017. He is mourned by family, friends, and the arts community. A dedicated SNAG member, Ron rarely missed a conference; now the conference misses him.
Brenda Mallory – Rapid Fire
Brenda is a longtime resident of Portland, Oregon and is a member of the Cherokee Nation. She has a BFA from Pacific Northwest College. Mallory is primarily known for sculpture and installation, mining natural materials and mimicking organic processes with her installations. Texture and repeated rhythmic forms are instrumental in her abstract compositions.
Across Time and Materials
Brenda will discuss how several artist residencies over the last few years have influenced her work and continue to drive new projects. Having access to new equipment, facilities, technicians, and materials can change the direction of an artist’s work or add a deeper dimension to work that is already being produced.
David Monette – Rapid Fire
David Monette has been building state-of-the-art, custom brass instruments for an international clientele for 35 years. His revolutionary instruments and his experience teaching kundalini yoga, meditation and most recently the Feldenkrais Method allows clients he works with to enjoy more resonance and intimacy in performance.
Decorated Presentation Brass Instruments
Trumpet maker, David Monette, started his collaboration with Portland Goldsmith Tami Dean in 1993. State-of-the-art acoustic designs combined with lapidary inlay, precision CNC engraving and Tami’s personalized, immaculate saw-pierced icons make the instruments they craft together soul retrievals for the players for whom they are made.
Kelley Roy – Rapid Fire
Kelley Roy is the Founder and Owner of ADX and Founder of Portland Made. She has become a globally recognized leader in the Maker Movement and is helping to put Portland Makers on the international map. Kelley’s passion is helping creatives hone their skills, start their own businesses, and make a living doing what they love.
Making Successful Makerspaces
What is a Makerspace? Have you always wanted to learn how to start your own Makerspace? Is your community in the process of starting a Makerspace? Kelley will share her experience of starting and growing ADX, Portland’s Makerspace, over the past 7 years.
Caitlin Skelcey – Early Career Artist
Caitlin earned her MFA in Metal at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and BFAs from Kendall College of Art and Design. Her practice fuses digital and traditional processes and originates from her own augmented physicality. As a “medical brat,” she loves a good ER story and has a few skeleton [collections] in her closet.
Fabricated Bodies: Jewelry Prosthetic and Hybrid Making
Adornment goes beyond skin deep. Bodies are not static; but sites of trauma, fragmentation, disassembly, healing, and growth. This talk will discuss Caitlin’s research and practice, where through digital and traditional fabrication, she explores relationships between human anatomy and the technology we use to enhance, deviate, extend, and create identity.
Katja Toporski – Duo Mainstage Presentation
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Katja Toporski is a jewelry maker, professor, and writer holding MFA from Towson University. With a background in Medicine, her work is informed by philosophical thinking employing archetypal objects and elements to explore the limitations of our understanding of things.
Katja’s work explores experiences of real versus virtual world. Does one have more value than the other? Are we as humans equipped to experience things virtually? Could there be an inherent spirituality associated with it? A similarity that stems from the immaterial nature of both?
Rich Youmans – Rapid Fire
Rich Youmans is the Chief Communications Officer of MJSA, the trade alliance dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design. He also is the publisher of the association’s award-winning monthly magazine, MJSA Journal, and serves on the board of trustees of the MJSA Education Foundation.
Connecting the Next Generation of Jewelers with Professional Careers
Launched in 2015, the MJSA Education Foundation’s BEaJEWELER initiative is dedicated to fostering the next generation of professional jewelry makers and designers. This session will present an overview of its efforts to collaborate with schools and connect aspiring jewelers with the training and connections needed for rewarding careers.