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SNAG in American Craft

American Craft Apr-May 2016 GRSHave you seen the April/May 2016 issue of American Craft magazine?

SNAG Executive Director Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith is interviewed about the upcoming SNAGneXt conference and other work SNAG is doing. Be sure to pick up a copy of the issue!


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2016 Election Candidates

SNAG is happy to introduce the 2016 slate of SNAG election candidates! There are candidates for the Board, President, and Nominations & Elections Committee. Voting takes place in May.

You Must Be a SNAG Member to View more Content.

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New Communications & Marketing Coordinator

SNAG is excited to announce Emma Zanetti as our new Communications and Marketing Coordinator.

Emma_ZanettiThis newly developed position will focus on SNAG’s communications and marketing efforts under the direction of the Executive Director. Emma will oversee SNAG’s advertising, press releases, Springboard listings, social media initiatives, promotion of the organization’s development efforts, and the Communications and Marketing Committee.

Emma Zanetti is an arts administrator and metalsmith who lives and works in Asheville, NC. Emma has previously held positions in arts administration and marketing, and worked in fine art galleries, auction houses, and art museums. Emma recently decided to jump-start her metalsmithing career after inheriting a complete metal studio from a close family member and recently attended a two-month metal concentration at Penland School of Crafts where she honed her skills. When she’s not learning new metalsmithing techniques, working in her studio, or prepping for shows, Emma enjoys traveling and hiking in the  mountains of North Carolina.

“We are fortunate to be able to hire someone with great marketing skills, like Emma, to help us promote the exciting  work SNAG does for the international metalsmithing community. Emma’s background and experience will allow SNAG to reach further into the field of jewelry and metals, expand our membership and subscribership, and help us create continued sustainability for SNAG,” says Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith, Executive Director. “Hiring for this position was an important goal in our organization’s strategic plan, and the board and staff of SNAG are looking forward to working with Emma.”

Please help us welcome Emma!


SNAG would like to take this opportunity to recognize our Corporate Members for their support: Aaron Faber Gallery, Halstead, NextFab, and Pocosin Arts.

AaronFaber_sm Halstead
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2016 SNAG Lifetime Achievement Award, Gary Noffke

Gary_NoffkeSNAG is pleased to announce the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Gary Noffke.

Born in August 1943, Gary Lee Noffke grew up in the small town of Sullivan, IL. He received a Bachelor’s (1965) and Master’s degree (1966) in Education from Eastern Illinois University.

While he initially studied painting, he shifted his focus to metal, earning a Master’s of Fine Arts in metalworking from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1969. Studying under Brent Kington, Noffke was influenced by abstract expressionism, attacking the surface of his metal objects with obsessive and intricate detail consisting of stars, letterforms, arrows, crosses, dollar signs, eyes, and other significant symbols.

Gary Noffke bowlKnown for his versatility, technical prowess, and originality, Noffke is a blacksmith, coppersmith, silversmith, goldsmith, and toolmaker. He has produced gold and silver hollowware, cutlery, jewelry, and forged steelware. Noffke is noted for his technical versatility, his pioneering research into hot forging, the introduction of new alloys, and his ability to both build on and challenge traditional techniques. He has been called the metalsmith’s metalsmith, a pacesetter, and a maverick.

In 1971, he accepted a position at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens. Noffke devoted himself to the development of UGA’s jewelry and metals program and helped launch the Jewelry and Metals Studies Abroad curriculum in Cortona, Italy. As an educator he has mentored an entire generation of metalsmiths. Today he is retired from formal teaching and lives and works at his studio in Farmington, Georgia.

During the course of his career Noffke received numerous awards and honors. In 2005, Noffke was selected as one of the Fifty Outstanding Alumni of Fifty Years of Graduate Education by Eastern Illinois University. In 2001, he was elected to the College of Fellows by the American Craft Council; in 1990, he was honored with  an NEA Visual Artist Fellowship in Craft,; and in 1988, he became Master Metalsmith of the Year, a distinction awarded by the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, TN.

From April to September 2011, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, presented a major retrospective of his work, Attitude and Alchemy: The Metalwork of Gary Lee Noffke. This exhibition was the first major museum-organized project about Noffke  and featured over 120 pieces of his oeuvre, including silver and gold hollowware, flatware, jewelry, and objects forged in steel.

“Gary Noffke’s contributions to the field of metalsmithing are undeniable: from his commitment to the rich historical traditions of his craft, to his maverick nature, he has consistently mined the possibilities presented by the creation of hollowware, jewelry and flatware with his own brand of irreverent virtuosity. His dedication to smithing, teaching, and research have inspired generations of metalsmiths and introduced us all to the potential of hot-forging silver and gold.” –2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Committee: Lola Brooks, Kim Cridler, and Bruce Pepich

The 2016 SNAGneXt conference will be dedicated to Gary and he will receive his award during the Opening Remarks in Asheville, NC on May 19, 2016.


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In Remembrance: Mary Ann Scherr

Mary Ann ScherrMary Ann Scherr, recognized as one of America’s most prestigious and influential designers, died at her home in Raleigh, NC on March 1st. She was 94 years old. Mary Ann was born in Akron, Ohio, and lived in Illinois, Michigan, and New York City before moving to Raleigh, NC in 1989.

Mary Ann’s voluminous resume includes seven decades of work as a designer, metalsmith, jeweler, educator and studio artist. She created book illustrations, fashion designs, costumes, graphics, product designs, and jewelry. Subsequent to WWII, she was the first woman to be hired by Ford Motor Company’s automotive division, and she designed for other corporations, including Goodyear, Alcoa, and US Steel. She owns patents for her design of body monitors, and copyrights for processes such as the instant photo etching of metals. She pioneered the use of exotic metals in adornment, stainless steel, rare earth metals, aluminum and mild steels.

Mary Ann Scherr’s jewelry, and designs in metal, can be found in the permanent collections of major museums, including The Vatican, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Art and Design in New York, Goldsmith Hall in London, The Renwick Gallery in the Smithsonian, the U.S. National Archives in Washington, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Mary Ann shared ownership in Raleigh’s Roundabout Art Collective, where she exhibited her work. Her jewelry designs have been featured in North Carolina by the Gregg Museum of Art and Design, The Mahler, the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild, and the Penland School of Crafts.

A companion career as an educator began in 1950 at the Akron Art Institute. Teaching was one of the greatest joys of her life. She taught at Akron University, Kent State University, Parsons, Duke, Meredith, Penland, Haystack, Arrowmont, and the NCSU Crafts Center, and in workshops both in America and abroad. She was beloved by thousands of students worldwide who referred to her as a master teacher. She said that teaching was “a design in itself,” and students were thrilled to be involved in her unique process of creation. Mary Ann’s joyful approach to life was dynamic and inspirational, and her observation that “design is everywhere” riveted both students and friends. She lived by her motto “create something everyday.” Her longest tenure as an educator, 48 years, was at the Penland School of Crafts.

Mary Ann’s list of Boards, community service, publications and awards, is extensive. She served as a Board member for the Gregg Museum, Raleigh Fine Arts, the Contemporary Art Museum, and the Visual Arts Exchange. She also served on the Board of the Society for North American Goldsmiths and the Penland School of Crafts. She was a Fellow of the American Craft Council, and an Honorary Associate of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in London. She was interviewed on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Dan Rather’s Evening News, and NBC’s That’s Incredible, and has been featured in over 25 books and magazines.

In 2014, Mary Ann was a nominee for Cooper-Hewitt’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She received many more honors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of North American Goldsmiths, The College of Fellows Award from the American Craft Council, the “Lifetime Achievement” Award from the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, the North Carolina Medal of Arts Award, and the North Carolina Governor’s Achievement in Fine Art Award.

Mary Ann was predeceased by her husband of 54 years, Sam, and is survived by a daughter, Sydney, who lives in Malaysia, two sons, Randy, and Scott, daughter-in-law, Debora, and grandson Dylan, all from Raleigh. Hiroko Swornik and Jaclyn Davidson, from New York, lived with the Scherr family for many years. The family is deeply grateful to TEAM MARY ANN, and to all her devoted friends.

Mary Ann Scherr’s life was a model of living and loving life to the fullest. She sought to maximize the creative potential in herself and in everyone she met. Elegant, beautiful, unique, Mary Ann is deeply loved by those who walked on the path she traveled.

A private service for family will be held at the Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary’s Street, in Raleigh.

A CELEBRATION of the life of Mary Ann Scherr for family and friends will be held at a date to be announced.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Gregg Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC, and to the Penland School of Crafts, P O Box 37, Penland, NC, 28765, where The Mary Ann Scherr Metals Scholarship has been created in her honor to fund a student wishing to study at Penland.

Published in The News & Observer on Mar. 2, 2016