SNAG’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is James Wallace.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is SNAG’s highest honor and is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of metalsmithing.
James Wallace is a practicing metalsmith and former Founding Director of the Metal Museum, formerly known as the National Ornamental Metals Museum. His contributions to the field of contemporary crafts both as a maker in high regard and as a museum professional have advanced the understanding and appreciation of metalwork and metalsmiths for over 30 years.
Having received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Western State College of Colorado with emphases in Art, English and Geology, he later began his artistic career as an MFA candidate at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. During his studies, he researched pattern welded damascus steel. This research was published in a chapter written for Dona Meilach’s 1977 book Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork. His Master of Fine Arts degree led to a career that produced stunning examples of architectural ironwork.
Jim Wallace dedicated his professional career to the advancement of the field of metalsmithing through his role as artist, teacher, mentor and advocate. But it was in his role as founder and director of the Metal Museum that his vision played such an important part in the evolution of our field. Through his decades of selfless toil and perseverance, Jim built from scratch the only U.S. museum of its kind focused exclusively on metalwork. Through his grit and personal sacrifice, the museum has grown to a world-class institution with exhibitions, collections, a library and research facility, foundry facilities, conservation and educational programs. Because of Jim’s vision, the museum expands opportunities for young metalsmiths through internships, residencies and apprenticeships; it preserves the history of metalsmithing and educates the public about metalsmithing as an art form. In this way, Jim’s contributions have reached the broadest spectrum of our artistic “metals” community and beyond. His contributions have impacted every sub-discipline of our broader field – from blacksmiths to art jewelers, from students to masters, from makers to collectors to writers, researchers, and so on.
– Lifetime Achievement Committee
The 2019 SNAG conference, to be held in Chicago, will be dedicated to James. He will be given his award at the opening of the conference on May 23rd. Please join us in congratulating him.
above image: Fireplace Stand by James Wallace
Society of North American Goldsmith’s 48th Annual Conference – The Loop: Coming Full Circle
May 22nd – May 25th, 2019
The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL
Register by March 7th for early bird rates! Online registration closes April 25th.
SNAG is celebrating 50 years as an organization. To talk about where we are going, we must talk about where we have have been. SNAG’s 48th Annual Conference, The Loop: Coming Full Circle will celebrate SNAG’s first 50 years by focusing on the history of our field and SNAG’s vital place within that history. Along with presentations that look backward to explore significant moments and concepts in our history, both personal and collective, we will emphasize space for critical discourse, concepts/ideas, and technical presentations that speak to current questions and issues that exist in the field today.
SNAG is delighted to announce that noted curator, educator and writer Namita G. Wiggers will be opening our 2019 conference with a Keynote presentation entitled “Bending the Notes” that synthesizes histories of jewelry and craft in North America in a broader socio-cultural narrative that includes those who make and the work they make in conversation with those who write, curate, and sell.
A View From the Jeweler’s Bench: Ancient Treasures, Contemporary Statements runs February 14-July 7, 2019 at Bard Graduate Center Gallery, Manhattan, NY. This exhibition is curated by Sasha Nixon, who received SNAG’s 2017 Emerging Curators Grant. Traditional and current processes employed by jewelers will be displayed alongside contemporary and historical jewels and artifacts. Learn more
SNAG has announced that its current Editor, Emily Zilber, is departing the organization and that Adriane Dalton will fill the position on an interim basis. Zilber’s last day will be January 31, 2019 and she will work closely with Dalton in the transition.
Zilber joined SNAG at the end of 2017 and oversaw the debut of a totally new editorial voice for Metalsmith Magazine while also introducing a companion publication, Metalsmith Tech. In addition, she oversaw publication of the 2018 Jewelry and Metals Survey (JaMS), SNAG’s annual photo review of jewelry and metals in contemporary art, architecture, craft, and design.
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to lead SNAG’s publications through these important transitions over the past year,” said Zilber. “While I remain committed to the continued success of SNAG and all of its efforts to support the jewelry and metals community I’ve decided to take my career in a different direction, starting a new position in February.”
“SNAG has been incredibly fortunate to have had Emily on staff as our Editor over this past crucial year for our organization and community,” said SNAG Executive Director Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith. “The response to the magazine’s new voice, the launch of Metalsmith Tech, and the publication of JaMS, has been overwhelmingly positive, and we largely have Emily to thank for that.”
Dalton, who will take over editorial duties on February 1, 2019, is a writer, artist, curator, and educator based in Richmond, Virginia. She currently serves as Teen Programs Coordinator for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and teaches at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond and ART 180. She is a regular contributor to Art Jewelry Forum, where she interviews contemporary jewelry artists, curators, collectors, and gallerists.
“As sorry as we are to lose Emily, we’re very excited to have a writer, curator, and artist of Adriane’s caliber step in as Interim Editor,” said Rukenbrod Smith.
“As a metalsmith, art instructor, and arts writer, I’ve been a member of SNAG for over a decade,” said Dalton. “SNAG is incredibly important to our community, as are Metalsmith Magazine and Metalsmith Tech, and I’m excited about the opportunity to contribute during this time of transition.”
In the spring of 1950, after finishing her formal studies, Imogene “Tex” Gieling moved to San Francisco where she worked as a scientific illustrator in order to support her jewelry making. She took night classes with the great Israeli goldsmith, Victor Reis who stressed technique and taught her everything she needed to know about hammering.
The art community in San Francisco in the ’50s was easily accessible and included painters, sculptors and craftsman, but also architects, photographers and industrial designers. It was not only an open society, it was also open handed. There was plenty of work to be had and any work that was offered to Tex, she always took, whether she knew how to do it or not. If it was something she was not comfortable with, she had a wide range of artist-friends to call upon for help.
She was hired to make the trademark for the Diamond National Company and executed it in bronze, copper and enamel for their corporate office building on Market Street in San Francisco.
In 1955 Tex was invited to join the faculty of at UC Berkeley to teach design in the Department of Decorative Art. She had never taught before and had no credentials to teach so was reluctant to take the job. The university saw this as a plus and felt this would be good for the students since she wouldn’t be inhibited. At the same time, Tex finished her graduate degree in metal arts.
This job lasted until 1962 when the university phased out the department. She then dedicated herself full time to her jewelry, developing some new techniques. These experiments lead to receiving a commission from Objects USA, as well as representation in the Lee Nordness Gallery in New York City. She also worked with local architects fabricating fireplaces and memorial plaques among other commissions.
In 1965 Tex was invited to set up a Metal Arts Program at San Francisco State College (now University). She taught at SF State until her retirement in 1990.
But while teaching at SF State in the ’60s, sit-ins and demonstrations brought police to the campus, which made teaching very difficult (with armed police in riot gear in the classroom). Tex went out on strike to show her strong opposition to this police presence. This led to the formation of a co-op with her students, off campus, where they could work without fear.
In 1971, Tex was able to buy a complex of old buildings where artists could live and work and which would become a real home for the co-op. The co-op was name Truesilver Union.
Thank you to SNAG Board Member Elizabeth Shypertt for providing this information. Elizabeth curated “Tex Gieling: Sixty Years” at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco, on view November 17, 2018 – February 24, 2019.