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SNAG Celebrates

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SNAG Celebrates: Carissa Hussong

SNAG Celebrates

SNAG is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019 and is honoring its membership by highlighting different artists on the SNAG website.

Photo courtesy of StyleBlueprint

Photo courtesy of StyleBlueprint


Please introduce yourself.
My name is Carissa Hussong and I am the Executive Director of the Metal Museum in Memphis, TN. I did not follow a logical path to my current position. In college, I thought I wanted to be a magazine editor and majored in English Literature. Immediately after graduating, I went back to school to get a second degree in Art History, followed by a curatorial fellowship at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY) and a series of internships and paid positions with various arts organizations, including ArtFair/Seattle (Seattle, WA), Gagosian Gallery (New York, NY) and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens (Memphis, TN). While overseeing the UrbanArt Commission, I earned my final degree, an MBA, which, along with the writing skills my first degree drilled into me, has proved invaluable in running a non-profit arts organization.

Metal Museum_Blacksmith Demo_ Ann Klicka

Blacksmithing apprentice Ann Klicka gives a forging demonstration for a group of seniors. Photo courtesy of the Metal Museum.

 

Prior to joining the Metal Museum, I was the founding director of the UrbanArt Commission, which was created to develop and oversee the City of Memphis’s percent for art program. Although I had worked with the former director of the Museum, commissioning several projects, I was definitely an outsider. My background was deeply rooted in “contemporary fine art” – and there was a rumor that I would throw a pile of rebar into a corner and call it art. I was careful and absorbed as much as I could about metalworking, making sure I understood how objects were made and what constituted good craftsmanship. As we have developed our exhibitions and collections policies over the past few years, we have clearly defined this commitment to both the process and the object, making sure that anything we collect or exhibit illustrates fine craftsmanship and aesthetics. Sometimes this means acknowledging our limited knowledge and relying on the expertise of others.

I am not sure what my area of expertise is. It is certainly not metalsmithing. While taking my first blacksmithing class after joining the Museum, the staff joked that I better be “a better fundraiser than blacksmith or we were all in trouble.”  I think we have done pretty well together.

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SNAG Celebrates: Corkie Bolton

SNAG Celebrates

SNAG is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019 and is honoring its membership by highlighting different artists on the SNAG website.

Corkie Boton

photo credit @eastern.native

 

Please introduce yourself.
My name is Corkie Bolton and I first started creating jewelry at Ossining High School back in 2002. I fell in love and went on to major in Jewelry Making at Pratt Institute. I love working in silver and gold because you can create an heirloom quality piece that can last for generations. I am also the founder of Metalsmith Society, an Instagram community where jewelers and hobbyists can ask questions, share information and learn.

Garnet Serpent 2019 photo credit @made_x_mason

Garnet Serpent, 2019, photo credit @made_x_mason

 

What are some goals that you have while creating your work? Are there any concepts that you are particularly interested in?
I have always enjoyed learning new fabrication techniques and improving my skills, so I explore many different methods in my work. The desire to improve a skill set, like a specific stone setting can inspire an entire collection.

What does your work mean to you? Why create these objects?
I’ve always felt that urge to create things since I was young, if I’m not creating jewelry I’m knitting or sewing or building a block tower with my kids. To be able to create jewelry that people spend their hard earned money on and make a part of their everyday life is truly an honor and fills me with pride. However even if I never sold a piece, I’d still have to make things because of how happy the process makes me.

Peony Ring 2019 photo credit @made_x_mason

Peony Ring, 2019, photo credit @made_x_mason

 

How has the field of metalsmithing and jewelry evolved since you began your career?
Back in 2007 when I graduated from Pratt the economy took a huge hit, I began to see the era of jewelers selling wholesale to tons of retailers die down. Social media became huge and and at the same time more and more brick and mortars sadly closed. Many jewelers now rely on a direct-to-customer business model. Selling to customers directly from my Instagram account @corkieboltonjewelry is my primary source of sales.

What are your plans for the future? Is there anything specific that you hope to accomplish in the next year?
In 2019 I took an engraving course at GRS Training Center with Sam Alfano, so I’m excited to practice these new skills and see how my work will evolve. My goal for 2020 is to produce small collections every other month comprised of 3-10 one-of-a-kinds. These collections will allow me to focus on a specific idea or technique.

Zinnia Sapphire Necklace 2019 photo credit @eastern.native

Zinnia Sapphire Necklace, 2019, photo credit @eastern.native

 

How and when did first gain a membership with SNAG?
November 2019! I am excited to be a SNAG member and hope to attend the conference one day!

To learn more about Corkie and her work, visit www.corkieboltonjewelry.com


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SNAG Celebrates: Taisha Carrington

SNAG Celebrates

SNAG is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019 and is honoring its membership by highlighting different artists on the SNAG website.

Taisha Carrington

Introduce yourself (background, education, preferred mediums/styles, etc.)
I was born in Barbados and moved to NY for college in 2013. I graduated from Pratt Institute in 2018 with a BFA in Jewelry Design. Prior to my education in the arts, I studied mechanical engineering drawing and physics, which I pull on heavily to realize my pieces. My concepts dictate my choice of material, but I have particular interest in materials that hold ‘DNA’ of people or places such as hair or ocean water.

What are your goals in creating the work that you do? Are there any concepts you are particularly interested in?
Currently I am exploring the concept of the sea as my material. I have been renegotiating the relationship Barbadians, other Caribbean islanders and their diaspora have with the sea through a series of installations, performances and small scale wearable pieces. This body of work will foster an environment for social dialogue about the current ways of thinking and being as islanders regarding immigration and the effects of our history on our present state. I hope to collectively investigate generational trauma with my audience.

What does your work mean to you? Why create these objects?
My work is how I communicate and breakdown issues or curiosities that I am confronted with. Art making is so therapeutic that I make sure my process involves a meditative component; whether it be sewing, embroidering, playing in sand, going to the beach to collect my materials, felting, hiking and exploring; I make sure I make it enjoyable for myself. I then present my objects like ‘look, this is what I’m thinking, do you feel the same, is it different through your eyes, does this help you? Let’s talk, let’s heal, let’s make changes.’ Sometimes I see my pieces as peace offerings to others and even to myself, to reconcile differences and shift prejudices.

Taisha Carrington 1

A model showing a headpiece by Taisha Carrington


How and when did you arrive at your membership with SNAG?
I came to know of SNAG in my junior year in college; a group of students including myself were invited to attend the conference in New Orleans. The conference was very instrumental in shaping my approach to my work after attending. Since then I became a member.

How have you witnessed SNAG (and metalsmithing in general) evolve since first beginning your membership?
My membership thus far has been short but SNAG has made strides in the direction of diversifying their body of speakers to include more people of color. It is very encouraging to see people like myself represented in the metalsmithing field.

What are your plans for the future? Is there anything specific that you hope to accomplish or achieve in 2019?
I am working to better represent the breadth of my work as a multidisciplinary artist. I currently have a series of performance-based works planned for execution over the coming 6-month period. These works will expand my social practice. I am extremely excited for the interactions this work will bring and the relationships I will build with communities and institutions.

Taisha Carrington 2

Taisha Carrington 3

Taisha Carrington 4

Taisha Carrington 5

Pieces from Carrington’s “Woke in the Wake” Collection

 

To learn more about Taisha and her work, visit www.taishacarrington.com


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SNAG Celebrates: Komelia Okim

SNAG Celebrates

SNAG is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019 and is honoring its membership by highlighting different artists on the SNAG website.

Komelia Okim

Introduce yourself (background, education, preferred mediums/styles, etc.)
I am a Korean-American and came to the US during my senior year at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea, majoring Fiber Arts (Contemporary). I later received my BA (Fiber/Metal) and MFA in Metals from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. I have participated in 30 invitational exhibitions, including a solo show at Honolulu Museum of Art.  These exhibitions were held in such locations as Korea, Canada, New York, Los Angeles, and Paris.  I have also participated in 130 workshops & lectures at universities and crafts organizations around the world, in places like Russia, Taiwan, China, Japan and many more.  I create hollowares & jewelry using hammer raising techniques— I am mainly interested in landscapes and people with their hair blowing.  Lately, I am interested in adding Korean surface techniques highlighting Keum-boo (Korean style Damascene, hammer-chisel-engraving and sumac lacquering on silver surfaces to prevent tarnishing as well as decaying from food or ash.)

What are your goals in creating the work that you do? Are there any concepts you are particularly interested in?
I want to create sculptural objects—whether they are wearable, fictional or decorative.  I wish to create objects with concepts of landscaping and people in the setting designed to be both allegorical and highly decorative on the surfaces.

What does your work mean to you? Why create these objects?
My work represents allegorical and narrative objects carrying mysterious stories behind them. Recently, I’ve been trying to add my heritage of Korean backgrounds—melding Korean-American cultures and traditions.

Komelia Okim brooch

A silver brooch by Komelia Okim


How and when did you arrive at your membership with SNAG?
I joined during my graduate school in 1972, from SNAG’s 2nd Conference in New York City.

How have you witnessed SNAG (and metalsmithing in general) evolve since first beginning your membership?
I used to be classified as a senior selected member, but over time memberships became general for whoever can pay the membership fee. This system is great, although it has no distinctions between professional, junior and/or hobbyist’s memberships.

What are your plans for the future? Is there anything specific that you hope to accomplish or achieve in 2019?
I want to work more in adding my past heritage/ethnic cultures/techniques and introduce them globally in my own work as a Korean-American Metalsmith/Jeweler. At my senior currier as an artist/past educator, I am organizing my works to find appropriate resting places to house them. Furthermore, I am planning to employ assistant(s) to produce and design my line of metal art pieces for wearing and table top pieces for next year.

Komelia Okim 1 Komelia Okim 2

Komelia Okim 3

Komelia Okim 4

Examples of Komelia’s sculptural objects

 

To learn more about Komelia and her work, visit www.komeliaokim.com


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SNAG Celebrates: Agnes Ma

SNAG Celebrates

SNAG is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019 and is honoring its membership by highlighting different artists on the SNAG website.

Agnes Ma
Introduce yourself (background, education, preferred mediums/styles, etc.)
My name is Agnes Ma. I received a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I was lucky enough that the School of Art and Design opened up classes to non-majors and was able to take a beginning metals class my last semester at UIUC, which happened to be my very first studio art class. I figured out how to transition from the sciences into the arts at Northern Illinois University where I ended up receiving an M.F.A. in Metalwork, Jewelry Design, and Digital Fabrication with a graduate certificate in Museum Studies. The generosity of my mentors and peers with their knowledge at NIU allowed me to learn exponentially in a very unfamiliar discipline.

In my work I tend to reference nature in some way to draw associations with human interaction with the environment and work in all different scales. More recently I created a large installation from essentially paper, cardboard, adhesive, and whitewash that viewers could walk through but also recently had some sterling silver earrings on view at Gallery 2052 in Chicago.

Agnes Ma work
A model showing a necklace by Agnes Ma

What are your goals in creating the work that you do? Are there any concepts you are particularly interested in?
I’ve always thought of art as a means of communication and a means for myself to learn. I tend to be drawn towards ideas that consider how humans interact with the natural environment. This allows for an avenue to educate myself as well as to advocate for more consideration in our daily lives.

What does your work mean to you? Why create these objects?
Artwork is meant to be experienced, which is why I’m often drawn to an installation format. Whether at a large scale or small, I want to create a moment that someone can linger and reflect on.

How and when did you arrive at your membership with SNAG?
I started my membership with SNAG as a student, about ten or so years ago. It was a chance to involve myself in a community I was newly a part of. I also saw an opportunity to learn from an entire community of makers, educators, and more. Every year I learn and see new things that I may or may not use in my own practices but gives me awareness of things outside of my immediate self.

How have you witnessed SNAG (and metalsmithing in general) evolve since first beginning your membership?
It may be a reflection of how my role has changed in SNAG over the years, but I’ve felt that the bulk of the community has become more and more welcoming to new participants and new ideas. This year’s conference, I especially felt the excitement and the willingness to engage with others. I hope to see more of this as we continue forward!

What are your plans for the future? Is there anything specific that you hope to accomplish or achieve in 2019?
My plans are simply to make. I plan on continuing with working with paper but on a smaller scale including works for the body.

Agnes Ma 1Agnes Ma 2

Agnes Ma 3

Examples of Ma’s environmentally-driven work

To learn more about Agnes and her work, visit agnesma.com/portfolio/