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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/


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SNAG Celebrates: Mando Bee

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

Mando Bee

Introduce yourself (background, education, preferred mediums/styles, etc.)
My name is Mando Bee! I graduated from Texas State University with a BFA in Metals/Jewelry in May of 2018. I have been working in Metals for about 5 years now. Before Metals, I was a 2D artist located in my hometown, San Antonio. I ran a collective, Sweet Peach, that focused on representing Women Identified/Non-binary artists. I use technology such as RhinoCAD 3D modeling software in collaboration with traditional metalworking.  I enjoy working with textiles and metals.  I have recently returned to my roots, including collaging and bookmaking in my practice.

Mando Bee earrings
A pair of earrings crafted by Mando Bee, as seen in artist’s portrait

What are your goals in creating the work that you do? Are there any concepts you are particularly interested in?
As a non-binary individual, I strive to make work that unapologetically challenges the expectations and exclusivity of contemporary jewelry. My toy-like bling lives to make viewers question its’ wearability, buyability, gender specificity, and purpose. The work does not exist in bubble and introducing jewelry that is a minor threat to the upper echelons transcends the contemporary expectations placed on adornment. That being said, I like to focus on challenging myself and the viewer with both aesthetic, concept, and complexity of my fabricated forms.

What does your work mean to you? Why create these objects?
Heck! What a loaded question. I suppose I see my work as the purest form of myself in this crazy world. It is a tangible extension of myself that can be experienced by many. My work is not only a means to live, but a coping mechanism for me. Creating labor intensive work is a way for me to fully engage in my craft and detach from my busy life. I wish to create objects that act as talismans to the wearer, that offer a sense of protection.  The relationship that these wearable objects create is a trinity involving the artist, the wearer, and the viewer. In this relationship, the work becomes an outward extension of all three.

How and when did you arrive at your membership with SNAG?
SNAG! What a wonderful organization. I was a junior in undergrad when my professor, Laritza Janiga, encouraged me to apply for the Student Scholarship for the Asheville conference in 2016.

How have you witnessed SNAG (and metalsmithing in general) evolve since first beginning your membership?
My very first conference was so exciting, and full of new connections. I was so new to metals and everything was covered in a glistening fairy dust. After my first SNAG conference I craved all the knowledge in the world and knew that metals was my calling. It’s only been 4 years, but I am thrilled to see a larger population of fresh voices join. The new generation of makers is a driving force that is the key to the future of craft and the organization. SNAG has taken steps to ensure the representation of that force; by providing more opportunities for makers of all ages. The new generation is armed with vitality, talent, and change. SNAG is making those steps to represent inherently marginalized individuals in the field, and that is what needs to happen to make sure craft doesn’t die.

What are your plans for the future? Is there anything specific that you hope to accomplish or achieve in 2019?
It has been a whirlwind since I graduated with exhibitions, opportunities, and experiences. I have been stewing on a new body of work that will be quite different from I have been working on for the past year. I am hunkering down in my lust for multi-sensory installations and sculpture, pushing myself to create large “adornments” that be can considered for the body and the wall as well. By the end of 2019, I hope for acceptance into a residency or a graduate program.

Mando Bee 1Mando Bee 2Mando Bee 3

Examples of Bee’s fantastical jewelry

To learn more about Mando and their work, visit mandobee.cloud

 


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Road 2 Success Scholarships

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SNAG is pleased to announce that scholarship funding is now available for its Road 2 Success programming. These scholarships are made available through a grant from the John and Robyn Horn Foundation. The application has a rolling deadline, but all application materials must be received at least 2 weeks prior to the offering for which funding is requested.

Learn more and apply

Horn Foundation_sponsor


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2019 SNAG Student Slide Show

This presentation, originally shown at the 2019 SNAG conference in Chicago, showcases the creativity, skill and hard work of students studying metalsmithing and jewelry in institutions across North America. Coordinated by Danni Xu.


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Member Achievements – June 2019

Jim CohenJim Cohen was recently the subject of an article and video regarding his Judaica. Jim works in Durham, where he has a studio at Liberty Arts. He describes his work as taking items and “slightly change their appearance, so that you would not expect it, but nonetheless find it interesting, beautiful, intriguing.” Read the article here

Congratulations to Luci Jockel for being selected as a shortlisted artist for the 2019 American Craft Council Emerging Voices Awards. Luci is located in Philadelphia. Her work explores the memorialization of nonhuman animals through the intimate format of jewelry.

Debbie-Sheezel-Saul Bell Design AwardDebbie Sheezel was awarded Best of Show in the 2019 Saul Bell Design Awards. Debbie’s piece “Lineal Alchemy” is shown at the right. Debbie is an Australian enamel artist.

Work by Matt Lambert is included in the exhibition “PRIED,” being held at the Society of Arts + Crafts April 25-June 30, 2019. Matt is interested in exploring the body’s potential to push the traditional preconceptions of jewelry and adornment. Matt collaborates with an array of multi-media artists to reconfigure the current cultural systems of queerness and body politics, while challenging the boundaries of craft.

Rosario GarciaRosario Garcia was awarded 2nd Place Design Excellence (4+ Years in Business) in the 2019 MJSA Vision Awards. Rosario’s Yellow and Green Gold Ring (at right) features a natural sphene at the center of a unique ring that the 18k yellow and green gold was hand-forged and engraved, and then soldered to add the granulation. Dewdrops of diamonds added the finishing touch.

Congratulations to Cassandra Adame and Galen Boone for receiving 2019 Windgate Fellowships. Each year, the Center for Craft awards ten graduating college seniors with exemplary skill in craft a Windgate Fellowship. Awardees receive $15,000 — one of the largest awards offered nationally to art students.

Anna Johnson was recognized by the 2019 Smithsonian Craft Show for focusing on sustainability and the environment. Anna creates nature-inspired jewelry with ethically sourced stones, recycled metals, and found material in a conscious effort to shift cultural values toward respect for the planet.

 


SNAG would like to take this opportunity to recognize our Corporate Members for their support: Clara Williams, Gemological Institute of America, Halstead, and Steven Jacob, Inc.

Clara WilliamsGIA_Logo_CMYK Halstead Steven Jacob Inc