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Letter from the President – August 2019

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For the last year, I have been working for SNAG as President-Elect, and I have to thank Nicole Jacquard for helping to make my transition to the Presidency very smooth. It was a pleasure to work with her and I am glad she is staying with us on the board. I officially took over during the conference in Chicago where I was lucky enough to be on stage with nine Past-Presidents. It is an honor to be a part of a legacy that inspired me when I was a student.

We saw the departure of four very committed board members and I have to thank Jill Baker-Gower, Diane Hulse, Anne Fiala, and Ezra Satak-Wolman for volunteering their time to help the organization. At the same time, Elizabeth Shypertt was re-elected to another term and we welcome three new board members: Patricia Madeja, Kee-Ho Yuen, and Jeff Georgantes. They bring a wealth of experience and I look forward to their involvement.

This year has been transformational for the organization, and as we reflect on a half century, I think there is positive momentum looking forward. But there is a lot of work that we need to do, and to quote David Bowie, “it ain’t easy.” But, we’ve had some excellent individuals step up with some great ideas on how we can partner with other organizations and I am excited to work with them.

I was also struck by the energy from the next generation of smiths at the conference, and it’s exciting to see them take ownership of this organization. That kind of enthusiasm is what sparked SNAG in 1969 so it was great to see such motivation in Chicago.

At this point the priority of the Board is the long term sustainability of the organization. Membership only covers a small portion of the finances so we need to find the funds to maintain our most important and popular programs.

Look around the website for some new things such as the Road to Success scholarships, the Goldsmiths ’20 call for entries, and the new SNAG Celebrates interview series.

In the meantime, we want your opinions. The direction of this organization is dictated by you, the members; this is your community. And to all of our amazing volunteers, we couldn’t do any of this without you. If you have an idea, or want to get involved, look out for our upcoming member online feedback chats. You can also contact me via email at any time.

Happy making!

Brian Ferrell
President

Society of North American Goldsmiths


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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/


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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

R2Slogo250

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