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J. Fred Woell: An American Vision

The SNAG Board is pleased to present this feature documentary by Richard Kane about the history and significance of J. Fred Woell, a metalsmith, jeweler and political artist. Woell made satirical commentary on the dark side of history. Woell had profound beliefs in our democratic ideals yet saw the flaws in our politics. An inspiring, humble and humorous artist and teacher, Woell opened the door to seeing anew. Originally scheduled to be shown at the SNAG conference, this documentary will be available online for limited screening and will be free to all SNAG members. Please also join us for a panel discussion and Q&A with the filmmaker Richard Kane, Woell’s wife Patricia Wheeler and metalsmith Eleanor Moty.

Online Screenings – June 25th and 27th
Information on how to view the film has been emailed to members. If you have not received this information please contact us.

Panel Discussion | Q&A – June 28th at 4:00 pm Eastern
Panelists: Richard Kane (filmmaker), Patricia Wheeler (Woell’s wife), Eleanor Moty (metalsmith) and Moderated by Nicole Jacquard.
Zoom link has been emailed to members. If you have not received this information please contact us.

DVDs of Documentary
Copies are available for purchase at SNAG//SPACE for Institutional use, Library use and Personal/Home use.

Handouts from the 20th Century
A Collection of Teaching Aids Created and/or Gathered by J. Fred Woell During his 20 Years of Teaching are also available to purchase at SNAG//SPACE.


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H21: Handouts from the 21st Century

H21 CoverH21: Handouts from the 21st Century is a collection of handouts and teaching aids dedicated to J. Fred Woell, compiled by SNAG president Nicole Jacquard. H21 has 45 contributing artists and contains 60 handouts from various makers in the field.

This booklet is available only through SNAG. It can be ordered for $56 (price includes shipping); that’s less than a dollar per handout. Proceeds go to SNAG, with a portion to be donated to Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in honor of the J. Fred Woell Scholarship. To place an order please call Tara Jecklin at 541-345-5689 (M-F 8:30-12:30 PST). Get your copy now!


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In Remembrance: J. Fred Woell

LAA_Fred_Woell, Eleanor, CindyIt is with sadness that we share the passing of another metalsmith. J. Fred Woell died April 2, 2015 at his home in Deer Isle, Maine. He was 81.

Woell was “known for using political and social commentary in the creation of jewelry,” according to a statement released by The Metal Museum Executive Director Carissa Hussong. “He was renowned for his found object assemblages, reflecting and critiquing the throwaway culture of late 20th century America with his characteristic wry humor.”

J Fred WoellHe taught at The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; Boston University; Swain School of Design, New Bedford, MA; Haystack Mountain School, Deer Isle, ME; and SUNY/New Paltz, NY. His works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Art and Design, (formerly Contemporary Crafts Museum) NYC; L.A. County Museum of Art, CA; Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Houston Art Museum, TX; and the Hermitage State Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Woell received the Lifetime Achievement Award from SNAG in 2012, and the Florida National Metalsmiths Hall of Fame award in 2010. He held MFAs from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, University of Wisconsin, and Cranbrook Academy.

The new documentary film about Woell titled J. Fred Woell: An American Vision is a documentary that features interviews with: Paul Smith, former director of the Museum of Contemporary Craft; Helen Drutt, curator and educator; and Glenn Adamson, former director of the Museum of Arts and Design, among others. The film is sponsored by the Union of Maine Visual Artists.