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2017 Lifetime Achievement Award

LAA 400The Lifetime Achievement Award is SNAG’s highest honor and is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of metalsmithing.

SNAG is seeking nominations for its 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.  The recipient will be honored at SNAG’s ‘NEXUS’ conference in New Orleans in May 2017. Any member of SNAG may nominate someone for the Lifetime Achievement Award.  The nominees do not have to be SNAG members.

Deadline for nominations is January 13, 2017.

Learn more and submit a nomination>>>


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2016 SNAG Lifetime Achievement Award, Gary Noffke

Gary_NoffkeSNAG is pleased to announce the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Gary Noffke.

Born in August 1943, Gary Lee Noffke grew up in the small town of Sullivan, IL. He received a Bachelor’s (1965) and Master’s degree (1966) in Education from Eastern Illinois University.

While he initially studied painting, he shifted his focus to metal, earning a Master’s of Fine Arts in metalworking from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1969. Studying under Brent Kington, Noffke was influenced by abstract expressionism, attacking the surface of his metal objects with obsessive and intricate detail consisting of stars, letterforms, arrows, crosses, dollar signs, eyes, and other significant symbols.

Gary Noffke bowlKnown for his versatility, technical prowess, and originality, Noffke is a blacksmith, coppersmith, silversmith, goldsmith, and toolmaker. He has produced gold and silver hollowware, cutlery, jewelry, and forged steelware. Noffke is noted for his technical versatility, his pioneering research into hot forging, the introduction of new alloys, and his ability to both build on and challenge traditional techniques. He has been called the metalsmith’s metalsmith, a pacesetter, and a maverick.

In 1971, he accepted a position at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens. Noffke devoted himself to the development of UGA’s jewelry and metals program and helped launch the Jewelry and Metals Studies Abroad curriculum in Cortona, Italy. As an educator he has mentored an entire generation of metalsmiths. Today he is retired from formal teaching and lives and works at his studio in Farmington, Georgia.

During the course of his career Noffke received numerous awards and honors. In 2005, Noffke was selected as one of the Fifty Outstanding Alumni of Fifty Years of Graduate Education by Eastern Illinois University. In 2001, he was elected to the College of Fellows by the American Craft Council; in 1990, he was honored with  an NEA Visual Artist Fellowship in Craft,; and in 1988, he became Master Metalsmith of the Year, a distinction awarded by the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, TN.

From April to September 2011, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, presented a major retrospective of his work, Attitude and Alchemy: The Metalwork of Gary Lee Noffke. This exhibition was the first major museum-organized project about Noffke  and featured over 120 pieces of his oeuvre, including silver and gold hollowware, flatware, jewelry, and objects forged in steel.

“Gary Noffke’s contributions to the field of metalsmithing are undeniable: from his commitment to the rich historical traditions of his craft, to his maverick nature, he has consistently mined the possibilities presented by the creation of hollowware, jewelry and flatware with his own brand of irreverent virtuosity. His dedication to smithing, teaching, and research have inspired generations of metalsmiths and introduced us all to the potential of hot-forging silver and gold.” –2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Committee: Lola Brooks, Kim Cridler, and Bruce Pepich

The 2016 SNAGneXt conference will be dedicated to Gary and he will receive his award during the Opening Remarks in Asheville, NC on May 19, 2016.


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2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Nominations

SNAG is seeking nominations for its 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. Any member of SNAG may nominate someone. The nominees do not have to be SNAG members.

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2015 SNAG Lifetime Achievement Award, Fred Fenster

Fred FensterFred Fenster will be recognized for his accomplishments as a metalsmith artist, his influential role as teacher and educator, and his long association with SNAG as a Founding Member at this year’s SNAG conference in Boston.

“What if…?”  It’s hard to believe that this simple sentence is the root of a rich career that spans over 50 years but it is the question that has driven Fred Fenster’s studio practice because of its infinite possibilities.  It is the question that he asks himself at the onset of each Kiddush cup, pitcher, teapot, or salt and peppershaker set. Known for his pewter and silver hollowware vessels, Fred’s aesthetic can be found in clean lines and intricately fabricated forms that honor the function of the pieces being made.  FensterTeapotCupWine takes on the shape of a Star of David inside his signature Kiddush cup while the simple cut line of a domed form fits perfectly in the hand while it shakes out some salt or pepper for a meal.  Fred has never tired in his dedication to creating pieces that integrate into our lives and rituals.  Each piece contains a striking combination of simplicity and ingenuity requiring Fred to alter or design new tools and stakes to execute his designs. Fred Fenster’s research and creative work with pewter has garnered attention not only in the U.S. but also abroad in countries such as Korea and Taiwan. Artists working with this material today either directly studied with Fred or were taught by his students. He is responsible for bringing this out-of-favor material back into studios, workshops, and schools across the country.

Born in 1934 in the Bronx, New York, Fred Fenster attended City College of New York before receiving his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI) in 1960.  In 1962 he was hired to teach design, jewelry and metalsmithing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and began a distinguished teaching career, which lasted for more than 40 years.  In 2005 he retired from the University of Wisconsin and was designated Professor Emeritus. FensterSnailSaltPepperFred created a lasting network and legacy of professors, teachers, and artists all over the country. His success is evident in numerous awards including the Hans Christiansen Memorial Silversmithing Award; the 2004 Renwick Alliance Award for Excellence in Teaching; the 2006 American Craft Council Gold Medal; and in 2011 he was designated Master Metalsmith by the Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.  Fred’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Renwick Gallery, of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Yale University Art Museum, New Haven, CT; the Detroit Art Museum, Detroit, MI; and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea. Fred Fenster lives and works in Sun Prairie, WI where he is still busy searching for the answer to that simple question.

SNAG’s Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor the Society can bestow upon an individual. This prestigious honor is reserved for leaders who have made significant contributions to contemporary metalsmithing throughout their career.

Please join the SNAG Board of Directors at this year’s Boston conference to honor Fred!


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2015 Lifetime Achievement Award and Exhibition in Print

Information about two 2015 opportunities has been announced:

LAA2015 Lifetime Achievement Award

SNAG is seeking nominations for its 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.  The recipient will be honored at the Boston conference in May.  This award is SNAG’s highest honor and is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of metalsmithing.

Deadline: December 20, 2014

Learn more and make a nomination>>>


2015 Curated “Exhibition in Print” — Call for Related Work
Moved by Metal: On Beauty as Interaction
Guest Curator, Wendy Steiner

For the 2015 “Exhibition in Print” Moved by Metal: On Beauty as Interaction, curator Wendy Steiner seeks out metal objects—jewelry, sculpture, tools, gadgets—from any culture, that incite revelatory responses in their viewers.

Deadline: January 15, 2015.

Learn more about the Exhibition in Print call>>>


SNAG would like to take this opportunity to recognize our Corporate Members for their support: Facèré Jewelry Art Gallery and Halstead.

Halstead