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Thank You to “Metalsmith” Editor Suzanne Ramljak

SNAG would like to share a big thank you and farewell to our long-time Metalsmith Editor, Suzanne Ramljak.

Suzanne RamljakIn the fall of 2000 Suzanne Ramljak took over as the Editor of Metalsmith magazine, and our field and SNAG are both immeasurably better for it. In her seventeen years at the helm of the magazine she has edited, organized, curated and herded the cats to put together 87 issues. In doing so, she set the benchmark for critical writing in the craft world.

Suzanne was hired during my tenure as SNAG President. As I recall, hers was the first application we received, arriving two days after the job was posted. Until then we’d worried whether we’d find anyone qualified. Now here I was looking at a Fed-Ex envelope with a return address bearing the name Suzanne Ramljak. My fears dissipated at once.

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Not that we’d ever met. But I was intimately familiar with Suzanne’s work as editor of Sculpture magazine. I had also been very impressed with a critical essay she’d written for an exhibition catalog about the jewelry of Daniel Jocz. In my mind, Suzanne was the Holy Grail of editors, someone from outside our field with a deep knowledge of contemporary art, art history, sculpture and critical writing, but also someone with demonstrated interest, understanding, and appreciation of our small corner of the craft world.

What the hiring committee didn’t know was what Suzanne was like as a person. That too turned out to be something we needn’t have worried about. Suzanne, as anyone who has met her knows, is warm, charming, thoughtful, passionate, and highly intelligent. On a personal note, I’m grateful to be able to say that this writer and editor I didn’t know but admired, has become a close friend, and I thank her for the many thoughtful conversations marked by laughter that we’ve shared over the years.

On behalf of the field, I thank her for her vision, her steady hand, her innovations and insights. We will all miss her presence at SNAG conferences and other events. We will think of her with gratitude whenever our copies of Metalsmith arrive at our doors.

–Don Friedlich


Working with Suzanne over the last 4 1/2 years has been a privilege and honor. Her support and point of view of Metalsmith and the field made the magazine the publication is it today. My wholehearted thanks to Suzanne for her many years of service to SNAG and Metalsmith.

–Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith, SNAG Executive Director


If you would like to reach out to Suzanne directly, she can be contacted at suzanneramljak@gmail.com


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“Metalsmith” Magazine Gets Bold New Design!

Metalsmith Vol 37 No 1frameSNAG is excited to announce the redesign for Metalsmith magazine, the organization’s award-winning art quarterly now in its 37th year. The celebrated design firm Pentagram oversaw the new direction. Pentagram Partner Luke Hayman and Design Associate Jenny Hung worked with Metalsmith’s Editor, Suzanne Ramljak, and Executive Director of SNAG, Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith to reimagine the magazine’s graphic identity.

Editor Suzanne Ramljak stated, “akin to an architectural remodeling, we’ve made a number of structural and design alterations, without gutting or razing the entire publication.  Our goal was to create a more stimulating and accommodating environment for our readers to dwell and make discoveries in. With a larger trim size, the magazine is now roomier and comes with added amenities.”

The cover now features multiple photos highlighting articles inside the magazine. “The new cover of Metalsmith reflects the changes in the ways we consume our media. The influx of information today is something we embraced in the redesign as a way towards being more revealing, generous and multifaceted. We wanted to show the variety of topics that Metalsmith covers in any single issue, and we wanted to do this in an immediate and dynamic way,” says Jenny Hung.

Metalsmith 37-1 page 22The magazine also sports new typefaces, including a recently released font called Robinson used throughout the interior. Robinson was chosen for the redesign because, while it is a truly contemporary typeface, it also evokes the hand and is deeply rooted in the craft tradition.

Metalsmith’s new dynamic design will better reflect the ever changing world of jewelry and metals, and help to snag the reader’s interest both visually and editorially.

More about Metalsmith>>>


On Body and Soul

On Body and SoulOn Body and Soul: Contemporary Armor to Amulets
Author: Suzanne Ramljak

From the beginning of time, armor and amulets have been used for protection and are found in cultures across the globe, and those who crafted them have been esteemed as artists by their communities. The contemporary examples showcased here, in 200 eye-catching images, demonstrate the enduring artistry of the forms and the crucial role such objects can play in safeguarding body and soul, especially in our current Age of Terror. An exciting array of protective hardware (armor, barriers, wearable weaponry) and protective “software” (charms, amulets, talismans), reveal a broad range of strategies for human defense. Focusing on work from the twenty-first century, this captivating book features some of today’s finest artists and metalsmiths and testifies to the continued relevance of this creative pursuit. An introductory essay charts the wider cultural terrain of protective ornament–touching on issues of history, anthropology, and psychology, while portfolio sections spotlight subsets of defensive and offensive wear. Among the works of art are helmets, elaborate knuckledusters, pendants, collars, rings, bracelets, metal jackets, and chain mail, all designed for safety.

Suzanne Ramljak, a writer, art historian and curator, is editor of Metalsmith magazine and curator at the American Federation of Arts. She has contributed to several publications, and has lectured widely on contemporary art and craft.

The book is accompanied with an exhibition, Protective Ornament: Contemporary Armor to Amulets, curated by Suzanne Ramljak. The exhibition showcases some 80 works—including helmets, brass knuckles, breastplates, aggressive or defensive jewelry, chain mail, amulets, talismans, and protective gear—all designed to address issues of protection and empowerment in the face of everyday perils and social challenges. On view at The Metal Museum in Memphis, TN through September 7, 2014. The exhibition then travels to the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, WA, October 18, 2014-February 1, 2015.

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