A Look Behind the Scenes of the SNAG Conference


A Look Behind the Scenes of the SNAG Conference

Join me as I share my experiences working as a volunteer to help plan the 2014 SNAG conference “From Grains to Gold.” 

Members: 27
Latest Activity: Apr 29, 2015


The Society of North American Goldsmiths has been hosting conferences since 1970 in cities throughout the USA and Canada. The conference attracts artists, students, enthusiasts and educators with diverse backgrounds and interests in the field of jewelry and metals. It is a huge event spanning 4 days with a variety of lectures, demos, exhibitions and social activities. The planning of such an event is a huge undertaking, and one that is largely done on a volunteer basis.


With this blog I will share my experiences as one of the many volunteers working to plan and execute this year’s conference. I will also be talking with the co-chairs of the event and sharing some of their experiences as well.


As many as 750 people come and enjoy the conference every year, but not many know much about the blood sweat and tears that go into producing it. My hope is that by shedding some light onto this process, it will give attendees a greater appreciation for the event and perhaps inspire others to volunteer in the future.


Planning an event of this magnitude is a lot of hard work, but it is also very rewarding. As a full time contemporary jeweler I spend much of my time alone in the studio, volunteering has been a great way for me to get out and interact more. I have learned so much through this experience, and I look forward to sharing it with all of you.

Discussion Forum

Making Things Happen

Started by Jennifer Merchant Mar 30, 2014. 0 Replies

Volunteering for SNAG has been such a rewarding experience. It has given me the opportunity to cultivate new skills, work with others (I normally work alone, so it’s always great to get a chance to work in a group!) and use my energy to benefit an organization that I believe in. When I joined the social events committee I was focused on the fun aspect of the conference. What can we do to make it an enjoyable experience, and one that fosters connection and community? I had no idea that we would also play a role in direct fundraising as well. Being able to contribute in the planning of the fundraising event has been an especially rewarding experience, to know that all the work we are putting in to raise money has the potential to make a real difference for SNAG. In the morning co-chair Britta Kauppila and I will be speaking with Gwynne Rukenbrod, executive director of SNAG, about how to incorporate a new sponsor and raise even more money during the fundraising event. The three of us…Continue

Tags: SNAG Conference 2014, party, fundraiser, From Grains to Gold, jewelry

Trying New Things

Started by Jennifer Merchant Mar 9, 2014. 0 Replies

As many of you know, SNAG has undergone a number of changes in the past year. There is a new executive director, new president, new conference producer and many new board members. All of these changes have made the upcoming Minneapolis conference one of the more challenging to produce. Administrative changes are not the only ones taking place for this year’s conference. I will talk more about some of these changes in future posts, but for now will focus on the changes that I have been involved with as a member of the social events committee. The social events committee is in charge of the pin swap, pin swap after party, final night party, and fundraising event. A decision was made for this conference to hold the final night party in conjunction with the fundraiser to encourage higher turn out to both events. In the past these two events have been held on different days at…Continue

Tags: party, fundraiser, event, call to entry, SNAG Conference 2014

Jumping in with Both Feet

Started by Jennifer Merchant. Last reply by Kimberly Nogueira Feb 3, 2014. 2 Replies

Well hello there! Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Jennifer Merchant, I am a studio jeweler from Minneapolis, MN. I studied metalsmithing at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and now work in alternative materials. I love to work with my hands, so being a craft artist for a living is pretty much my dream job. Minneapolis is a wonderful place to create and has a great art community. It is also the home to this year’s Society of North American Goldsmiths conference “From Grains to Gold.” When I first heard that the SNAG conference was coming to my city I knew this would be my chance to finally go. I have been meaning to get to a conference for the past 10 years. I had a chance to go as a field trip during my undergrad studies at SCAD in 2004, but being that it fell over spring break and I had already booked a trip to the Bahamas I missed it. …Continue

Tags: From Grains to Gold, SNAG Conference 2014, jewelry, volunteer, conference

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