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I’ve always been a nosy person: I want to know everything that’s going on, and why. Now that I’ve embarked on a career in the art jewelry and fine craft fields, my curiosity has found new focus. How did that artist get where they are? What advice do established makers have for others? How is everyone making a living? This blog is an opportunity to ask all the questions bouncing around in my head, and muse a bit in a more official format about my burgeoning career.
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In this blog I hope to explore the paths that artists take to get where they want to go. Each step on the way to my current phase has been full of decisions, options, possibilities, doubt… but the more decisions I make and people I meet, the more I realize the “right answer” I always used to stress over is kind of a myth. Everyone takes a different path, and some more planned than others. Sometimes where you find yourself is a happy accident, sometimes it’s a continuing challenge, and sometimes it’s the exact place you had in mind.
With each new person I get to know I become more interested to hear how different people’s stories are. I’ve met people who are self-taught, and some with MFAs. Some work part time, and some are spending every waking hour on their business. Especially interesting to me, some people stumbled into where they are now, while some have charted a determined course for many years. I’m slowly carving a path for myself in a world without a lot of clear instructions. I’m trying to make the right decisions as I figure out my goals, while learning what choices matter for the long run.
This year will be my first trip to a SNAG conference, and I plan to make the most of it. I figured when I made the plan to travel from my home base in Portland, Oregon, all the way to New Orleans, I should do everything I can to make the trip useful. I’m looking forward to participating in (and blogging about!) the trunk show, portfolio review, and pin swap. I’m also excited for the excuse to embrace my nosiness. I’m hoping to hear and report on the wide range of paths that other metalsmiths have taken, as well as people’s thoughts on being an artist in this field. This blog will use the lens of the SNAG conference as a jumping-off point to explore the different routes people follow to pursue their careers, as well as explore my own priorities and goals.
Hello dear readers!In this blog post I’d like to share some great insights from another awesome conversation at the 2017 SNAG conference. I got the chance to have a chat with Michael Radyk, Director of Education for the American Craft Council, and Paul Sacaridiz, Executive Director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. They both had some valuable thoughts to share from their backgrounds as makers, members of the educational and academic arenas, and participants in shaping the craft community. I snagged them in between sessions for a casual chat about how they see the field and advice for building a strong career.Part of what drew me to this blog was the feeling that we don’t talk enough about the nitty-gritty details of being a working artist -- things like money, and making a living, seem to be harder to talk about than I wish they were.…Continue
Hello again, fellow intrepid makers! Today I’m sharing some tidbits and insights from a lovely conversation I had with Aurélie Guillaume, a fabulous art jeweler and enamelist from Montréal, Canada. Currently she is the artist in residence at Lillstreet Gallery, and will be their featured jewelry artist for the month of July. I spoke with her about her work, her current career path, and her thoughts on making a living in the “art jewelry world.” I’ve snagged some pictures for this post from her website, and her fab Instagram feed. Seriously, go check them out for yourself. (Aurélie's website has photos of the BACKS of her work, which are as stunning as the fronts! I stole a couple to share here, but trust me -- you want to see the rest.) Her work is incredible and her Instagram is full of process shots.…Continue
OH. MY. GOODNESS. Is there anything better than being in a room full of your fellow nerds? Really, I can’t think of anything. Especially when those nerds are METALSMITHS. I’m finally getting back in the swing of things after returning from New Orleans last week, and I gotta say… My final verdict on the SNAG conference is (drum roll please) IT’S AMAZING! YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY GO!!! Ok, I’ll try and cut out the shouting. But it’s been a week, and I’m still blown away by how great my first conference experience was. It’s hard to decide on my favorite part, so I won’t. I have some awesome interviews and insights coming your way in the next few weeks as I transcribe and digest the great conversations I had, but for now I’d like to share my top reasons to put next year’s conference on your calendar ASAP! (Sorry, that part’s not shouting, it’s just an enthusiastic acronym.)…Continue
Welcome back, my lovelies! As I begin my blogging journey with the SNAG conference in mind, I’m thinking a lot about all the bits and pieces I have to accomplish before my trip. My goal is to squeeze out as much benefit as I can from this trip, and in typical fashion I try and control the uncontrollable by planning til exhaustion. So my conference prep checklist includes these big-ticket items:- Plan for the trunk show.The soft fiber in my work presents a challenge. Displays can’t be over half an inch, which means my typical strategy of displaying work under plexiglass sheets to avoid too much fondling won’t work. Alternate ideas include gently worded signs about no touching… this goes against the grain for me so I’m not sure how to tackle this yet. Another option that I usually use for shows is to have a “sacrificial” piece so people can experience the material without handling the higher-priced art pieces. OH, also I suppose I’d better finish all the work I want to bring!- Plan my…Continue
Hello, dear readers! I’m so delighted to be blogging about my own work and the upcoming SNAG conference in New Orleans. I’d like to share a bit about myself and my creative process, in preparation for taking on the Big Easy.Portrait of the Artist, age 12I’ve loved art and making things since I was little (I got my first glue gun at age eight, and once asked for my own roll of scotch tape for Christmas.) I made a concerted effort to not be an artist when I first started college, but it didn’t take. After I got a post-bacc certificate at Oregon College of Art and Craft I worked a couple “grown-up” jobs, and then decided to give full-time art a serious try.From top: Brooch, brass and upcycled sewing thread; Earrings, brass, thread; Necklace, brass, sterling, threadMy work is materials-focused. I’m a nerd for a new tool, a new texture, a new space to play in. I spent a lot of time in art school worried about the concept behind a piece. Am I talking about collecting? Sentimentality? The…Continue