This has been a surreal year, and I go into this conference with a little bit of reluctance.  Not because I have doubts about it, but because I have doubts about myself.  I have become accustomed to diving in head first to the melee of the conference.  Normally it’s a refreshing change from the solitude of my studio here in Iowa.  This is the first year where I have reservations as to whether I will be up for what the conference asks of an attendee.  Imagining myself in Scottsdale, Arizona at a spa/resort makes my brain hurt a bit.  I prefer my sun filtered through trees, my swimming in muddy Midwestern waterways, and my state politics…well, I’ll try and tamp that down and slather on the sunblock. 

Many friends who are old pros at the conference have described hitting this wall.  They begin staying off site, arranging private events, and slinking away from the larger hotel frenzy.  I may find myself doing some slinking off as well.  This year I would like to make better use of the content of SNAG, and that means backing off of the networking. 

Allyson Bone, Necklace No.1 (Green Eyes), 2011 sterling silver, aventurine, nylon

Last year I was so excited to see the Spotlight lectures on Emerging Artists.  This year is only different in that I am invested more personally.  Several friends, including the very dear Allyson Bone, will be in that spotlight.  I still feel that this has been one of the best additions to programming in some time.  While the mid and late career lectures are a staple of the conference, I find myself rooting for these beginners because I can relate to their particular anxieties and enthusiasm. 

I’m certainly also going to attend the top-tier lectures, but I’m not feeling moved by them just yet.  I am most familiar with Kim Cridler and Bettina Speckner, so I look forward to learning more about them.  I hope to dig in deeper with the others.

And while there are many great lectures and panels going on, I’m currently more curious about this secret room crawl facebook has been telling me about.  Independent and subversive events are a welcome addition that has been on the rise.  I hope it continues to expand, and those outside of the structure of SNAG are able to contribute in unique ways every year.  Let’s hope this goes well, and it inspires more out of the box events in kind.

I’ve tended to be wishy-washy about the Keynote speakers, but I’m very interested to hear from Garth Clark.  He has a reputation for honesty that can sometimes sting—what’s not to like!  As I’ve said before, I’d prefer a little friendly contention over homogeneity any day.

I’ve got my name on the docket for a couple of events—the “Humor in Craft” and “Hot Under the Collar” exhibitions, the Exhibition in Motion, and the Trunk Show.  I feel a little exhausted just thinking about it…Those will likely use up whatever juice I have on offer.  I’m very grateful to split blog duties with Liz Steiner, and leave much of the blow-by-blow in her capable hands.  I’ll be playing passenger much of the time.  Hopefully I can be as attentive as I would like, cleave my tongue to the roof of my mouth, and play the sponge, because I feel terribly wrung out.

Tags: Allyson, Arizona, Bettina, Bone, Clark, Collar, Craft, Cridler, Exhibition, Garth, More…Hot, Humor, Kim, Motion, SNAG, Show, Speckner, Trunk, Under, art, bracelet, brooch, contemporary, craft, crawl, in, jewelry, metalsmith, metalsmithing, necklace, ring, room, the, wearable

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Replies to This Discussion


I know what you mean, but want to invite you to come to A Smaller Conference Experience Lunch Discussion with Garth Clark. Sitting is limited, so buy your lunch in advance either Grap and Go, or at a local vendor. As you said, Garth is known for his outspoken opinions...

P.S. My personal survival technique for Conferences is finding a local grocery store and stocking up on fruit, yogurts and whole wheat something. I've walked miles to find a grocery store, the hotel will never tell you. Look this up online or use your smart phone.

I have already searched "market" in google maps near the hotel, there is a Safeway down the road, 14 minute walk.. (which could be difficult in 105 degree weather! Cannot forget the sigg bottle)


Perhaps we can walk together at 7:00 a.m. Look for me or call  650 274 1781


Good idea, I will look for you at the pin swap!

Thanks! Maria

I totally agree, SNAG is one hell of a weekend, ECU symposium is just a whole weekend of those SNAG sneaking off times smooched together . :D 

the unofficial crawl was fabulous and a hellofalotta fun! thanks for coming by!


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