Community. Engagement. Advocacy. Humor.
So where to begin post-SNAG 2012? First impressions are that dehydration adds a nice layer of incapacitation on top of the usual exhaustion. Fun fact, I get vertigo when I’m dehydrated so my head is literally spinning.
Like the sediment in my inner ear, I’m still waiting for things to settle so I can get my bearings. This year was particularly surreal, as I had feared and anticipated it would be. The good thing about a resort is that everyone spends a lot of time together in the communal spaces catching up, or making new friends. The bad thing about a resort is that you’re all trapped on the island and some people did not come to make friends.
This conference was maybe half as big as Seattle’s... Now Seattle was epic, so that wasn’t a difficult achievement. And I think the smaller group created a lot of opportunities for slower, more considered engagement. Also the hostage-quality of the resort left us all in each others company as opposed to the usual forays into adjacent downtowns. Our options were high-end mall sprawl or the forbidding Arizona desert. Both equally terrifying in their own way…
group shot from "Hot Under the Collar" at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
I found this captive situation most frustrating with regard to the exhibitions. I failed to sequence it properly and ended up missing a few shows—in particular the enameling exhibition that was, by all accounts, fantastic—and I missed the crowds at certain venues. The spaces were not a few blocks apart, but miles and miles away, as in get-on-the-bus or in-a-car for up to 30 or 40 minutes between locations.
"Adam", 2010, hand fabricated, formed, and chased, 11 x 11 x 3 inches, by Avery Lucas in the "Cu / 29: Contemporary Work in Copper" exhibition at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
I did see both exhibitions at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts—“Humor in Metal” and “Hot Under the Collar”—and all of the exhibitions at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum— “Cu / 29: Contemporary Work in Copper”, “Crucible: 10 Years of Metals at Mesa Arts Center”, “Offerings–Gifts for the Muse: Work by Jan Arthur Harrell”, “eleMEnTAL: Becky Chader McDonah – Tedd R McDonah – Lynette Andreasen”, “Presidential: The Art of Leadership”, and “SNAG Showcase: 2012 Conference Presenters”. I whizzed through things fairly quickly, but I found that “Hot Under the Collar” was one of the best exhibitions of the conference. Also, "Humor in Metal" was a personal favorite given all of the work Brigitte Martin has put into both the book, "Humor in Craft", and all related projects.
Thanks to Andy Cooperman's "Chicken Choker" I can't get this out of my head.
In addition to all of these events, I was able to stumble my way through the “Exhibition in Motion: Pomp and Swagger” and got a good look at the other pieces back stage. It was very fun to take part in, and I hope everyone on the business end of the catwalk felt the same.
The secluded setting also meant that any excursions to local hot spots like the Botanical Garden were difficult or impossible unless you tapped out for an afternoon and found a local willing to drive or a car load to pack into a cab. I came into this conference with limited capacities, so I accepted my passive position as resort captive to a certain degree.
Because I arrived on Tuesday, I had time to try and adjust somewhat. Breakfast on the veranda of the hotel restaurant was a nice way to start the day. And somehow I always woke around 5 or 6am, never getting used to the time difference, so I developed an intimate acquaintanceship with that veranda. Every day I resisted my inner grifter-urge to pocket the small jars of jam and honey on the table. A few stray buffet muffins did not find themselves so lucky.
It has been particularly helpful co-blogging with Liz Steiner because I skipped out of things here and there when I needed a break. This was my 7th consecutive conference. I do my best to avoid guilt over truancy/absence at this point, with some exceptions. There is so much going on, but I am only able to soak it up if I’m in the right mode. Naps or hotel-room-monastic interludes are necessary.
Regardless of where these posts meander, I want to put on the record that I cannot begin to conceive of the agonies that go into planning such an event. This post-mortem is not the final word on the conference. Just my sleep deprived take on the whole thing. Hopefully everyone will chime in with comments...and please share your pictures on the flickr page for posterity!
Great post Jillian, I love that you inserted the youtube video "I"m not here to make friends", hahhaha.
was honest and gave a real sense of what it is like to attend. wish I'd gone, but alas I'm too broke.
I do wish there were more photos but it seems other Crafthaus members took care of that. thx for blogging, I know what it's like to re-cap on a conference.
Come to the SNAG website for lots more photos from the conference. Look under Events, Conferences.