To SNAG or not to SNAG, that is the question...

...well, not really, but it makes for a catchy (or should I say
kitschy) blog title! SNAG = Society of North American Goldsmiths. "An international educational nonprofit organization which supports and advances the professional practice of artists, designers, jewelers and metalsmiths." (or so they state on their

This year's annual conference is entitled "REVOLUTION" and runs from May 20-23, 2009 in Philadelphia, PA. from the Oxford American Dictionary:
revolution |ˌrevəˈloō sh ən| noun
1 a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system. • ( the Revolution) the American Revolution. • (often the Revolution) (in Marxism) the class struggle that is expected to lead to political change and the triumph of communism. • a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people's ideas about it : marketing underwent a revolution.
2 an instance of revolving : one revolution a second. • motion in orbit or a circular course or around an axis or center. • the single completion of an orbit or rotation.
So now the question is, what meaning of revolution is SNAG referring to? Are they revolting against something? If so, WHAT?!? OR...Are they simply orbiting around themselves and dancing in circles?!? These are valid questions. And if anyone knows the answers, please tell me! Some of you may already be aware of my disappointment in SNAG, as I stated in my older post about Metalsmith's 2008 Exhibition in Print "Equilibrium: Body as Site." If not, you can read it
here. Despite the fact that I dropped my SNAG membership years ago because I didn't feel represented by the organization, I was truly interested in attending this year's conference. The dizzy title "REVOLUTION," naturally peeked my curiosity and the fact that it is taking place in my old stomping ground, Philadelphia, were factors. But I was actually more interested in the conference due to the web 2.0 wave. I feel like I have connected with more of my peers within the last year through facebook, crafthaus, flickr and Etsy than I have in the last 16 years since I graduated from college. The ability to meet many of these people in real life was the real draw. I was also very interested in the
Professional Development Seminar. (Although I am confused why it is call a "pre-conference program"...doesn't it take place after registration begins...therefore it takes place
during the conference. Are they trying to separate the professionals from the academics at the conference too?) Unfortunately, I am not able to attend the "REVOLUTION" due to a schedule conflict. I am looking forward to hearing reports from others about the "REVOLUTION" so I can decide if I want to renew my SNAG membership or to resign to the fact that the organization is not meant for designers like me. I would be naive if I thought that one revolutionary conference would change the feudalism of our art metal community. However, with the influx of a younger, and hopefully more open-minded audience, change may slowly start to take place.

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Comment by Thea Clark on May 27, 2009 at 10:41pm
I understand your stance regarding SNAG. This was my first time to a conference after many years in the field, selling and/or teaching. I never felt part of it until, like you, I started networking online. There are many layers of participants, yes slanted toward the academic. However, I thought you might like to know, next year the Professional Development Seminar will be part of the conference with no pre-registration or separate fee. This seems like a good sign. Unfortunately, two meetings were offered at the same time on the last day, a follow-up PDS discussion and a Metalsmith feedback meeting. I would have attended both if I could, but peeking in the room I saw the Metalsmith meeting had about only 1/3 the attendance of the other.
All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity to make connections, take in many images of work from around the world and generally hang with people who speak our language. Plus the pin swap was loads of fun!

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