Seattle Metals Guild Northwest Jewelry & Metals Symposium 2011

Detailed text care of the fantasic and ever loquacious Andy Cooperman:
 Symposium #16, 2011


Symposium? Seattle? Wait a second, didn’t we just have a symposium in Seattle? Well no, that was SNAG and it was way back in May. What’s fast approaching is the Sixteenth Annual Pacific Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium on Saturday, October 15.


Why have the Symposium in the same year as SNAG? Well, because the informational, inspirational, international learning and networking crucible that is the Symposium is a tradition eagerly anticipated by the Northwest art and craft community. It is where, every fall, the Seattle Metals Guild brings makers and metal devotees of all stripes--members and non-members -- together in one place to learn, meet, greet, renew and begin relationships. But more important, the Symposium offers something different; it’s our conference, an experience more concentrated and intimate than SNAG, with its own power to inspire and
enrich. And, finally, there were some people who simply couldn’t make it to SNAG.


If you’ve been attending the annual Symposium the past several years, read the reviews in the newsletter or heard friends and colleagues talking about it you know that each year the Symposium is more varied and dynamic. Well, this year the Symposium Planning Committee had their work cut out for them. Understanding that the bar has been raised by the huge success of SNAG Seattle, the committee has worked tirelessly, with little sleep or nourishment, to craft a stellar program that offers heart, head, soul, flint and fire all on a silver platter. Our international slate of presenters this year are:


From the United States: Kristin Beeler
Beauty and Other Monsters
Beauty is often used as a tool in commerce and seduction within popular culture. But how it is used-- and to what end-- within the art world is changing and it is rarely discussed as an end in itself. So, is beauty enough? Artist, metalsmith, writer and teacher Kristin Beeler will shine a light on the elusive subject of
beauty: the various roles it plays in the greater culture and how her work has been influenced by her attempts to define the term itself. Beauty and Other Monsters is another stage in a continuing investigation that includes lectures at the Yuma Symposium, the 2010 SNAG conference, a recent essay in Metalsmith
magazine and an exhibition of the same name at the Velvet daVinci gallery (which can be found online at Beeler is a Professor of Art and program head of the Jewelry and Metalsmithing area at Long Beach City College in the LA area. Her work appears in publications such as Art Jewelry Today, 500 Lockets and Pendants and Metalsmith Magazine Exhibition in Print. Beeler was a Resident Artist In the spring and summer of 2009 at both the Cleveland Institute of Art and Kent State University.


From Down Under: Julie Blyfield
History, Passion & Place: Contemporary Jewelry & Objects from South Australia
Forged tendrils, engraved fronds, carved and cast acanthus leaves: metalsmiths have long turned to plants and flowers for source material. But there is a fine seam that runs between fidelity and abstraction,  representation and expression. Artist and metalsmith Julie Blyfield works this vein carefully, building compelling, enigmatic objects that are grounded in botanical form yet layered with personal history. Her delicate raised and chased work has been recently acquired by the Musée des Arts Decoratifs collection in Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Images can be found in books including 500 Metal Vessels and Adorn: New Jewelry.

And this, hot off the press: Julie Blyfield has just won the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize at the South Australian Museum for three of her silver vessels. The artist will speak about her work and career. To learn
more about the Waterhouse Prize go to:
Become more familiar with her process and work by visiting:


From across the pond: Helen Carnac
Time, Lines & Process.
Drawing on her London based studio practice, Helen Carnac will speak about the evolution of her work over the last 17 years. Trained as a metalsmith (she is known for her sensitively rendered enameled forms), Carnac developed an early curiosity about how things are made. As her career developed she came to realize that making is, in fact, another form of thinking and her work is now often more concerned with the process of making rather than the product of making. Both a solitary and collaborative artist, Carnac has developed a balanced, holistic approach to her work, which draws on ideas of place and provenance, impermanence and mutability, upcycling, and the mechanics of art making and thinking. Carnac is also a curator, writer and teacher and since 2007 has run the project “Making a Slow Revolution”, an open forum on contemporary design and making and how this can contribute to the philosophies represented within the Slow Movement. In April of this year she assumed a position as a guest professor at Project Greenlab in Berlin.


Visit her website:

From the other coast--Uzbekistan by way of New York: Sergey Jivetin
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
This year’s Renaissance Man is an amalgam of designer, artist, jeweler and engineer, a young maker with one eye cast toward the traditions of our field and the other in constant motion, scanning the horizon for what’s next. Sergey Jivetin is recognized for his inquisitive exploration of materials and exquisitely executed work. A diverse and tireless innovator, Jivetin will speak about his day- to -day studio practice, how he maintains a high level of creativity and integrates a variety of seemingly dissimilar projects and pursuits that range from teaching diamond setting and industrial jewelry production to designing medical devices and making jewelry art. Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the artist is an alumnus of both Parson’s School of Design and SUNY New Paltz and holds an MFA from the latter. Among the honors Jivetin has received: a Reed Foundation Individual Artist’s Grant, the Herbert Hoffman Preis (Germany) and the Second Prize and Grand Prize at Itami International Jewelry Biennial in 2009 and 2005, respectively.


To read an interview with Jivetin visit: or

From Holland, again by way of New York: Charon Kransen
The Inside Story of an Outsider
Charon Kransen is not afraid to ruffle a few feathers. The gallerist, bookseller and iconoclast is known for plainly speaking his mind, whatever the subject. As a teacher and seminar instructor his honesty and international acumen sets him apart. Though no longer engaged in making, Kransen is a metalsmith himself, which gives him a unique perspective as a gallerist. Charon Kransen Arts is a mercurial gallery that presents jewelry and objects from a stable of international artists at art fair venues such as SOFA, Craft Boston and Art Palm Beach. And of course, his eclectic book sale has become a fixture at the annual Symposium.


Visit the CKA website:

But there’s more…
The High School Educators’ Summit, along with the Resource Table is a popular feature introduced last year. Any high school teacher or educator is invited to come early, beginning at 8 am, and pull up a chair at the Educators’ Summit table. Washington State is home to some amazing high school art programs, many of which include jewelry and metals classes in the curriculum. The dynamic and devoted educators who teach in these programs are a wealth of information. Come share ideas and educational developments with colleagues or just sit down and swap war stories. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about the Passing The Torch program-- and to get involved. Anyone who took the time to look around the corner at the SMG Convention Center Biennial Exhibition this spring was rewarded with an exceptional and extensive display of work from high school students in the Passing The Torch Exhibition. These students represent the next generation of makers and metalsmiths. Clock hours are available to all primary educators who attend the Symposium. (Forms will be available at the Summit table.) Contact for more information.


The Resource Table is an area devoted solely to the free dissemination of printed informational materials. Schools, art centers, suppliers, service providers, guilds and organizations; pamphlets, fliers, business cards and newsletters: this is the place to connect with the resource you’ve been looking for or discover something totally unexpected. But perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Resource Table is that all attendees are encouraged to bring their show and promotional postcards, their business cards and exhibition announcements to the Symposium and place a stack on the table. This is a great way to get your
message out and see what others are doing. Be sure to bring plenty of cards.
The Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium would never be complete without the Silent Auction and the Book Sale. Our valiant and intrepid Auction Chair and Organizer, Jessie Whiley, has stepped down after many years of outstanding service. Into the void, emerging from the swirling mists of the Volunteer Ether,
strides Sally von Bargen, hammer held high, to bravely forge ahead as the new Chair. This year’s auction promises to be studded with intriguing and valuable items. And remember: by supporting the auction you are supporting the guild. To support and expand your mind, Charon Kransen’s movable feast of hard
to find and seldom seen books is here too. Every year brings something new, from technical treatises and basic survey-style books to the most esoteric text on the most specific ethnographic form of extreme body modification. This year lurking among the tables of Charon Kransen’s Book Sale will be a rare bird indeed…Charon Kransen himself. The energy that surrounds these two events surges during the breaks between presentations as people vie for that book, obscure exhibition catalogue or auction item with which they particularly resonate. The tables of the Silent Auction and the Book Sale offer yet more opportunities to interact and mingle.

An especially good way to mingle is to volunteer to help with the auction. Volunteers are needed!


And then there’s BAM.
Those sweet display cases that so many had a hand in building for the Biennial Exhibition were conceived and designed to be easily broken down and stored. On the Friday evening before the Symposium several of these will be reassembled at the Bellevue Arts Museum to house an ephemeral display of presenters’ work. BAM will host a reception for Symposium presenters and SMG members from 6 to 8pm. Beer, wine, and light fare will be offered. This is a wonderful opportunity to interact with the speakers in amore intimate setting.
The brief show--it will be mounted and struck the evening of the reception-- will be transported to MOHAI for the Symposium the following day, where it will reappear and remain for the duration of the Symposium.
One more reason to hold our Symposium in the same year and city as the SNAG conference: We will be saying goodbye to MOHAI. The Museum of History and Industry is closing its doors in the Montlake community to be born again in its new Lake Union home. Unfortunately the new MOHAI will not be able to provide the facilities that the Symposium, with its growing attendance, requires. So this will be our last year at the museum. We are sad to see this terrific relationship end but we are looking forward to our new home for next year, The Broadway Performance Hall in Capitol Hill on the campus of Seattle Central Community College. After an exhaustive search it was clear that this space was the one. But that’s next year. This year we are still at MOHAI.


Be sure to check the SMG website for detailed, up to date Symposium information: Click on the Events tab. Google our speakers to learn more about each of them. Registration is available at Brown Paper Tickets or at the door the day of the event October 15, 2011.


As always, planning, organizing and implementing the Symposium is a group effort. Without the considerable work of dedicated volunteers it would be a one-hour event, a grainy YouTube DIY video flickering on the screen, a crocheted flux cozy up for auction and a 1986 Rio Grande catalogue the sole occupant of the book sale table. We are indebted to Todd Hughes for his masterful and magic graphic design abilities, Aaron Barr (the SMG website) and our beloved and tireless president, Dana Casara. Welcome aboard Abby Frank, Sally von Bargen and Tara Brannigan, the three new members of the Committee. Thanks again to Jessie Wiley and to Lynne Hull and Pamela Lund who are no longer serving on the Committee.


The Symposium Planning Committee is:
Candace Beardslee (chair)
Tara Branigan
Andy Cooperman
Nancy Megan Corwin
Mollie Epstein
Abby Frank
Micki Lippe
Sally von Bargen


On behalf of the Committee, I hope to see you all at MOHAI--and BAM-- in
Andy Cooperman
Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)
2700 24th Ave East, Seattle, WA 98112-2099
Reserve the date and tell your friends about Symposium'11, happening all day Saturday, October 15, at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) at the scenic Montlake Cut on Lake Washington. Doors open at 8:00am for coffee, registration and the High School Educators Summit. Presentations begin promptly at 9:00am.


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