May 31, 2009

May 21st: First day of REVOLUTION

Doug Bucci officially opened the conference introducing the theme of the conference: REVOLUTION.
As also reported on his blogRevolution can be defined in many ways: a sudden change; a movement against a current situation; the actions of individuals or groups of individuals "revolutionaries." On SNAG's 40th anniversary, this conference will provide the critical context to consider the future of our profession, provide us the opportunity to reflect upon our history, and ultimately celebrate the independent thinkers and decisive movements that ensure change, growth and evolution in our discipline”.

I know I should probably write an objective summary of the conference and leave my personal opinion for the final comments...but I won’t! I can't help saying something on this first!
I think the conference gave a lot of attention to the past revolutionary but missed the opportunity of discussing the future!
Let me explain a bit more what I mean, I personally am a fond of history and I truly believe that knowing the past is the key to a complete understanding and appreciation of present and future, BUT the conference was all about the history (exception made for few brilliant talks). I would have loved to see all the talks exploring more the future aspect of jewelry, of craft and of the artist profession. I would have loved listening to how the big minds who took the stage are foreseeing the future.
I feel we have missed a good opportunity to discuss revolutions going on now. Some examples?
  • 3D modeling and CAD/CAM
  • new metals
  • alternative materials
  • interdisciplinary
I’ll discuss these themes a bit more in details later, now let’s get back to the first day of REVOLUTION!

Stanley Lechtzin was first awarded with SNAG Lifetime Achievement Award and he was also the first speaker with a talk titled “Seizing the Opportunity”.

He presented a collection of original old video/audio of revolutionary artists and teacher of the past. My take home message from him is all in title of his talk, recognize and seize the opportunities when they come up!

Second speaker of the day was Dr. Sandra Alfoldy, her presentation was titled “Imagining Ourselves: Looking into the Future of Craft”.

I didn’t really hear any future direction of the craft in her talk, but for a more in depth description/analysis of her talk I have to link to Gabriel Craig’s blog post.
Gabriel is definitively very passionate about this topic and you can follow the on-going discussion on crafthaus started by him.

The spot lights in the afternoon were for Leo Caballero, the co-founder of Klimt02 and his talk titled “Global Networking in a Global Community”.

Leo’s talked about the creation of K02 as an answer to the need of a reference space for contemporary jewellery artists and galleries. His presentation was divided into 5 sections:
  • Why not? Or how K02 was born
  • Creation, art selection, quality
  • Principles and objectives
  • The net, new technologies and K02
  • What about the future
At the end a video was played with a sequence of artists’ images/videos alternated by inspiring quotes.
Leo suggestion for the future was: “interaction is the key for the future”.

The afternoon section was concluded by the Juried Student Presentation, that you can see in the presentation below

byarthur hash

May 21, 2009

SNAG conference: The Professional Development Seminars

The first afternoon was dedicated to the pre conference Professional Development Seminars.
Marla Johnson Norris from Aristotle marketing company gave two talks.
The first one was about improving website performance and design and a second one focused on social network.
As a self-taught internet enthusiast, I really enjoy both her presentations, which I found were very informative.
In particular in the first one she explained with practical examples what to do to draw more traffic to artists’ website. Some were new information for me, as for example she pointed out this very useful website to find the best keyword phrases for your website. Some other things she talked about weren’t new to me, but they were pretty much obscure!
An example? Title tags!
I knew they were somehow important, but why? No clue..until tonight!
What I also liked about her presentation was that she used as examples websites from people in the audience to make those concepts really pertinent and actual.
I’ll be posting more details about her presentation in the following stay tune!
In the mean time check out her profile page, it is filled with tons of good info!

The second part of the seminar focused on The Evolving Role of the Gallery in a Virtual World of Commerce. Five galleries owners (Karen Lorene of FacĂ©re, Patti Bleicher of Gallery Loupe, Whitney Couch of ObjectFetish, Sienna Patti of Sienna Gallery, Beth Ann Gerstein of Society of Arts and Crafts and Ruth Synderman of Works Gallery) talked about how their role in these days of difficult economy is changing and what they are doing to “brew” new jewelry collectors. And I like what Karen Lorene said about this last point “every single person that buys a piece of jewelry is a collector, he/she may not know it yet” and her suggestion was to work in order to make those “unconscious” collectors aware.
The other hot topic of the first evening brought up by the PDS organizers (Andy Cooperman, Harriete Estel Berman and Don Friedlich and Ken Bova) was of course the relationship between the galleries and internet.
The virtual world can be an excellent marketing tool for galleries and all five galleries are very active in this sense, but on the other hand it is also a source of completion. And at this point of the discussion Etsy of course was mentioned, because it represents a very good alternative for artists who wants to sell their art without paying the 50% commission to the galleries. Since I'm an Etsy seller, who is also looking into galleries representation I was really interested in hearing what was their opinion about this. Both Sienna Patti and Whitney Couch respond came as a surprise (good surprise) to me, they affirmed that they would represent artists who are also selling their art on Etsy (provided of course they are a good fit for their galleries). They also said that they don’t see Etsy as the bad guy but rather as good and stimulating competition.
My last remark of this meeting is that after attending the conference I’m even more convinced that I want to find gallery representation.

And last but not least, at 7 pm the famous pin swap took place!

I was a little intimidated at first, but after braking the ice swapping my first pin with Eliana Arenas the only regret of the night was that 30 pins are way too few, next year I’ll have a big supply!
(more photos of my pins plunder are coming soon!)

First day balance: very positive!

SNAG Conference: Day 1

Here we are...the conference has started!
This is the first glimpse of it, the registration desk looking pretty busy

By the way, being my very first attending a SNAG conference, and I’ll try to post a new comer prospective of this experience.

May 19, 2009

Getting ready for the SNAG conference

For the first time in my life I’ll be attending a conference which has nothing to do with science:
the SNAG's 38th Conference "REVOLUTION" in Philadelphia.

This is very exciting but it is also scaring since I’m not really sure what to expect...I guess I feel like the night before a blind date!

For the moment I can just tell why I signed up
Networking: I want to finally meet some of the people that I regularly meet on line (especially on Crafthuas) and more.
Education: I’d like to learn as much as I can, since this is for me a relatively new field.
Sharing: I would like to exchange experiences and hear from other artists about their work and life.
Curiosity: I heard many different things about the conference and I really wanted to see it for myself.
Fun: I wanted to treat myself with a four days of nothing else than jewelry, is there anything more fun?!

There are already a couple of things that put me in the conference mood, I have booked my portfolio review and I have designed new pins (work in progress below) for the PIN SWAP, apparently one of the funniest activity of the first day of conference.

The adventure will start on Wednesday May20th with the Professional Development Seminar organized by Andy Cooperman, Harriete Estel Berman and Don Friedlich.
Main focus of this first day will be four lectures and discussion designed to offer information to establishing and maintaining a career in the arts with a special emphasis on the fast growing virtual world.
Speaking of which, I’ve been asked to blog about my first SNAG time, along with Emiko Oye and Gabriel Craig.
I’ll also try to twitter as much as I can while I’m there, so if you like to get quick updates on this event follow me on twitter.