This past weekend was the first SNAG Forging Entrepreneurs Symposium and I got the chance to attend. The event was hosted by the Society of Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, where I’ll soon be starting as the Studio Apprentice. Saturday evening was a reception in the gallery of the SCC. The exhibition ‘Humor in Craft‘ was a delightful backdrop, along with the SCC’s Store. I chatted with SNAG members, instructors of area colleges and even a fellow Kent State alum!Forging Entrepreneurs
Talks started early Sunday morning, promptly at 9am. There were two sessions going on simultaneously and the day was structured so that participants could see each presentation. Adam Kenney started things off in the gallery. discussing and presenting pie charts illustrating ‘Diversified Revenue Streams.’ Michelle Pajak-Reynolds followed, I think she’s the social butterfly of the jewerly industry. Michelle puts herself out there to really get to know and understand her customers and breaks her process down so we can do the same.
Brigitte Martin, the curator/author of Humor in Craft and a metalsmith herself, defined ‘success’ for us artist types (it’s pretty much the opposite definition from what you’d hear at a convention full of CEO’s). The last am presenter was Ronald McNeish, who is a traditional goldsmith but doesn’t shy away from technology, although he hires others to do most of that work for him.
Downstairs in the Studio, post-lunch, Wayne Werner sold his audience on the idea of doing craft shows. He also offered great tips on booths, researching and applying to shows and dealing with the public. But seriously, he was so convincing I bet soon we’re all going to be on the craft show circuit. Beverly Tadeu expanded on craft shows, addressing the importance of production work. It’s the main source of revenue for craft fair artists, and while cutting back on your time, processes and materials, the ‘essence’ of the piece is the one thing not to skimp on.
Todd Pownell covered maximizing your time, space and most importantly tool and equipment use. Then Glen Gardner wrapped things up with information on 3D Metal Printing, complete with samples of various stages of the process.
I’ve never been to a SNAG Conference, so this was a great first time experience with the organization. They’re planning on doing this Symposium annually, on the opposite end of the continent from the Conference, so if this fits your budget and schedule, GO.
There is no one cookie cutter way to be successful in this field, and the routes that were presented through out the day were as diverse as the metal work that’s produced in our field. I’m glad I got to hear see each presentation because they each fed into the next. PHOTOGRAPHY was a reoccurring topic, as was doing what you love and always working to be the best at it. I’ve had some time away from the studio, with this whole moving to another city thing, so this event has me ready to get creating again.