Tuesday, May 19, 2009

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!

For my customers and readers who are thinking "Huh, SNAG???"
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 website...)
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|
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.


Beth Cyr said...

Hopefully it means a dramatic change! I do think that SNAG seems to be all over the place. I went to the conference last year. It was my first, and though it probably won't be my last... i won't make a point in going to any that are super far away or would cause an overly extravagant expense. We'll see where the future of SNAG goes as to whether or not they want to embrace those of us not holed up in the academic/art for art sake community, much less the fact that um... society for north american GOLDSMITHS embraces far more than metal... (insert rolling eyes), but thats a whole other topic. obviously in some sense, they are for branching out, so maybe one day it will be a more all inclusive group that makes all sorts of jewelers FEEL welcome.

Valerie A. Heck said...

If you go let us know what you learn. I offered to volunteer and am going to be working on a project for SNAG. I'm getting married in two days so I haven't gotten the specifics on my project but I'm sure you'll see me post about it on my blog.

Bryan Park said...

Hi Danielle, you asked on Gabriel's blog about the age gap at SNAG conferences. My perception is that the gap is between students and mid-late thirty-somethings who have their career established and underway.

Although the conference adverts certainly made the word "Revolution" seem like it was leaning toward "revolting", I think that there was always a sense of "revolving" as well; that after 40 years SNAG would be coming around to some new things, and looking at the old things in a new light, and I think the conference offered this in several ways.

I know that you have been weighing the SNAG question for at least five years now, and I am curious if there is something that would make you want to be a part of it? Can you think of something that would make you want to join?