Okay, cheesy title yes but it got your attention right?
I'll never forget that day I was working at the Golds Gym when I lived in Arlington, Virginia. I found a copy of Metalsmith and flipped through. It was the spark that got me moving towards taking metals and jewelry classes. There were ads for several schools and places to take classes and I thought, I need to do this.
Shortly after I joined the Society of North American Goldsmiths, an organization (one of the founding members was my former professor Bob Ebendorf) to further the advancement of the metals/jewelry community and foster growth and provide cohesion to the field.
Then as I further delved into this new field, and began to consider studying professionally and earning my second degree I decided to attend the conference, this was back in 2008 and it was held in Savannah, Ga. And this was also my first trip by myself, meaning no friends and no family - I knew no one at this event! It was a bit scary but I make friends easily, a by product of being an Army brat.
When I arrived at the airport I made friends with the Kansas State people, Elliot Pujol was so friendly and we chatted waiting for the shuttle bus to take us to the conference hotel. I was incredibly grateful to have made friends and since I was born in Kansas, hanging out with the Kansas crew seemed very appropriate. Thus at the conference I gathered brochures and 'interviewed' other students about their schools and what they liked about them.
I was very much interested in going to Savannah College of Art and Design, plus I loved the city. However the pricey tuition kept me from seriously considering it an option, back then it was $32,000 a year (very near the salary I was making at the time!). In the end, East Carolina University offered the most for my money - four amazing and diverse professors and the tuition was very affordable.
Okay sorry for the long winded story but SNAG took me on the journey from the beginning of where I am today and that's why, if you're a jeweler or a metalsmith or both you should JOIN - there are fantastic resources - job opportunities, grant offers, exhibition announcements and many more. I'm super excited to attend the upcoming SNAGneXt Conference in Asheville this coming May.
For me as a studio jeweler that doesn't often get a chance to commiserate and share the trials and journey of a jeweler I LOVE getting to catch up with my friends at the SNAG events and geek out over jewelry and objects.
I hope you join and understand that it feeds and fosters the community.
As always thank you for reading!