SNAG envisions a diverse jewelry and metals community that engages in thoughtful conversation and critical discourse while preserving tradition and embracing innovation
Joshua Kosker Assisting a Student at Indiana University's Open Studios. Photo credit: Indiana University
In November 1968, Philip Morton held a meeting in Chicago, attended by Robert Ebendorf, Phillip Fike, Hero Kielman, Brent Kington, Stanley Lechtzin, Kurt Matzdorf, Ronald Pearson, and Olaf Skoogfors. Out of this meeting came two clear goals: to create an organization of “designer craftsmen in the metal arts field” and to produce a conference of professional jewelers. In 1969 a larger group met two more times, establishing the basic parameters of the organization, its name, and plans for the first SNAG conference in 1970.
The First Meeting
SNAG has come so far since 1969. From that first meeting of 9 goldsmiths and silversmiths, to our current membership. Back then SNAG had 64 original members, and now we have more than 2,000 studio artists, educators, students and others working in all metals, alternative materials, and all aspects of contemporary art, design, jewelry and metalsmithing.
The First Conference
The first SNAG conference took place in St. Paul, MN in 1970, and approximately 100 people attended. Now we routinely enjoy hosting 750 members at the annual conference.
SNAG’s very first publication was SNAG Newsletter (1975-1993). Golddust (1975-1977) and Goldsmith Journal (1977-1980) evolved into Metalsmith magazine, which launched in fall 1980. Metalsmith Tech, a companion publication to Metalsmith, was started in 2018.
SNAG has far exceeded its original vision. We have educated and energized a further two generations in the metals community. SNAG’s commitment to the field has never waned, and we continue to evolve to remain vibrant.
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SNAG Slide Archive
In 2004, SNAG donated a slide archive to The Metal Museum. It contained the portfolios of over 330 metalsmiths of national and international significance. The Metal Museum then partnered with the American Craft Council Library to make the collection available online. The complete 16,000-slide archive was digitized for long-term preservation through grants from the John and Robyn Horn Foundation and an ArtsFirst grant from the First Tennessee Bank Foundation.
The collection can be found in the American Craft Council’s Library & Archives Digital Collections.
Thank you to all of these organizations and supporters for making the image archive available today.
SNAG is important to me because it provides a community. We live in a more connected world than ever…but that connection cannot be compared to the ways that metalsmiths can connect with one another across the continent by taking part in a concrete community, both online and in person. In terms of both professional education and camaraderie, SNAG's ability to connect us to each other is far greater than our ability to seek out that connection on our own.
– Jeremy Diamond