There has been some discussion about Metalsmith magazine. I
wonder if you all would be interested in some of its history?
SNAG(Society of North American goldsmiths)was formed in 1968 by
a few metalsmiths and by 1970, it organized its first major
conference - in St. Paul, with a juried exhibition, lectures,
etc. This was a BIG DEAL for me then, a few years out of school
and hungry for communication with others in my field. By the mid
70’s, 1975 I think, there had been annual conferences which were
great - if you could get to them - but we wanted more. Mark
Baldridge(who teaches in Virginia) VOLUNTEERED to put together a
newsletter; it was called Golddust. It was soon up-graded to a
magazine with B&W pictures and articles on people, techniques,
reviews of exhibitions, etc. Still done by Mark as a volunteer,
I believe. In about 1980, SNAG hired an editor and changed the
name to Metalsmith.
SNAG is a non-profit, membership organization. It is able to
hire some help - a part time position as editor and a membership
manager, Bob Mitchell, but most of the work and decision making
is still done by metalsmith and jeweler members on a VOLUNTEER
basis because they want to see this organization continue to be a
vehicle for communications within our field and as a voice to
educate a wider public about our field.
Our field is growing. It certainly needs more than one voice.
Orchid is a wonderful means of quick communications, world-wide.
What a great resource for technical questions!!! Better than
any magazine can ever hope to be. The gallery will grow as more
of us learn how to put up our images and we can then see what is
going on as well as read. Maybe then WE will not need the
magazine as much. But, the more knowledgeable the public becomes
about contemporary metal, I would hope the more receptive they
will be to the kind of work many of us are doing. A very high
percentage of the run of Metalsmith every month goes to
libraries or is sold off the newstand, some, presumably, to non
metalsmiths who get it from curiousity. Maybe even to one of your
So…if you have suggestions about the magazine, please DO write
to a member of the editorial advisory committee(Metalsmith
members all)instead of to Bob Mitchell. They are: Keith Lewis,
Boris Bally, Glenda Arentzen, Beverly Penn and Megan Corwin. I
know they are always looking for good writers who are
knowledgeable about our field - hard to find, apparently. Any
volunteers out there? Metalsmith is not a big, impersonal
entity, if you are a member, its you. Participate and make it
what you want it to be.
Phew! that’s more than I usually say at one time, but I feel
pretty strongly about it. Thanks for letting me say it. Mary