I'm writing to give you an update on the Clasp Conference in
Nashville. I was hesitant about attending this conference, it being
new, expensive and forcing me in making a split decision about
attending SNAG or this one. After the first day I can tell you
without a doubt, it was worth every penny I spent.
Rio Grande, along with the advisory staff, The Ganoksin Project,
Bench Media, SNAG and MJSA, have outdone themselves in both content
and comradeship. The talks are informative, personable and are
completely relevant to what is happening in jewelry making today.
After the first day, I have learned more about business
communication, web design and business tips that I could ever learn
in a book or years of gleaning through the internet.
I was leery of the first presentation by Joel Zeff, worried that yet
again, some Tony Robbins style of motivational dialogue would be in
store. However, I was SO wrong. His style of humor mixed with the
relevance of business communication had everyone laughing. Wow.
Honestly, I don't remember when I laughed so hard.
The highlight for me was five distinguished panelists Andrea Hill,
Aaron Kahlow, David Feldman, Rich Youmans and Frank Dalllahan who
gave 75 business tips in 75 minutes. Each person had 1 minute to
present a pearl of wisdom, that together, created a necklace of
beauty and contemplation.
And this is only the first day!
News from Day 2.
More good vibes from the attendees. Impromptu breakfasts, a quick
coffee here and there. We mingle, we laugh and were treated to other
Alan Revere treated the crowd to sketches in jewelry using thin tin
foil. We all crumpled, twisted, turned and rolled tin foil into
brooches, rings, tiaras, crowns, necklaces and tiny hats. Next with a
simple black pen, we were asked to draw a clock, the Golden Gate
bridge and a self portrait with our eyes closed and making sure the
pen never left the paper. We laughed at the comical images of
ourselves, but amazed how much they resembled us too. Alan showed us
that by isolating a portion of the sketches was one effective way to
begin the design process. This was inspiring process for attacking a
blank page in your sketchbook.
Another excellent lecture was from Dave Feldman from Metaliferious.
His lecture in the Money track of the conference gave us solid
business advice for understanding overhead, expenses and the overall
running of a jewelry business. A highlight was seeing examples or
excuses in poor business management for artisans selling jewelry. For
example, "Well, I might lose money on an individual sale, but I make
the money back on volume." Understanding how to price our work is one
of the mysteries that plague many jewelers. Dave Feldman
deconstructed the process and made it easy to understand.
From the technical crowd, Charles-Lewton Brain, Kate Wolf, Bradley
Simon, Jurgen Maerz and Alan Revere showed us their bench tips for
holding, soldering, wax work, grinding, etc. I'm glad I didn't miss
I'm looking forward to hearing the talk from Andrea Hill in the
morning. At the end of the conference, each participant will receive
a DVD of all of the talks. Great!
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio