SNAG conference Memphis 07

I’m having a problem deciding whether to go to this conference, or
to wait until September and go to CLASP instead.

My dilemma stems from the time of year… this conference will be
held during the same time an ‘Art Walk’ will be held in the
neighborhood where I have a gallery. It will be June - warm, we
usually have a band outdoors (to try and draw in the crowd). I’ve
been to the last three SNAG conferences… loved them all!

I didn’t see anything mentioned about a pin exchange…is that going
to happen? If so, will it be pins? Pendants, or mass manufactured
stuff which has appeared at the last two conferences (the light up
trinkets, rubber trinkets) I’d really like to know what to prepare

Anyone going? Anyone have more info?

Thanks! Rita


I know there won’t be a pin swap this year, which is too bad. I love
the pin swaps.

If you think that being near your gallery and would benefit from
people visiting, then go for SNAG. If you think you would prosper
from meeting others in business and making your business grow, then
attend Clasp. Both conferences are valid for the audience they

I attended Clasp last year and for Metalwerx, it was the most
pivotal and most important business decision I made. I loved meeting
other business professionals, artists, and warm friendly people.
Having access to the best business minds for MY business was key.

My issue was how can I afford the time and the money to attend both.
Clasp did that for me. I’ll be attending SNAG and Clasp this year. I
need my art fix too which is why I love SNAG. My roots are in art
school. SNAG happens every year, so does Clasp.

If it were me, I would capitalize on all the new people coming to my
gallery and use the marketing umph that SNAG will bring to Memphis.
The following year, go to Clasp and then learn how to take all those
new people you meet and transform your gallery into something
fantastic. Marketing is slow, deliberate, like saving money for your
nest egg.

Last year Judie Raiford attended Clasp who owns the very successful
gallery, Raiford Gallery. This year I had the good fortune of
visiting her store first hand. Had I been at Clasp owned my own
gallery and met here there, I would have been thrilled at the
opportunity to inquire to her marketing methods. People who go to
Clasp are great about sharing their

It’s a decision you have to make. What’s best for you, what’s best
for your business. We always think of our business first because
that is what brings home the cash. But, what I got from Clasp, was
that I had to think of myself first, otherwise there is no Metalwerx.
Clasp reorganized my priorities and I have gone back to my roots of
innovation. It’s paying off.


School for Jewelry and the Metalarts
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
781 891 3854


We are not having a swap this year as part of the opening night
reception—the host, The Metal Museum, wants to do something
different and we like the idea of each year’s host now coming up
with something that makes the opening night “theirs.” This year in
Memphis the opening night party will begin with a “Procession of the
Blessing of the Tools”—following a European blacksmithing
tradition. Attendees are encouraged to bring a small hand tool to be
"blessed" and to join in the procession to officially open the 2007
conference. The reception itself (food included) will be at the
Peabody Hotel.

Dana Singer
SNAG Executive Director

What are you wanting and looking for?

As with any conference, it depends on the speakers.

I think CLASP offers a real chance to mingle and learn from experts
in our industry. It is focused on education and networking. To quote
Rio Grande, “Clasp is an education and networking conference
specifically designed to serve small manufacturers, metalsmiths,
designing jewelers and bench jewelers.” And it was ABSOLUTELY every
bit of that last year and was an amazing experience.

The SNAG Pin Swap was always one of the reasons I liked going to the
SNAG conference, though it became a bit “clickish” and has been
abandoned from what I hear. SNAG’s focus seems to be the “Academia
World” or “college metalsmithing crowd” whereas the CLASP is the

How about some feedback from other participants of last years CLASP?
or SNAG conferences?

Ronda Coryell
Studio Manager/Instructor


I have been doing research for a while for a book i want to write,
even though i am not a good writer, on Magic and Superstions of
metalsmithing. That said, I would love to get the contact information
for the people doing the “Procession of the Blessing of the Tools”.
It would be awsome to have.

Ray Tomlin
Columbus OH

"blessed" and to join in the procession to officially open the
2007 conference. 

You have blessed in quotes. Will they actually be blessed? By whom?
Just curious.


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

No pin swap and no pre or post conference workshops. That was also
one of the reasons I attended in former years. I’m still debating if
I’ll go or not (of course the chance to visit Elvis Presley’s house
could be an incentive… ??? !!!). Or does anybody know of any
workshop held in the week that follows the conference? If I don’t go,
I will miss seeing a lot of friendly faces, but the timing is just
not very convenient for me this year.

Linda Savineau (Belgium)

I would like to thing that any time you bring peope together that are
passionate about something they share and learn from each other. i
have not been to CLASP…yet. but I have been to a few SNAG
conferances and show events such as SOFA, ACC, and MJSA, every time
I leave these places I feel like I have learned so much from the
people that I meet, not to mention the presenters. It has always
given me a chance to meet my mentors and see they are just humans
trying to make a living doing what they love…it gives me hope, it
fuels my imagination, and pumps me up to get into the studio. once
you seperate the folly from the true knowlege offered at these events
you realize that by stepping into the labyrinth getting lost is half
the fun.

This years SNAG conferance is in Memphis, hosted by one of the
coolest of all metalic destinations,The Metals Museum. they have a
place for you to check your ego at the door…you won’t need it
there. The hotel is worth the trip alone, it is the crown jewel of
Memphis…Elvis’ tailor still works in Lanskys mens store on the
ground floor, no shit!. Beale street is is around the corner and the
Rendevous is the best Bar-b-q to be found. You know what this
means…If you can’t get your groove on in Memphis…you have NO

I’m off to MJSA New York this weekend…I am going to test drive a
$40,000 laser, see an antique chain making machine in action, and
raid the Platinum Guilds booth.

wayne werner
Baltimojo Maryland ‘the land of plesant living’

How about some feedback from other participants of last years
CLASP? or SNAG conferences?

My feedback for CLASP was that is was worth every penny!!! I had a
great time meeting others in the industry and since I live in such a
remote place and have not gone out into the industry really for ten
years that was very special for me. I also received the critiquing
and encouragement of me work that led me to enter the Saul Bell
Competition ( I am a finalist now) and apply to the JCK Vegas show,
which I am in now as part of the Rising Stars section of the Designer

Always having been an artist who is also very business oriented
Clasp gave me all of the info that I needed to think bigger and
national. The instructors were all great and very open with
David Feldman did a workshop called Pricing for Profit
that led me to inquire about his software which I just received and
am excited about using. It does everything I thought I was going to
have to custom program. The other programs out there that I found in
my research were tens of thousands of dollars and way too big. For a
small/medium shop/studio this program will handle all aspects of
production,pricing,parts,customer management,labor and employee
tracking…for only $150!@

The people that were at Clasp from SNAG seemed very academic and
scientific so if that is what draws you go there. Clasp is about the
business, networking, and being inspired. THank you Alan Revere for
the creative ispiration part and Andrea from the Bell Group is an
amazing business woman who can put into understandable words what
most of us without a Masters in Economics can not usually get. All of
the staff from Rio were friendly, helpful, and FUN! Now I know why
their company does so well with the customer relations business

So whichever you choose, make the most of it and enjoy yourself. I
will be back at CLASP so whoever is there from ORCHID we should have
our own dinner night!

Beth McElhiney

SNAG's focus seems to be the "Academia World" or "college
metalsmithing crowd" whereas the CLASP is the "Industry". 

This is my experience too, although I think it is important for the
“industry” to start paying attention to the academic world and get a
dialogue going before all the university programs are closed down.

Yeah, I have heard all the complaints that an art school education
and .50 cents can’t buy you a cup of coffee. BUT with no other
organized educational system being present for metalsmiths in the
United States think of how much worse it would be with no university
or community college programs at all.

My MFA never helped me to run a business but it allowed me to
experiment within my craft without the confines of having to make a
buck. That’s a wonderful thing.

As a student, SNAG is more affordable and you can network with lots
of big name Metal Department heads. Find the best teacher.

As a professional, CLASP is more targeted to what someone making a
living at their craft needs and wants to know. Find the best
to help your business survive and thrive.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228

Hello Ray

For more interesting track down the book “Metal Magic -
the Esoteric Properties and Uses of Metals” by Mellie Uyldert and
Translated from Dutch by Jane Fenoulhet. Turnstone Press Limited

This book talks about the metals: gold, magnesium, antimony, silver,
bismuth, mercury, copper, nickel, iron/steel, tin, lead, zinc,
tungsten, aluminium, platinum and alchemy.

Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


I suggest attending Clasp this year. It’s really worth experiencing,
nice people, excellent lectures and some cool technical demos which
you don’t get at SNAG. Rio does an amazing job at organizing this
conference and honestly, I wouldn’t throw my support behind their
efforts if I didn’t think it was valid.

One other point about attending Clasp. There are many bench jewelers
and studio jewelers who certainly benefit from what Clasp offers. We
always think of terms, what’s in it for me, and that is a valid
issue. But there are also attendees who have a lot to learn from you,
your views on art, material and your approach to conceptual jewelry.
You are a professional conceptual artist and the attendees at Clasp
would gain insights in your methodology and your artistic thought
process. Even better, this is a group who is actually receptive to
your way of thinking because they wouldn’t even make the expedition
unless they want to grow in their art and their own personal journey.

It’s worth it. Rio raised the professional bar and it’s up to us to
rise to its merits.

One personal note here. I am not in anyway saying to people, don’t’
attend SNAG. I’m going to SNAG. I love the art fix, the people,
everything about SNAG. What I’m saying is that there are two
conferences to choose from, or attend both. SNAG is on the advisory
board of Clasp. What I am saying is, based on what I know from both,
YOU have to make the right choice. I’m at a lot trade shows around
the country, so going to Clasp and SNAG with nothing to to except sit
and soak up the is a kind of vacation.

The issue, or the “big banana”, as my professor used to say at my
review boards, is determine what is the right choice for you.


At the Big Apple. Come see Metalwerx at Booth 121 at the MJSA Expo,
Javits. (Shameless promotion!)

School for Jewelry and the Metalarts
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
781 891 3854

 people doing the "Procession of the Blessing of the Tools". 

I “bless” my hammer every time I miss and forge my thumb! There’s
somebody whose job it is to do this for me? Where can I find this
person? Can’t wait for the book; it sounds really interesting. Keep
us informed.

You have blessed in quotes. Will they actually be blessedi By
whomi Just curious. 

Elaine, sorry it took me so long to respond. I put it in quotes but
apparently it is a real blessing. The Metal Museum has lined up an
Anglican Priest, Chuck Filiatreau, to officiate the procession and
the blessing. I’m waiting to receive more details and will post them
on Orchid as soon as I know more.

SNAG Executive Director

The Metal Museum has lined up an Anglican Priest, Chuck Filiatreau,
to officiate the procession and the blessing. 

I plan on attending SNAG but luckily I will be missing the
“blessing.” Being a long time Taoist, Alchemist, and Native American
spiritualist, I would be afraid that my tools would sprout legs and
run away of their own volition should an officiate of the currently
dominant sky-god religion come too close. (:~O

I am sure it will be a beautiful and meaningful ritual for many.

Nanz Aalund

Being a long time Taoist, Alchemist, and Native American
spiritualist, I would be afraid that my tools would sprout legs
and run away of their own volition should an officiate of the
currently dominant sky-god religion come too close. (:~O 

I’m with you, Nanz. I’d be more interested in this ritual if it were
to be performed by a more widely ecumenical figure than Anglicans
generally are. Even a Unitarian, if we must have a Christian.


thank you Nanz for informing the masses that not everyone would
appreciate an Anglican Priest.

Jennifer Friedman

Perhaps it is the intention of the blessing that is more important
that who performs it, as with prayer, Seems to me that it is not who
we pray to, but that we pray My studies have lead me to understand
that prayer is not a request but an acknowledgement.

Just like the law of gravity, which operates regardless of your
belief, there are spiritual laws. Quantum physics seems to
acknowledge that thought influences matter.

People who practice being pessimistic seem to have more bad things
happen to them. Acknowledgement of the truth of who we really can
take many forms but the result remains the same. Some say it is not
what happens but how we perceive what happens, so perceiving that I
am the center of ever expanding goodness is a much more pleasant
experience of life for me. There is a core place that is tied to
something greater that the symptoms, ( symptoms : subjective, from
or taking place in a person’s mind rather than the external world) I
experience that would have me believe otherwise.

Richard Hart

Your messages Re: the ‘blessing’ of the tools at SNAG are so
welcome. I am uncomfortable with the assumption that my tools are not
already blessed by having been used (and abused) in my hands, and,
although I will be attending the conference (and expect to love it as
usual), I will not be attending the ‘blessing’.

Maybe we can find an alternate space, for those of us who bask in
other forms of blessedness, to celebrate the opening of the
conference with like-minded attendees. I’m up for it.

Linda Kaye-Moses

I’m really curious as to how the SNAG Board came up with the idea of
an Anglican “Blessing of the Tools.” Is it some kind of
post-modernist practical joke? Has somebody just supervised a thesis
on the history of jewelry and fishing in England?

No insult to our friends across the pond, but the US doesn’t have a
state religion and, if we did, it wouldn’t be Anglicanism, and, if it
were, I’d stake my life that the SNAG Board would be "dissenting."
The whole thing is just downright weird.

Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US