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SNAG [was: Sad Fact]


#1

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https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/sad-fact

 SNAG really does include metalsmiths of all colors and bents,
working in all different metals and scale. 

I went to my first SNAG conference this year, and I’d like to verify
that there is no distinction made among various kinds of “callings"
among members. The folks there were there to learn, share and have a
great time, and that’s what took place. (The only incidence of
"snobbery” of any sort was at the pin swap, where a couple of people
wouldn’t trade with me because they were holding out for the
better-known jewelers’ pieces. Poor form! But that was, as they say,
the exception that proves the rule.)

I didn’t join for years because I wasn’t a goldsmith-- i.e., I
didn’t work in gold-- so I agree with those who support substituting
"metalsmiths" for “goldsmiths”. But I hope others will not allow
themselves to be intimidated by their perception of the name. These
are friendly, wonderful people, much like those here on Orchid, and
I had an unbelievably good time at the conference. No non-metal
people around to inhibit shop-talk, only vast numbers of friends and
colleagues. And the dinner and band at the end were the perfect
topper. I’d have a tough time imagining any improvement on that-- I
danced my fool head off, with no “my feet hurt” hubby to slow me
down. As you can tell, I can’t say enough about what a great
experience it was. So sign up, and go! You will NOT be sorry!

Noel


#2

What is a Goldsmith, a Silversmith and a Blacksmith? Again I saw a
total mixture of the terms in somebody’s email. Being raised and
educated in Europe (Master of Fine Art from the University in
Munich, Germany), where all those terms existed for hundreds of
years and were used in a very specific, clearly defined matter, I
have the feeling that lots of people in this country don’t even
know what’s the difference between a Gold-, Silver- and Blacksmith.

It has nothing to do with the material you use, it has something to
do with the end product you make! A Goldsmith, using Gold, Silver,
Platinum, Copper, Felt, Resin, Acrylics etc. makes jewelry. A
Silversmith, using almost the same kind of materials as a Goldsmith,
makes articles for daily use, like bowls, silverware, cups etc. A
Blacksmith makes horseshoes of course, but also all kinds of
decorative balustrades, window grates, portals etc.

I hope this helps for future reference,

Edith Schneider
Edith Schneider Jewelry
P.O.Box 52001
Palo Alto, CA 94303
@Edith_Schneider
www.edithschneider.com
(650) 813 9755


#3
   The only incidence of "snobbery" of any sort was at the pin
swap, where a couple of people wouldn't trade with me because they
were holding out for the better-known jewelers' pieces. Poor form! 

Sometimes, Noel, it may be that. But I suspect that more often, what
you found were people who’d only made a few, and pretty much wished
to trade pins with old friends. It wasn’t so much fame they were
looking to trade with, as their old buddies. it’s always a bummer to
finally, at the pin swap, meet up with someone you’d been hoping to
connect with again after a number of years, only to have run out of
swap pins by that time, due to swapping with people you don’t know.
now, granted, the pin swap is supposed to be a place where people
make new connections, but for those folks who put a good deal of
time, and sometimes money, into their swap pins, and only do a few,
it’s not surprising they’re then selective with whom they swap.
Also, although the pin swap is supposed to be cheap and easy things,
that varies a lot. Some people put significant time and thought into
producing pins which, even if inexpensive or easy to make,
demonstrate significant creativity and are worth identifying with
someone. Other examples one can see are obviously last minute
attempts to bring something, no matter what, even though that
something doesn’t suggest it’s trader has any creative brain cells
at all. I’ll occasionally feel reluctant to trade a pin I’ve put
some time and effort into, even if I made quite a bunch, if the item
to be traded for by some undoubtedly nice, but totally unknown to me,
beginning student somewhere, amounts to some silly toy or trinket
purchased in quantity at the dime store, with a safety pin glued on,
which shows no real original thinking. I’ve had people offer to
swap things that were little more than freebie swizzle sticks picked
up in the hotel bar at the convention hotel, and others where I
happened to recognize the item as some kids party favor straight from
the Archie McFee catalog. If such ideas are fun and unusual,
demonstrating some original thinking, then sure, I’ll trade. But it
better meet that test. (Or she’d better be really cute, or similarly
convince me to trade in spite of the pin. There have been a few
such, that I didn’t even bother bringing home from the convention…
And it DOES happen every convention, that about ten seconds after
I’ve traded my last pin, I meet one or two people I really would have
liked to give one of my pins to…

Peter


#4

Thank you Edith for this When ever I hear someone tell
me they are a silversmith and ask to see what they have made, they
show me silver jewelry. I was taught that a silversmith made
vessels, bowls, plates, etc., and they look at me with curiosity
when I say that I’m technically a goldsmith, but haven’t yet worked
in gold or platinum, because I’m still studying and working and
learning. (There are also Blacksmiths that are Farriers-I’m very
familiar with that- that also make decorative pieces for their
clients like hoof picks and the occasional special clasp for a
special necklace, but there are many Blacksmiths who never shoe
horses-Savannah GA is a treasure trove of fabulous Blacksmith
examples with all the gates, window grates, decorative fences etc.)

Cheers !
Dinah.


#5
I suspect that more often, what you found were people who'd only
made a few, and pretty much wished to trade pins with old
friends.

Hi, Peter,

I am interested in what you say, which is certainly an accurate
description of what I experienced (though I actually came home with
2-3 of my own pins-- I made a lot). As it happens, two people
actually said they were holding out for the more famous people.

But what especially interests me is that my assumption was that it
was rude and not in the spirit of the occasion to refuse to trade
even though what was on offer was a glass glob with "SNAG 04"
written on it with silver pen. You appear to feel differently. I
would prefer not to give one of my “much better” pins to someone
who, as you say, put no creativity into theirs-- but is it possible
to refuse without hurting their feelings? I know I was
offended/hurt when I was judged and found wanting. Most people were
pretty excited about my pieces. I suppose had the person said “I’m
sorry-- I only made a few, and I really want to trade with a few old
friends”, I would have perhaps been sorry, but not offended. But if
the person is standing there with a box-full…

Well, I don’t mean to make too much of it. I just assumed that the
etiquette of the situation was magnanimity. I wonder how many agree
that it’s cool to say no.

Noel


#6
  What is a Goldsmith, a Silversmith and a Blacksmith? Again I saw
a total mixture of the terms in somebody's email. 

Hello Edith,

I believe the email that you referred to was mine. My point in
writing it was, in fact, to point out the very differences that you
spoke of in your email. I am well aware of the classifications that
you outlined, but I may not have presented my thoughts as clearly as
I could have.

To my understanding, the term "goldsmith’ was chosen in specific
regard to the European tradition. I believe that the term was (at
the time) a wise choice since it spoke to the idea that a goldsmith
was familiar with all the other processes, materials and objects
produced by the other classifications of smiths, drawing from that
knowledge base and applying principals and techniques as they saw
fit.

I suppose that the fact that a goldsmith makes jewelry was seen as
subordinate to the fact that the jewelry that they make may
incorporate so much from the other smithing realms. (And, so, lent an
inclusive sensibility to the organizational title.) This was, I
imagine, a form of poetic license and selective definition that has
now outlived its usefulness.

Andy Cooperman
Visit my work at coopermanjewelry.com


#7
   A Blacksmith makes horseshoes of course, but also all kinds of
decorative  balustrades, window grates, portals etc. 

Just a little correction here. A Farrier shoes horses, and some
farriers also make their own horseshoes. But a blacksmith almost
never made horseshoes, unless he was also a farrier. I know some
blacksmiths who are also farriers, and some farriers who are also
blacksmiths, but neither group confuses the two different skills.
Even the tools are quite different. A farrier uses an anvil, like a
blacksmith, but it’s a different design of anvil than the
blacksmith’s. At one time, all farriers made all their own
horseshoes, today they buy most as blanks and adjust them, and save
the hand-making of shoes for competitions and for horses who need
special footwear, sometimes therapeutic. Blacksmiths can and have
made everything from nails to iron balustrades. Weaponry was usually
the province of the Armorer. Sometimes, the blacksmith would make a
tool, and send it to the Whitesmith, whose job it was to refine it by
filing and sometimes polishing. That would be the case if the tool
were for a surgeon, or a barber who also did a little surgery on the
side. A goldsmith, in the strictest sense, would work only in gold,
and the “jeweler” would have the task of embellishing the goldsmiths
work by adding A silversmith, traditionally, made any and
all things silver, from flatware and vessels to thimbles, buttons,
and . . . silver jewelry. Now me, I’m a metalsmith, and I maintain
the right to work, with authority, in any and every metal I choose.
I have degrees to support my claim, and products to verify my skill
level, but the general metalsmith is, I believe, a fairly recent
category. Just my 2 cents worth.

David L. Huffman


#8
    A Blacksmith makes horseshoes of course, but also all kinds of
 decorative  balustrades, window grates, portals etc. 
    Just a little correction here.  A Farrier shoes horses, and
some farriers also make their own horseshoes.  

[snip]

    Now me, I'm a metalsmith, and I maintain the right to work,
with authority, in any and every metal I choose. I have degrees to
support my claim, and products to verify my skill level, but the
general metalsmith is, I  believe, a fairly recent category. Just
my 2 cents worth. 

In Medeival Scotland there was a single guild that covered all
metalworkers. This went by the name of the Guild of Hammermen. Now
’Hammerman’ has a romantic robustness about it that metalsmith just
doesn’t, you could even say that it had a certain ring to
it…

Alas, today, it would be too easily misunderstood to be a useful job
description.

Bill Bedford


#9

Not having attended a SNAG gathering, I can’t speak to that exact
experience, but in Girl Scouts we have something similar. They are
called “swaps” (sorry, the letters mean something but I’ve forgotten
what - early senior moment!). You are SUPPOSED to make them, and
they should reflect both you and where you come from. Girl Scout
etiquette SAYS you swap with anyone who offers to swap with you. In
reality, often the older girls, particularly, get rather snooty about
swapping with younger girls - the “quality” of the swap is, due to
age, quite different. When my daughter and I went to the big
national Sing-along in Washington, DC several years ago she spent
weeks making very nice swaps. We discussed the etiquette, and that
there might be older girls who would not wish to swap, and might be
younger ones with very “basic” swaps. I talked about hurting the
girls feelings, and she understood.

We did not really encounter many snooty ones, but a lot of the
younger ones had not come prepared (probably had leaders who didn’t
really understand the swap concept), or the whole troop had all made
the same swap! She traded with them anyway, and we made a little
pile on one corner of our blanket and let anyone who came by pick
from the “extras”. Some of the kids had done the equivalent of the
hotel stirrer - they were tying bits of streamer, etc., and using
those as swaps!

Maybe a partial solution would be for folks who have really nice
pins to also have some simple, inexpensive ones as well, to trade
with those who have pins with less that sterling originality .

Beth in SC


#10

I have to disagree a little with Peter–I’ve been going to SNAG
meetings since 1988. This year’s meeting in St. Pete was the first I
had to miss–and I hated not being there. I even knew what my pins
were going to be. I always look forward to the pin swap as an
opportunity to see old friends, meet new ones and just connect with
as many people as possible. I"ve learned to make lots of pins
(regardless of what they happen to be) just so that I never have to
say “I’d rather not swap with you” to anyone. Lots of people show
up without pins and if I ask if they want to swap, and they say they
have nothing, I am happy to just give them a pin. I have definitely
encountered snobbery in this event–and it has annoyed me every
time. There are certain SNAG members who are absolutely
condescending and say they are saving their pins for “good” swaps.
Or those who look at my pins (disdainfully) and say, “No thanks”.
But then again, there is snobbery in just about every large group
meeting.

In SNAG’s defense, let me say that I think it is a wonderful
organization and well worth everyone’s participation. The meetings
are great on both educational and social levels. The people are
terrific and smart and fun and interesting. YOu learn so much just
by being there–among your peers for 4 days. I have made lifelong
friends and met people I admire so much. And if some SNAG members
don’t like my pins–to hell with them!!

Carolyn


#11

I am in total agreement with you Carolyn regarding SNAG Conferences.
I make the pins that I make, swap with lots, some years are better
pins than others, due to my time constraints. I come home with tons
of pins, and have a collection that has been building since 1991.
If you have some good friends that you see only once a year, make
pins just for them and don’t expect to swap. I get cool pins back
the next year from my friends who save special ones just for me. My
office is littered with pins attached to magnets and they line my
door frame and the metal vent pipe at my soldering station. I love
it when people come in and just stare at each pin and can’t wait to
sign up for the next year.

If you haven’t been to a SNAG conference, just go. The people are
great, the talks are interesting and inspiring. How often do you
get to hang out with 700 people who all have the same passion in art
that you do. I met Carolyn Bensinger and Noel, and countless
others. It is the place I first met Charles Lewton Brain, who is
now a close friend. There are countless others, too many to name
here

We are all struggling to make ends meet in a changing world. It
doesn’t matter if you are a bench jeweler, designer, retailer,
fabricator, studio jeweler, academic or student. We all have a
common love of the bench, our tools and our stories. It is this
passion and drive that will inspire our young. Get involved! Bring
students to your studio! Take your work to the schools! Our stories
of how we got into this business are as varied as the people work at
each day. My story included.

I feel so lucky and blessed that I have two amazing groups of people
to relate my challenges and my successes. My other craft friends
are jealous!

I love that this forum is talking about this subject. Keep talking!

-k

Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


#12
Just a little correction here. A Farrier shoes horses, and some
farriers also make their own horseshoes. 

That’s ferrier, not farrier. Ferrier as in Iron. It is not incorrect
to refer to a shoer of horses as a Blacksmith. Most Blacksmiths in
the olden days were also ferriers. We refer to them, those shoer of
horses, as blacksmiths. One and all. Except those from “over there”.


#13

I love SNAG, I missed St. Petes this year too and miss the energy I
gain form the confrences. Some of the best lectures I have attended
had nothing to do with jewelry and I think that is a strength of
SNAG, they are more inclusive than their name suggests. The main
point I was trying to make about SNAG was that I have seen more
young people there than any other gathering of out craft. I did read
someone’s post who said SNAG had introspective discussions about the
makeup of their attendees and that jewelers were over represented. I
thought this was funny and may tie into the spin off thread about
the definition of exactly what a metalsmith, silversmith and
goldsmith is but, I always thought that SNAG was top heavy with
academics. This is , far from being a critisism of SNAG, a boon to
guys like me who need and crave that kind of injection of what I
call pure art into their lives and careers. My observation about the
top heavyness of SNAG attendee’s origins was a knock to trade and
industry to get to SNAG and become invloved. If you want young
energetic blood, SNAG is where you will meet them and you will have
a great and enlightening time doing it. I will never miss SNAG again
as long as I can possibly help it. Like Orchid, I feel I get way
more from SNAG than I could ever give.

Sam Patania, Tucson
pataniajewerly@earthlink.net


#14
    That's ferrier, not farrier. Ferrier as in Iron. It is not
incorrect to refer to a shoer of horses as a Blacksmith. Most
Blacksmiths in the olden days were also ferriers. We refer to them,
those shoer of horses, as blacksmiths. One and all. Except those
from "over there". 

While you may refer to both blacksmiths and farriers as blacksmiths.
The blacksmiths I know are very clear about their role and name of
their profession and want to be called by their proper name and they
will tell you emphatically they don’t shoe horses. The derivation of
farrier is indeed from ferrum Latin for iron, however the spelling
ferrier is listed as an obsolete French one in the Merriam Webster
so at least in American English it is farrier.

farrier

\Far"ri*er, n. [OE. farrour, ferrer, OF. ferreor, ferrier, LL.
Ferrator, ferrarius equorum, from ferrare to shoe a horse, ferrum a
horseshoe, fr. L. ferrum iron. Cf. Ferreous.] 1. A shoer of horses;
a veterinary surgeon.

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160


@James_Binnion
Member of the Better Business Bureau


#15

Judy, your posting caught my eye - I’ve never heard anything but
farrier so thought I’d check out your verbage. Acording to my college
Webster’s, ferrier was the Old French form taken from ferrium (iron).
Other than that here are other findings - you may say ferrier but
think I’ll stick with farrier.

The Webster’s 1913 Dictionary shows:
Fer=B4ri`er
n. 1. A ferryman

Welcome to horseshoeing.com This is a site filled with products that
professional farriers throughout North America are using everyday.

Farrier
This professional shoes horses.

Farriery
It is the practice of shoeing horses

Farrier
horse doctor, blacksmith who shoes horses


#16
    That's ferrier, not farrier. Ferrier as in Iron. It is not
incorrect 

Sorry, but it is farrier with an “A”. Ferrier is the obsolete
French spelling. Don’t take my word for it though, look it up in a
dictionary, http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/f/f0042400.html

As for blacksmiths shoeing horses, that was not uncommon in early
America, as any kind of craftsman working in iron was likely to be
sought out for all types of iron work, but now, it will only show one
to be sharing in the general public misconceptions about both these
trades.

David L. Huffman


#17
farrier so thought I'd check out your verbage. Acording to my
college Webster's, ferrier was the Old French form taken from
ferrium 

Around these parts (South Ontario) I see ferrier and farrier. I
suppose it’s a British thing. I stand corrected from Dave’s post as
he quoted directly from the dictionary I suppose over the years, the
word has evolved into farrier.I don’t have a dictionary at hand so
he wins. When I listen to various British types use the word, it
would be very difficult to determine if it is a soft e or a that
they are using. So, since the British seem to have the horsemanship
edge, I think that this is why the words are sometimes used
interchangeably.