This is an annual conference and gathering of metalsmiths from all over North America, and each year it's in a different city. This year, Seattle. Cool city! It's really great to be able to be surrounded, not only by hundreds of artists, but specifically metalsmiths, enamelists, jewelers, and craft professionals. I was able to connect with some old friends as well as meet a lot of new and interesting people in my field.
Making plans for this year was a little crazy. Usually people stay at the hotel that hosts the conference with a group of friends sharing a room (because these are nice hotels). My plan had been to stay with my NC Black crew, but their plans were altered, and they weren't able to stay at the hotel due to various circumsatances, including the fact that they drove across country and had a thule trailer attached to the car for all their equipment, and that could not be parked in the garage. Great. So I called up my friends Annie and Ben who live in Seattle, and made arrangements to stay at their house. This all went down about 3 weeks prior to the conference. So I got my plane tickets, rented a car, and headed out west solo. Scary! For me anyway. But it all worked out. I flew in on Thursday morning, and that night there was a "pin swap" meet & greet session to kick off the conference. I had made 15 pins for swapping, and unfortunately, I don't have a good photo of them to post. But they were tiny copper cones (made with NC Black tools of course) with hand-dyed wool plumes poufing out the tops. I liked them. And in return for these, I got all kinds of neat handmade pins!
Of the names I know (it helps if you put your pins on business cards!), I got pins from Kristi Kloss, Lessley Brooke, Melissa J. Russell, Nancy Tiska, Kim Howell, Jennifer Wall, Kathryn Osgood, Kim M. Baxter, Erin Swietnicki, Callie Shevlin, and Maggie Smith/Quirk Gallery. Well done!
Among lectures, artist spotlights, and various other activities, I also helped out in the NC Black Co. vendor booth doing demos and helping to sell tools. Here's a photo of our booth featuring the always fabulous Andrea Kennington and the delightfully dapper Les Bryant.
and the featured hammers:
That was a lot of fun. Les and I were also filmed by Jay Whaley and Greg Berg of Whaley Studios in San Diego, doing demos - anticlastic bracelet for Les, and micro raising for me. I'll post a link to that when it's up. I imagine they just got home, too.
I'll be back later today or tomorrow to share some info I gathered at the conference. But for now, there are other tasks that need attending. Thanks for reading!