SNAG Conference 2012

So it’s about time I bit the proverbial. See if I can’t chew this mouthful, to mix my metaphors. Here’s my start of a bit of a run-down on the SNAG 2012 conference, that took place from the 23rd to 26th of May in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’m not sure how much of this I’m going to get through in one sitting, so in an effort to work strategically, I thought I’d start with an overview. What’s the catch? Well, it’s mostly by other people.

First up, you have to start at the SNAG website, where you can see who presented, and listen to the lecture given by keynote speaker, Garth Clark. There is also descriptions of the other presenters, and you can see the bio’s of the emerging artists who each presented 15 minutes on their own practice, at regular interludes throughout each day of the conference.

(As a quick aside, I recommend listening to the keynote. Clark’s material and his, dare I say, performance, were both top notch. I enjoyed his presentation and his views, which seemed to set the cat amongst the proverbial pigeons for the rest of the conference. To paraphrase, he suggested that craft as a term is too loaded, and that while design is in the ascendency [for which he was able to give a plethora of examples, but his first was possibly the best, in that Alexander McQueen was arguably the best artist of the early 21st C, and he was actually a clothes designer] we are best served to cut ties with craft, and call ourselves designers.)

As far as the other presenters went, there was makers, scholars, educators and innovators all of high calibre. Once again, many were featured in 15 minute interviews on Jay Whaley’s podcast that were recorded and first broadcast live from the conference venue over the course of the three days.

Now, aside from the official site, I’ve read a bunch of other commentary/reviews of the proceedings, and if you’re interested you can see below to check them out.

First up, some words from attendees:

Michelle Startzman is a grad student (<–like that?? it’s an Americanism you know?) at Arizona State, who I met on my first trip to Arizona. She talks about the conference from a student’s perspective, getting into some nitty gritty of the Education Dialogue that I didn’t get a chance to catch. I was being interviewed. (Not on the ray-dya, like they do to famous people, but a podcast, like ev-ry-bo-dy else with a computer.) She was also kind enough to help uninstall the Heat Exchange exhibition with me, and managed to rope in a couple of other excellent volunteers, Mary and Sarah, to help with same.

Halstead Bead talks up their highlights.

Jillian Moore and Liz Steiner do tag-team thoughts and review via the Crafthaus blog. I got to know Jillian a little better at Touchstone over the weekend, so I was impressed to find that her writings accurately (to my experience) portray her worldview.

and from presenters:

Caitie Sellers gave a stirring presentation, and her delicate works were a highlight of the Presenters Exhibition, and of my hand by the end of the conference 😉

Amy Tavern had multiple fingers in multiple pies. I’ll let her tell you about them all, though I will throw in a gratuitous plug for her soulful work in Heat Exchange.

Harriete Estel Bermann (a presenter in the final day’s Professional Development Seminar and general conference facilitator having hosted the ‘Smaller Conference Experience’ with Garth Clark over lunch the day following his lecture, as well as the speed-date style meet and greet for new attendees on day 1) talks about Garth Clark’s presentation in depth, in which she has sourced some of the images that he presented for inclusion.

And last, but not least, a brief wrap-up post from one of the conference organisers, Lynette Andreason, whose beautiful pieces were a highlight amongst the many exhibitions at the Mesa Arts Centre.