Keen observers will have noted my name on the list of people speaking at SNAGneXt this year in Asheville. Even keener ones will have noted that a few weeks ago I was near (and briefly in) Asheville, NC, at Penland for a week. Asheville: the neodymium magnet of the Carolinas*…
At the modified and re-branded SNAG conference this year I’m very pleased to have been invited to speak in the SNAGspark portion of the program, where I will be giving a presentation entitled Holistic Thinking: Interconnection in Jewels and Practice. There, amongst a few other things, I’ll share my “tips for maintaining a sustainable creative practice, gleaned from sources near and far.” The basic premise of my talk is that I get around, and in all the places I go, I’ve noticed a few common threads that help make for robust communities (first hint) and economically sustainable jewellery practices.
For those of you who are currently looking into coming to SNAG this year, it would be a wasted opportunity if you didn’t also go and visit the famed and newly renovated Penland Galleries while you’re in town. And because I am always in service to you, beloved reader, I am happy to provide you with one more excuse to take the hour-long drive into the mountains to finally see Penland for yourself, as showing there during May and part of June will be the Shared Concerns exhibition, which was the reason for my first Asheville visit earlier this year.
So, #SharedConcerns? What’s that all about?
Shared Concerns is an exhibition documenting the meeting of a group of artists, brought together to work in the Penland studios in the mountains of North Carolina. As a group they shared the intimate ‘concerns’ of their practice, and each has created a small suite of works that interprets the ‘concern’ of another group member. Pieces were begun during their Winter Residency at Penland, and finished in studios across the United States as well as in Australia and Denmark, where this diverse group of jewelry artists call home.
Myself and Aran Galligan, my friend and fellow Seattle-based artist, are coordinating the Shared Concerns exhibition series. Between the two of us we pulled together this group of jewellery artists to join us in North Carolina, many of who met each other for the first time just weeks ago at Penland. Our other participants are: Lynn Batchelder, Vincent Pontillo-Verrastro, Jill Hermans, Daniel DiCaprio, Catie Sellers, and Kaori Juzu.
We spent a very short week with one another as participants in the Penland Winter Residency where we shared a studio, traded concerns to work on and enjoyed some profoundly creative times (as well as some amazing food) all on the Penland campus. We don’t know when we will meet again, but what we do know is that the work we began together will be completed over the coming months, and will go on show in the Penland Galleries in May, just in time to be seen by anyone visiting Asheville for SNAGneXt. From there the works will head on to Velvet da Vinci gallery in San Francisco for the opening of Shared Concerns there on the 1st of July, and from there it will travel internationally in 2017.
So if you’re coming to Asheville for SNAGneXt, be sure to set aside some time to see the best of this beautiful and creative city, drink some coffee (or at one of the supposedly *9* microbreweries in town) and head to Penland to see our Shared Concerns exhibition.
* Now, you realise that my getting around doesn’t usually mean dropping into Asheville twice in a six-month period, but they served me the best cup of decaf soy I’ve had since I was last in Melbourne (Cafe Vue, Melbourne Airport, April 2015) while I was there with the #SharedConcerns crew, so you know I have to go back. (This will be hot on the heels of another Melbourne visit *spoiler alert*, so the comparison will be more robust. Suffice to say, if it holds its own again, I’m thinking of moving…)