Symposium Presenters Extended part 14

Hi everyone,

The last of our previews introduces James Thurman.


Fascinated with how the method of presentation and display affects the perception of the object, my recent work uses the format of a natural history museum as a vehicle for cultural critique.  In my “Ancient Artifacts of the 21st Century” installation, I use objects of my own creation as the subject for a fictitious future’s misinterpretation. All objects included in the exhibition are comprised of recycled materials that are based on their implied function, such as a reading chair and lamp made of books, a dining chair made of flatware, and a dining table made of dishes.  Through the humorous misinterpretation of these objects, issues of material culture hierarchies, consumerism, and environmentalism are explored in a playful and accessible manner.

The “McMuseum of Anthropological Archaeology” is the fictitious museum of the 24th Century that has humorously misinterpreted these “ancient artifacts of the 21st Century.”  The imaginary future I have created as a setting for the McMuseum is one where the TransWorld Corporation has assumed control of the entire world and are using the discovery of these artifacts to support their consumption-based society.

Workshop Description

Thurmanite® and cold connections

For more than ten years, I have been exploring a process of using epoxy resin to create a composite material made of layered recycled paper, now called “Thurmanite®.”  I find both the conceptual as well as the aesthetic aspects of this material compelling, particularly as a material for jewelry.  Throughout human history, we have adorned ourselves with materials found in our surroundings and I am interested in continuing that tradition. In pieces with Thurmanite® made from solid colored papers, the material seems to be a lightweight and colorful stone of unknown origins, inviting further exploration.  In pieces with Thurmanite® made from maps, the physical layers of the maps represent the conceptual layering of our life experiences through our daily travels.  It is my goal that my jewelry is beautiful, wearable, and thought-provoking.

Not only are a variety of cold connections necessary when using this material as part of a wearable piece but I greatly enjoy the creative problem-solving aspect of combining riveting with threaded connections.  Often the final piece includes a variety of techniques which are somewhat challenging to reverse engineer without an awareness of the original sequence of their use.  This process of discovery can become a hidden dialog between me and other makers.

Check back later for more symposium related news.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff


Symposium Presenters extended part 13

Hello everyone,

Our apologies for the delay.  Our resident blogger has been under the weather and is still catching up.

Today we’d like to introduce two fabulous presenters: Dianne Reilly and Joost During.  (Pronounced Yoast, like toast.)

First Dianne–


Dianne earned her Master of Fine Arts, concentrating in Jewelry and Metals, from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 2003.  Her work has been published in numerous books, including, The Art and Craft of Making Jewelry, as well as several editions of Lark Books 500 series, and she is frequently called upon to lecture about her work.  She lives in New Bedford Massachusetts and is currently Assistant Professor of Jewelry/Metals at Rhode Island College, Providence, Rhode Island.

Now Joost:


Joost learned silversmithing as a trade in his native Netherlands.  In 1997 he came to the US to work for the Gorham Silver Company in Smithfield, RI, where he learned the intricacies of flatware design and designing for the industry. During this time, Joost set up his own design studio, Yoast Silver, where he has worked independently since 1998. Doing his own one of a kind artwork as well as providing prototypes and original designs for the tabletop and craft industry.   Joost’s work was recently featured in Metalsmith Magazine’s “Exhibition in Print 2005”, as well as the Cooper-Hewitt (New York) traveling exhibit, ”Feeding Desire” The tools of the table from 1500 to 2005, where the Wishbone (Nambe) place setting was on display. In 2005 Joost won the Saul Bell design award Grand Prize, for his one of a kind handmade sterling teapot

Dialogue/Workshop Description

Marriage of Metalsmiths

Joost During and Dianne Reilly share life, a studio, tools and a passion for metalsmithing.  Come and hear these two metalsmiths talk about their different experiences and approaches to making work in metal.

That’s all we have for today but our final presenter profile is a surprise guest who graciously agreed to come and we will be presenting his workshop description shortly.

Your Fiend-ly  Symposium Staff

P.S. Have a fun and safe Halloween everybody.

Tongue in Cheek Exhibition Preview

Hi Everyone,

This is just a heads up that we are waiting on a few more replies from our presenters regarding workshop descriptions and biographies so the presenter’s previews we be on hold for a little bit.  However, we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about some of the exciting exhibitions that will be taking place during this years symposium.

The first exhibition we will be previewing is

Tongue in Cheek”

Curated by our own Danielle James (D.J. Metal) and juried by Jillian Moore Tongue in Cheek showcases work of a humorous nature…”Tongue in cheek is a show based around what happens when mockery and material merge.”  This show will be taking place at the Greenville Museum of Art and we couldn’t be more excited to see all of the fantastic submissions.

Check back later for more general information.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff

Symposium Presenters Extended part 13

Hi Everyone,

This morning we’d like to introduce you to John Stuart Gordon.


John Stuart Gordon is the Benjamin Attmore Hewitt Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Yale University Art Gallery. He received a B.A in Art History from Vassar College, a M.A. from the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture and is writing his dissertation for Boston University on designer Lurelle Guild. His specialty is American design from the late nineteenth through twenty-first centuries. His latest book is A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University Art Gallery 1920-1950.

Lecture: Making Modern: American Jewelry and Metals, 1920-1950

Americans living in the first decades of the twentieth century felt they inhabited a modern world. A spirit of excitement and experimentation transformed the world around them, and metalsmiths and jewelers endeavored to capture this spirit in their creations. As makers and manufacturers grappled with how best to convey modernism in their products, they drew upon European design, avant-garde art, and science, as well as adopted newly-discovered materials and fabrication processes.

John Stuart Gordon

Benjamin Attmore Hewitt Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts

Yale University Art Gallery

Please check back later today for more general information regarding this years symposium.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff

Symposium Presenters Extended part 12

Hi everyone,

Next we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Wells.


Jennifer Wells completed her M.F.A in Jewelry Design from East Carolina University in 2010. She was the metals artist in resident at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN for 2010-2011, after which she moved to Columbia, NC for a two month long residency at Pocosin Arts Folk School. She also held a month long residency at the Jentel Foundation in Banner, WY. She has exhibited nationally and taught workshops at both Pocosin and Arrowmont. For the summer of 2012, Jennifer was a Summer Assistant for Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Maine. Since that time she has been a visiting artist for Universities, taught and assisted workshops. Jennifer enjoys long walks and all that glitters.

Workshop Description

Working with steel wire has gained great momentum within our field. I will be demonstrating using cold connections to create forms from steel wire.  By coating the piece in enamel we will give durability to the form and also incorporate color. Setting and riveting techniques for the enamels will be demonstrated. Residency opportunities will be discussed in the slideshow and questions are encouraged.

Please check back tomorrow for more previews of whats to come.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff

Symposium Presenters Extended Part 11

Hi Everyone,

We’d now like to introduce you to Alison Baxter.


Alison Baxter is an artist and program coordinator for the artist’s residency program of West Dean College in Chichester, England.  Her work can be seen in a number of galleries across the UK, such as the Southhampton Art Gallery, The Platform Gallery, Samson & Cole and is included in the Victoria and Albert Museum as well.  She has ample experience as an educator having taught art courses for over 15 years and is a member of the Association of Contemporary Jewellers.  We are honored to have her travel all the way from England to visit us.

Lecture Description

Alison will take you on a journey through the story of West Dean college, literally through the House and Gardens, and explore the connections West Dean has with the worlds of Art, Craft and Conservation.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff

Symposium Presenters Extended Part 10

Hello everyone,

Now we’d like to introduce you to Kathryn Osgood.


Kathryn Osgood is a studio jeweler, enamelist and assistant professor at College of The Albemarle in Manteo, NC. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Maine and her Master of Fine Arts degree from East Carolina University. Her fabricated and enameled jewelry pieces are inspired by botanical forms and the flora and fauna of her coastal North Carolina environment. She has been published in The Art of Enameling: Techniques, Projects and Inspiration, 1000 Rings, 500 Necklaces, 500 Earrings, Contemporary Enameling: Art and Techniques, and The Art of Jewelry :Wood

Workshop Description

Enameling: Color, Texture and Form

In this workshop, we will explore ways to use vitreous enamels in your work to create a rich, colorful and textured surface through the use of overfired enamels, layering opaques and transparents, sugarfiring and by incorporating elements such as reflective glass beads, seed beads and sand. I will demonstrate enameling on two and three dimensional surfaces and discuss solutions to setting enamel pieces. We will explore enameling as a textural element, along with texturing techniques for metal.

Please check back with us tomorrow as we preview more of our distinguished presenters.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff

Symposium Presenters extended part 9

Good morning,

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carrie Longley.


Carrie Longley is a studio artist and educator.  She is currently an Assistant Professor of Fine Art at Indiana University East.  She holds a BA in Studio Art from Wittenberg University MFA from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.  Her artwork investigates the relationship between the art object and scientific specimen, celebrating the space between illusion and reality.  She exhibits her work extensively throughout the United States and has received numerous awards including “Emerging Craftsman” from Ohio Designer Craftsman, “The Bobby Kadis Award” at the Penland School of Crafts, MCACD Individual Artist Fellowship, and the William and Dorothy Yeck Young Sculptor’s Award.

Workshop Description

In this workshop participants will learn how to create organic forms and surfaces using mixed media, press molds, carving, and slip trailing in ceramic.

Check back later today for our next presenter preview.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff

Symposium Presenters Extended part 8

Good evening everyone,

Now we’d like to introduce Rachel Timmins.


Rachel Timmins currently lives in Baltimore, MD, where she will complete her MFA in Studio Art at Towson University in 2012.  She is a native of Buffalo, NY, where she received her BFA in Metalsmithing + Jewelry Design in 2009.   Rachel’s work speaks about otherness, finding value in the devalued and finding comfort in belonging.  Her wearable and sculptural works have been featured at the Design Museum in London, UK, The Masur Museum of Art, the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.  You can view Rachel’s work in numerous publications such as Unexpected Pleasures published by Rizzoli Publications, Jewel Book published by Stichtingkunst Boek, Humor in Craft published by Schiffer Publishing and many of the Lark Books Showcase 500 series books.  You can often find Rachel in her home studio sewing obnoxiously vibrant spandex or powder coating her hand-made brass elements.  In addition to making objects, she also takes great joy in making delicious vegan treats, attending the local Farmer’s Market with her husband and petting her three awesome cats.


She will lecture on her recent work and some of the rich history that feeds it, paying significant attention to comfort in belonging, otherness, value in the devalued and functionality in adornment.  This lecture will relate to the symposium theme of Making Marks and will discuss the desire to be remembered and how this desire manifests itself in the hand made object, actions and remnant.

Please check back tomorrow for more previews of our distinguished presenters.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff

2013 – Symposium Presenters Extended part 7

Good morning everyone,
Today we’d like to introduce you to Gary Schott.

I was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and currently reside in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to my role as the Chair of the Jewelry/Metals Department at the Southwest School of Art, I maintain my own studio practice.

I earned my BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I received my MFA. I also had the opportunity to work as an apprentice goldsmith while finishing my undergraduate degree.

Intrigued by the term utilitarian, I find myself drawn towards creating objects that balance between aesthetics and function; wearable and non-wearable.

Perhaps the simplest answer when asked, “What do you do in your studio?” is to say, ” I design objects for interactive moments.”

Workshop Description

Making a Small Toy

Want to feel a bit more confident with rivets and tab-construction? Ever felt that your work could use just a bit of simple mechanical motion? Then this workshop is for you! Students will be lead through a start-to-finish toy project that examines and executes both traditional and non-traditional cold-connections. We’ll examine a basic version of a crank, lever, cam and linkages. A design will be provided for all participants so that time can be focused on technique instead. There will be will discussion about mechanisms, beyond our workshop exercise, as time permits. Students should feel moderately comfortable with the jeweler’s saw frame, small-scale soldering, and finishing techniques.

Check back later today for a preview of Rachel Timmins.

Symposium Presenters extended part 6

Hi Everyone,

Now we’d like to introduce you to Loring Taoka.


Loring Taoka’s points of departure are ambiguity and otherness, utilizing various approaches to reinterpret everyday items and tropes, creating work that is minimal in form and color. Images and our understandings are subverted, transformed, and re-presented to create a sense of aesthetic arrest, discordance, and confusion. Loring Taoka received his BA from the University of Toledo in 2008 and his MFA from the University of North Texas in 2011. He currently resides in Brooklyn NY and is a baller.

Workshop Description

Makin’ it Pop – applying spray paint to metal

This workshop will go through the basics of applying spray paint on metal. Attendees should bring in small metal samples (or I can provide some) and we will go through the motions of cleaning and preparing the metal, as well as spraying and some finishing techniques.

Please check back tomorrow with more of our extended previews.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff

Symposium Presenters Extended part 5

Hi everyone,

This morning we would like to introduce you to Jim Cotter.


The life and Times of Cotter

My work consists of creating images from a variety of materials not normally associated with jewelry such as steel, concrete, rocks and sought after everyday objects.  By combining non-precious materials with precious materials, used to create intimate jewelry and art objects, I seek to challenge notions and assumptions of how jewelry is perceived and what jewelry can be. It was in 1964 that I first incorporated rocks into my jewelry although they didn’t reappear in my work again until 1984.  I began seriously collecting rocks along the edges of rivers in Colorado during adventures with my family.  I have always found them to be a challenging material to work with; one cannot erase mistakes left by the mark of the maker.  Another intriguing aspect is their similarity to diamonds in that no two are exactly alike.  By grinding away certain areas of the rock’s surface I expose the beauty hidden below its skin.  By further grinding and notching the surface I change the exterior of the form.  In a number of the pieces I set the rocks as a traditional jeweler would set a gemstone.  In other pieces the entire rock is used and carved into a ring with diamonds embedded into its surface. In these rings a thin band of gold lines the interior where the wearer’s finger penetrates the opening.  While most jewelers set stones in metal I set metal in stones.   I respect nature and merely join to nature my personal touch while also challenging common notions of value, preciousness and jewelry.  Cement is another material I often use in my jewelry.  I am interested in this material as a medium for jewelry because of its association to industrial processes and architectural structures and because it is not a material normally used in creating jewelry. I am intrigued by the notion of taking a material used to build massive and powerful architectural structures and breaking it down into a delicate sensuous piece of intimate jewelry.  The concrete is cast into sculptural ring forms with precious stones such as diamonds and pearls embedded directly into the concrete.  In other rings the concrete is set in place where a precious stone would normally be set.  The cement becomes the stone and the setting where diamonds and pearls are caught.  Sought after objects such as recycled engagement rings, wood, steel, plastic and glass are set directly into the concrete.  These dissimilar materials collide, confusing the surface.  I’ve often been torn between loyalties to art and craft but have come to the conclusion that the distinction really does not matter and is no longer necessary.  Just as one does not buy a painting because of the number of tubes of paint brushed on the canvas, jewelry is not merely the sum of its intrinsic materials.  The design and idea embodied in a piece of jewelry captures the energy and makes the statement not the costly materials it is made from.  I enjoy the idea of combining disparate materials to assert that jewelry doesn’t have to be precious metal or gemstones and can survive outside the common perceptions of what properly constitutes jewelry.


Please check back later tonight for our preview of Loring Taoka and his workshop “Makin’ it Pop!”

Your Friendly Symposium Staff

Symposium Presenters extended Part 4

Hi everyone,

Now we would like to introduce you to Jillian Moore.


Jillian Moore currently maintains a home studio in Iowa City, IA where she completed her MFA in Jewelry and Metal Arts at the University of Iowa in 2008. She received her BFA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Making from Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL in 2004.  Her work combines mixed media techniques with traditional metalsmithing to create sculptural wearable objects. The resulting work references the visual language of biology to create invented organisms. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. She has been a regular contributor to both Art Jewelry Forum and Crafthaus. She has had solo exhibitions at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, TN and the Appalachian Center for Craft, Smithville, TN as well as features at Velvet da Vinci Gallery in San Francisco, CA, Schmuckfrage in Berlin, and Snyderman-Works Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. She’s been a finalist in both the LEAP and Founder’s Prize at the Society of Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, PA, and won the Special Juror’s Prize at Friends of Carlotta in Zurich for the group show “South Seas

Workshop Description

New Resin Surface Techniques

Deep, rich surfaces are achieved quickly through the layering of clear resin, paint, pigment, and various other materials. This finish can be adapted broadly across 2-d and 3-d work, and students are encouraged to bring samples of materials to incorporate. A sense of play, curiosity, and experimentation are encouraged.

Please check back tomorrow for two more fabulous presenters.

Your Friendly Symposium staff

Symposium Presenters Extended part 3

Hi Everyone,

Now we’d like to introduce you to Christina Miller.


Christina Miller is the director and co-founder of Ethical Metalsmiths (EM). Ethical Metalsmiths, founded in 2004, leads jewelers and consumers in becoming informed activists for responsible mining, sustainable economic development and verified, ethical sources of materials used in making jewelry. In collaboration with Susie Ganch, Miller designed EM’s popular Radical Jewelry Makeover project. Prior to assuming the directorship of EM, Miller was the Asst. Prof. of jewelry and metalsmithing at Millersville University (PA). She received her MFA from East Carolina University and BFA from Millersville University. She received a Distinguished Civic Leadership award while at teaching at Millersville for her work with Ethical Metalsmiths


Ethical Sourcing and Your Practice: the big picture and specific solutions

Presentation Description:

Which are the most ethical choices? Fair trade or recycled gold, Kimberly certified or second hand diamonds, sodium bisulfate or citric acid pickle? The once hidden realities of the origins and pathways of precious metals and other materials used in jewelry are now known to be burdened by social and environmental devastation. Therefore, the design decisions that jewelers must face go far beyond what most university programs teach regarding form, function, and technique. In addition to creating amazing work, today’s jewelers additionally need to make educated choices about materials and their social and environmental impacts. This presentation will include an overview of the current ethical issues facing the jewelry/metalsmithing field and will feature examples of how progressive jewelers, social activists, and environmental organizations are responding to the critical issues surrounding jewelry. Christina Miller will describe Ethical Metalsmiths’ innovative projects, all designed to help jewelers build a creative practice on a well-informed foundation they can feel confident about.

 NOTE: Ethical Metalsmiths Director invites your “ethical” jewelry questions in advance of the symposium. Please email all questions by December 18, 2012.  Please feel free to email your questions to us and we will forward them on to Christina.

Please check the blog later on today for more information and a preview of Jillian Moore.
Your Friendly Symposium Staff

Symposium Presenters Extended part 2

Hi Everyone,

Next we’d like to introduce you to Autumn Brown.


Autumn Brown is a native of Augusta, Ga.  Having jewelers and ceramicists in her family, there was inspiration to work with similar creative processes, and a college jewelry class solidified the thought.  She now holds a BFA in Metalsmithing from the University of Georgia and an MFA in Metal Design from East Carolina University.  Her artistic works have received awards for artistic merit and have been exhibited both nationally and internationally.  Currently, Autumn resides in Greenville, NC where she teaches Metalsmithing and Design to students at Pitt Community College, helps run a studio space called the Dirty LAM, participates in the local arts, and moonlights as an independent studio consultant.   When summer arrives, Autumn transitions North to Interlochen, MI, where she recently completed her 3rd summer as metals faculty for Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Workshop Description

Metal + Ceramic

Discover different ways your metalworking knowledge can be used to bring ceramic elements into your work.  We will explore the use of casting, fusing and enameling to embellish porcelain surfaces as well as employ a variety of setting methods to unify materials

Tomorrow we will preview Christina Miller and Jillian Moore.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff

Symposium presenters extended part 1

Hi everyone,

This is the first installment of our symposium presenters extended description.  First up is our Keynote speaker  Keith Lewis.

Keith A. Lewis


Keith Lewis received his BS in Chemistry from Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA) in 1981 and his MFA in Jewelry & Metalsmithing from Kent State University (Kent, OH) in 1993. He has been teaching at Central Washington University since 1994, where he is currently CWU Distinguished Professor.
His jewelry deals with issues of sexual identity, loss, memory and the notion of jewelry as a transportable polemic. It has been widely published and shown both nationally and internationally and is represented in a number of significant public and private collections, including the Tacoma Art Museum, The Houston Museum of Fine Arts, The Rotasa Foundation (CA), The Boardman Family Collection (CA), The Porter/Price Collection (NC), the collection of Susan Beech (CA), The Smithsonian Institution and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In addition to his work as an artist and teacher, he has also written for a number of publications including Metalsmith, New Art Examiner and Artweek and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) and of the Metalsmith magazine Editorial Advisory Board.
He wishes that students would give up sleeping and start spending more time in the studio. He hates excuses. His favorite fruit is jaboticaba.
“Coalescence: Assisting the Angel of History”

This talk will describe the process by which a diverse and complicated set of references can be incorporated coherently, cohesively and effectively into a piece of craft. Using a recent piece about a nineteenth-century insurrection in Brazil as a model, I will demonstrate how literary, historical, visual and personal elements can be synthesized in order to create an object which prompts analysis, reflection and emotional engagement. The talk will emphasize the richness of a cross-disciplinary approach in the production of creative work and will address content relevant to history, Latin American Studies, literature, political & military science, religious studies, economics, sociology and material culture.

Ok.  Next up will be one of our workshops presenters Autumn Brown and please look for her Bio and workshop description later this evening.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff

2013 Symposium Presenters

Hi Everyone,

We are exceptionally excited to introduce Material Topics: Making Marks presenters.  They are as follows:


Keith Lewis (keynote)

John Stewart Gordon

Alison Baxter

Christina Miller

Jim Cotter

Rachel Timmins



Jillian Moore

Loring Taoka

Kathryn Osgood

Carrie Longley

Gary Schott

Dianne Reilly and Joost During

Jennifer Wells

Autumn Brown



Over the next week we will be providing detailed introductions along with workshop and lecture descriptions.  All of this will culminate with the schedule and registration.  I hope everyone is as excited as we are.  Look for the next post tomorrow with our first two presenters Biographies and Workshop descriptions.


Four years of Material Topics

Hello everyone,

Wow.  Its hard for me to believe that this January will mark the fourth Material Topics symposium.  The last three years have seen so many wonderful moments, moments of inspiring lectures, fascinating demonstrations, and uplifting camaraderie.  It is with great pride that we announce our fourth symposium Material Topics: Making Marks.

The symposium will take place on the campus of East Carolina University on January 18th-20th.  We have a lot in store for you this year and we will begin sharing all of the presenters for this years conference with you on October 15th.

But before we do I thought it might be fun to take a look at our distinguished presenters from symposiums past.


Angela Bubash

Mary Hallam Pearse

Rob Jackson

Linda Darty

Tim Lazure

Christine Zoller

Bob Ebendorf

Margaret Yaukey

Courtney Starrett

Michael Gayk


Ken Bova

Dan DiCaprio

Lisa Johnson

Mi-Sook Hur

Michael Dale Bernard

Tom Muir

Nicole Jacquard

Caroline Gore


Angela Bubash

Amy Tavern

David Huang

Lisa Clague

Jean Campbell

Renee Zettle-Sterling

Masako Onodera

Marlene True

NC Black–Andrea Kennington and Les Bryant

Laura Wood

Please begin looking for updates regarding this year’s symposium, including who our presenters will be, on October 15th.

Your Friendly Symposium Staff