Concrete Ideas


Demitra Thmoloudis will be demonstrating how to create hollow objects in concrete.  Silicone mold making, powder coating, resin, and acrylic surface techniques will also be covered.

About Demitra:

Demitra Thomloudis is a Visiting Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at El Paso. In August 2014 she concluded a 12-month residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Demitra received her MFA from San Diego State University and her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Demitra’s work is exhibited and published nationally and internationally. Exhibitions include New Traditional Jewellery “Confrontations”  Netherlands; 2013 Beijing International Jewelry Art Biennial;, Galerie Marzee International Graduate Exhibition, Netherlands; Suspend(ed) in Pink, an international exhibition which traveled to Germany, United Kingdom, Austria, Paris, and the USA; CHAIN project at A CASA, Museum of Brazilian Object in São Paulo, Brazil; and La Fontera which debuted at Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City and traveled within U.S. courtesy Velvet Da Vinci Gallery.  Publications include 500 Plastic and Resin Jewelry and 500 Enameled Objects published by Lark Books, The Art of Jewelry: Plastic & Resin: Techniques, Projects and Inspiration and most recently in 2014 Behind the Brooch: A Closer Look at Backs, Catches, and Pin Stems, By Lorena Argulo and published by Schiffer.


Hot Patinas!

If you dabble in sculpture you don’t want to miss this workshop! Nourish Schwartz Chip will demonstrate hot patina techniques on bronze and give a presentation of projects he has worked on at Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry. Working with the foundry has afforded him a glimpse into a side of the art world most never see, a world at the intersection of art and craft, while allowing him to forge the connections that help him to fulfill his own artistic interests. ChipSchwartzAbout Chip: Chip Schwartz lives and works in Beacon, NY, where he is the owner of Schwartz Metal Arts. In addition to doing one of a kind jewelry, flatware, and both functional and sculptural hollowware in his Beacon studio, Chip teaches jewelry and metalsmithing classes to groups and individuals. He also works as a patineur and finisher at the renowned Polich Tallix Art Foundry, in Rock Tavern, NY, where he has had the opportunity to work on pieces for the likes of Martin Puryear, Tom Otterness, Richard Prince, Ursula Von Rydingsvard, Michelle Oka-Doner, and many others.  Chip holds an MFA in metal design from East Carolina University, and has taught classes and workshops at several colleges, universities, and art centers.

The Nature in Metalsmithing

Obsession with nature and the environment has a long tradition in art.  “Second Nature” looks past the ingrained cultural mythology of redemption and beauty in nature as its sole aesthetic purpose, to explore deeper connections between ancient traditions and contemporary form.  The impulse to fill empty space with patterned versions of nature, from Islamic architectural embellishment, to 19th century Victorian ornamentation, to the self-replicating systems of Cellular Automaton, reveals the deep human obsession to categorize and control the unruly natural world which ultimately, and with great ingenuity, completely reinvents itself.

Beverly Penn

About Beverly:

The impulse to arrange the wild variety of the natural world to fit an intellectual symmetry is a fundamental human urge. Beverly Penn’s sculpture speaks to the power of this desire.   Her work explores the contradicting need to both idealize and modify the natural environment.

Beverly Penn was born in Baltimore and now lives and works in Austin. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships including a Rockefeller Foundation residency in Bellagio, Italy; a Connemara Conservancy Artist Grant; grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts and a Fulbright Fellowship in Barcelona, Spain. She has also received nine Texas State University Faculty Research Grants involving research in Mexico, Italy, Spain, and New York.

Beverly’s sculptures are included in the collections of the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., the Austin Museum of Art; the Racine Art Museum; the El Paso Museum of Art; and the Monarch Center for Contemporary Art in Washington.   She has been commissioned for several Public Art Projects, including Unity in Diversity in Las Cruces, NM; the Community Core Sample Project and the ThresholdProject with Steve Wiman in Austin, TX; the Natives Project at Whole Foods in Austin, TX; and the 719 Ash Hilton Hotel in San Diego. She is a Professor in the School of Art & Design at Texas State University. McMurtrey Gallery in Houson, William Campbell Contemporary Art in Fort Worth and Lisa Sette Gallery in Phoenix represent her work.

View more of Beverly’s work at

2015 – Being Here: A Lecture on Jewelry History


The genre of jewelry is defined in its presumed relationship to human anatomy and is a highly mobile form of interactive art at once both personal and public in meaning and manifestation. It is dependent on the body for context and interpretation but at the same time brings meanings of its own to bear on the understanding of that body. The “places” of cultural geography are the embodiment of location, locale and sense of place. The social construction of “place” requires both meaning and materiality. This talk will consider examples of historic and contemporary works that exemplify the cultural construction of identity through personal adornment in relationship to the idea of place, including pilgrimage badges of the middle ages, cameos in the court of Napoleon Bonaparte, nineteenth century micro-mosaic jewelry and the work of a global selection of contemporary makers.

Ana lopez

About Ana:

Ana M. Lopez is a metalsmith, educator and decorative arts scholar. Her creative work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She has lectured extensively on her metal work and led creative workshops at numerous institutions. She is the author of the reference book Metalworking Through History: An Encyclopedia, published in the Spring of 2009 by Greenwood Press, as well as many other scholarly articles. She organized the 2007 international biennial exhibition of the Enamelist Society, chaired the 2010 Education Dialogue for the Society of North American Goldsmiths annual conference, served as a Beta Site Testing Faculty for the textbook Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, and is the juror for the 2015 “Materials Hard & Soft” national exhibition.  She holds an MFA in Metalsmithing from the Cranbrook Academy of Art as well as an MA in the History of American Decorative Arts from The Smithsonian Associates and Parsons School of Design. Ana is currently Associate Professor and Area Coordinator of Metalsmithing & Jewelry at the University of North Texas where she also teaches The History of Craft.

Techniques For The Hand & Head

Nicole Jacquard WedgeWorkshop:

Nicole Jacquard was first introduced to making a piece in a day by Dr. Robert Baines in 1995 while studying at RMIT in Australia. Since then she has used the premise of quick studies and thinking through materials as a way to jump start her own work, as well as the work of her students.  Participants in the workshop will go through a series of exercises removing themselves from their normal approach and hopefully leave with fresh perspectives in which to engage both their hands and their head in order to create new work.


About Nicole:

Nicole is currently Area Head and an Associate Professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Her education includes a bachelor of arts from IU in 1991, and her first MFA from the University of Michigan. Nicole received her second MFA in 1995 while on a Fulbright Scholarship to Australia at RMIT University in Melbourne, and in 2004 Nicole returned to RMIT and completed her Ph.D. in Fine Arts.

Nicole has had 6 solo exhibitions and participated in over 80 invitational/juried exhibitions in the USA, Europe, Asia + Australia. Her work is in the collection of the International Ceramics Studio in Kecskemet Hungary, and the Riga Porcelain Museum in Riga, Latvia. Nicole has presented over 20 lectures on her work + and has had papers accepted to present at conferences in the UK, Australia, China, + the USA. Her work is published in over 30 of books, catalogues + websites, and her two solo catalogues, Personal Objects : Personal Spaces Catalogue printed in 07, and her self titled catalogue, Nicole Jacquard, from 05, are both available through Charon Kransen Arts.

Body As Location



Incorporeal is a chance to focus on some of the neglected real estate of the body.  In this workshop, you will be guided to map a specific location on the body, then create a quick addition to that location and finally to capture, in an image, a moment of interaction between your location and your addition.


About Kristin:

Kristin Beeler is Professor of Art and program head of the Jewelry and Metalsmithing area at Long Beach City College in the Los Angeles area.  Her professional contributions include lectures at the 2013 La Frontera  symposium in Mexico City, the 2011 Northwest Metals Symposium, the 2010 Society of North American Goldsmiths conference, the 2007 Yuma Symposium,  a January 2011 essay in Metalsmith magazine and the 2007 exhibition, beauty and other monsters, at Velvet da Vinci gallery. She has been a resident artist at Cleveland Institute of Art, Kent State University (2009) and visiting artist at Cranbrook Academy of Art (2012).

A Time to Try Technology!

With our diverse workshops this year, we are happy to include a high-tech demo by Courtney Starrett:

Computational Bead Design – Beads have always been a representation of a civilizations’ technological advancement. In this workshop we will look at the history of the unassuming bead and it’s position in the digital age. Through digital modeling and 3D printing we will learn about computing through jewelry design.


Courtney Starrett is associate professor of fine arts and program coordinator of jewelry and metals at Winthrop University.  She has presented her research and writings internationally. Her creative work has been exhibited across the U.S. as well as in England and Germany. Her work is included in the permanent interactive collection at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR. Starrett’s art and research have been published in Metalsmith MagazineArt Jewelry Magazine, and two of the Lark Books 500 series as well as featured on the cover of the August 2008 Metalsmith Magazine’s Exhibition in Print. Starrett is currently on leave from Winthrop and exploring the Hudson Valley of New York while focusing on her and her husband’s collaborative business, Plural Studios.

Image: Rennie Bead in Stainless, 2011. Photo by Zan Maddox. Copyright Plural Studios.

The Hydraulic Press—Productive Pressure

Another one of our workshop choices for this year, presented by Becky McDonah:

This demonstration will cover a variety of ways to create surface textures and volume using the hydraulic press. Some of these possibilities include punches, matrix, embossing, and conforming dies. She will discuss and demonstrate different approaches to creating and using dies in conjunction with urethane to achieve results that range from embossing to deeper forming. 

Tread- A Reliquary for the Road Trip 

Becky McDonah heads up the Fine Art Metals Area at Millersville University and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.  She has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions, and has lectured and presented workshops across the country.

Some of her accomplishments include receiving the First Place Award in Soulcology: An Exhibition in Metal at the Guilford Art Center and the international juried exhibition Refined VII: Inspiration at The Cole Art Center; solo exhibitions Placing Importance at Appalachian Center for Craft and Esteemed Objects at the Winter Visual & Performing Arts Center.  Her work has been published in Humor In Craft, Mixed Media Jewelry Workshop and 500 Metal Vessels.


This year, we will have a workshop on electroforming presented by Rachel Shimpock:

Make it plate! Learn how to make your own copper plating set up! From MacGyver to legit – learn how to set up an affordable home electroforming situation. Let’s explore setups and talk plating together. Discover your plating options and grow closer to growing copper in your home studio!


About Rachel:

Rachel Kassia Shimpock is a California native raised in Orange County by two high school teacher (hard core nerd) parents who encouraged her to follow her art dreams.  She received her MFA in the Jewelry/Metals program at San Diego State University and her BFA from Cal State University Long Beach. Metal and the format of jewelry in particular speak to her and for the last 12 years have allowed her to communicate personal stories…and there are many! Rachel is carrying on the legacy of her family and her trade by teaching, getting involved in her community, utilizing every opportunity to nerd out and spread the gospel of metals and jewelry!


Lecture: The Narrative Impulse

The Narrative Impulse: How a narrative artist had a mid-life crisis, started writing novels, and became sort of a metalsmith.

Mary Frisbee Johnson will discuss her work in metals within the context of exploring narrative imagery in a wide variety of media.

FrisbeeJohnson_HeroinesAbout Mary:

Mary Frisbee Johnson (MFA, Printmaking and Installation Sculpture, University of Cincinnati) is currently a Professor of Drawing in the Department of Art at University of Northern Iowa – Cedar Falls. She is a native of Montana and currently divides her time between Iowa and her studio in Waldport, OR. Prior to her appointment at UNI, she taught in the School of Art, Florida State University – Tallahassee, and the School of Art, Arizona State University – Tempe. She is the author of a foundations textbook, Visual Workouts: A Collection of Artmaking Problems, published by Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Mary Frisbee Johnson’s work in drawing, metals/jewelry, mixed-media sculpture, and installation sculpture has been exhibited extensively in over ninety national and international exhibitions, including twenty solo exhibitions, and her work is in the collection of the British Museum, London, England.

Needle Felting: Like You’ve Never Seen Before!

S%20Metz%20Flesh%20&%20Bone%20Panel%20Study%20#1About the workshop:

Sculptor Stephanie Metz’s innovative work in felted wool has garnered international attention. Her sculpture, focused on the relationship between humans and the natural world, fuses sharp wit, thoughtful observation and careful craftsmanship in an unusual material to blur the line between art and science, natural and unnatural, organic and man-made.  Her sculpting material of choice is wool, which she compacts into nearly solid freestanding forms through a precise and laborious process known as needle felting.

Taken from industrial origins and a subsequent craft tradition, needle felting refers to using specialized sharp, barbed needles to mat individual fibers into a united solid mass, held together by the microscopically scaly surfaces of the wool. In a process vaguely similar to hand building in clay,she repeatedly plunges hand-held felting needles into a mass of loose, fluffy wool to create detailed, complex, and mysterious forms that defy their humble origins. Her presentation will consist of slides and a demonstration of her approach to form-building, armature use, and surface finishes in felted wool.


About Stephanie:

Stephanie Metz is an artist who explores the idea of seemingly opposing qualities coexisting within one object. The medium is crucial to the content: felted wool can appear both hard and soft, fragile and robust, natural and manmade. Felted wool is often viewed through the lens of its traditional and historical uses in the realms of domesticity, craft, and industry; in Stephanie’s hands it is loaded with potential for physical manipulation and conceptual redefinition.

Stephanie Metz received her BFA from the University of Oregon and now lives and works in San Jose, California. She was a 2009 featured artist in “Bay Area Currents” at ProArts Gallery, Oakland, and has exhibited at Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. Her numerous group exhibitions include Creatures: From Bigfoot to the Yeti Crab at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Idaho, Formex Stockholm 2008, in Stockholm, Sweden, and Transmission:Experience at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore. Metz was honored with two Center for Cultural Innovation Grants in 2011 and 2009. She has taught at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee.

Put That Art Degree To Use!

Meet another one of our presenters, Brigitte Martin!

bmartin portrait  high res

“How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Numbers”
Life after school is full of question marks. Where do I go from here? What have I learned and how can I turn this into a career that sustains me in the long run? Every student’s outlook is different but every graduate has a chance to make it work – if they follow some basic rules of business.
Brigitte Martin will talk about what really happens after school, and how you can survive on your own using your creative energy, common sense and pluck.

bmartin high res book  cover

About Brigitte:

In 2008, Martin created the international online social network CRAFTHAUS to foster camaraderie and professional exchange within the international craft community. As the site’s editor she works closely with the membership to help them connect with the larger craft world and progress on their career path, while offering them a safe place to show work and express their thoughts and ideas to an audience of their peers.

Martin founded a national Craft Think Tank in 2011 and continues to organize the annual meetings in cooperation with the American Craft Council. In 2012, Martin published her first book, Humor in Craft, which won the FINALIST award at the 2012 USA Best Book Awards and a Gold Medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2013.

Martin’s jewelry has been exhibited at the Museum of Art in Cleveland, and in galleries across the US. Martin curates and juries exhibitions nationally and in 2012 CBS media named her one of the best art curators in Pittsburgh, PA.

Martin is a current Board Member of The Society of North American Goldsmiths as the Fundraising Chair and Community Liaison. She is also committed to the organization’s Professional Development Seminar Steering Committee. Martin is a national public speaker on topics of social networking, online community, artist development, and entrepreneurship.

Monumental Metal!

This break-out session will pack a double punch by covering two-in-one!  We are excited to present Kim Cridler’s workshop: The Descriptive Line: Soldering with Steel/Apply(ing): Public Art & Commissions.

The Descriptive Line: Soldering with Steel
Learn the basics of soldering steel including terminology, material properties, the variety of fluxes and solders. Kim will also briefly demonstrate her way of creating symmetrical forms.

Apply(ing): Public Art & Commissions
What I’ve learned about doing things you think you can’t do. Namely large-scale public art projects and commissions.


About Kim:

Trained as a metalsmith, Kim was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, earned an MFA in Metals from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and studied at Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting. Kim has taught in art programs across the country including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Michigan, San Diego State University, and Arizona State University. Her work can be found in the public collections including the Arkansas Art Center Decorative Museum of Art, the Chazen Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Phoenix Office of Arts & Culture, the Racine Art Museum, and the Scottsdale Contemporary Museum of Art.
Kim’s practice is inspired by the potential of objects to record and extend our lives, and the power of pattern and the decorative to reflect and reconcile.  She has applied her use of steel, structure and ornament in large-scale public art projects and commissions for public spaces. She most recently installed a public art project at the Mamaroneck, NY Metro North Station for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts-For-Transit program.

Both images are of Kim Cridler’s most recent public installation:
Where the Sweet Waters Fall, 2014
Painted Steel, aluminum, and concrete with stainless steel
Fabricated by KC Fabrications
Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design and MTA Metro-North Railroad

Mold-Making Magic!

Here’s a preview of one of our Workshops that will be offered during Crafting Connections.  Ian F. Thomas will school us on mold making!

Rigid Porosity:  This mold making demonstration will illustrate simple and effective techniques that allow for flexibility.  General techniques will be shared/demonstrated to for you to get the most out of your molds with the least amount of waste possible.  The methods expressed will aid with many aspects of molding from the diversity of materials one may want to cast to storing the molds.

06 act 1

About Ian:

Ian F. Thomas is an installation artist living in Slippery Rock, PA and works at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. He holds a BFA from Slippery Rock University and an MFA from Texas Tech University. Thomas received additional training at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia, and The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. His work has been featured in the contemporary ceramics magazines Ceramics: Art and Perception and Ceramics Now. Recent exhibitions include Filtered Permeability at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, and Push Play at Bellevue Arts Museum in Seattle. He is also the co-founder of One Wall Gallery and The Culture Laboratory Collective.


Welcome Back, Laura Wood!

In addition to bringing her current project JEWELRY edition, this year we are welcoming back ECU Symposium founder, Laura Wood, as our Capstone Lecturer.  She will also be leading a discussion panel called Crafting a Community!

Crafting a Community will be an inclusive and directed conversation  about developing a network capable of spurring creativity, innovation, and sustainability in your community. Laura Wood will be leading this discussion and has invited key professionals in her network to elaborate on how we as artists and entrepreneurs can foster productive and beneficial change for our economic future, career paths, and quality of life.


About Laura and her work:

“I choose jewelry to express my creative interests, and for many years, this has been a fascination with the body. I began my career in the arts studying dance. This led me to making adornment for the body, activating pleasure and enjoyment through wearing. Each piece is very much an effort in creating body-conscious work. Material exploration and the lineage of jewelry history also inspire me to challenge myself in the work while evolving alongside a world with new technology and processes. I strive to enhance the silhouette of the body and create work to be worn as a celebration of performance and adornment.”

headshot2Laura Wood is a full-time studio artist living in Asheville, North Carolina. Her business Laura Wood Studios is comprised of a jewelry facility with an interest in papermaking. Her work has been selected for many exhibitions throughout the United States, including The Contemporary Jewelry Show at the Penland Gallery (NC), Earrings Galore at Heidi Lowe Gallery (DE), Sparkle Plenty at Quirk Gallery (VA), Shift: Makers that DefineExpand, and Contradict the Field of Art Jewelry at the Grunwald Gallery (IN), and the Lydon Emerging Artist Exhibition (LEAP) at the Society for Contemporary Craft (PA). Her work has been internationally recognized in the Ozu Washi/Oji Paper Museum in Tokyo, Japan, and as a participating artist at the 2014 SIERRAD Jewelry Art Fair in Amsterdam.

Introducing our Keynote Speaker: Jamie Bennett!

 Bonticou Crag 2

Keynote Presentation: The Opposite is Right

Art and design in any form can be rather polemical; there are ideological arguments, defenses of taste, material hierarchies and moral codes of use. We are in bed with DIY and running after the next phase of CAD/CAM with the same determination. The practice of Metal/Jewelry could be perceived as either a discordant mixture or benevolent host to opposites. This lecture will explore this dichotomy and its consequence.

Jamie Bennett has been the recipient of the Aileen Osborn Webb Award for Fellow of the American Crafts Council, 2009, recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship three times, Windgate Foundation Grant and Rotassa Grant recipient for Edge of the Sublime, The Enamels of Jamie Bennett, retrospective exhibition and book. His work is in the permanent collection of over twenty five museums internationally, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Museu de Arte Decoratif, Paris, and the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. His most recent one person exhibition, Among Etc. was in November 2013 at Antonella Villanova Gallery, Florence, Italy.

Brooch by Jamie Bennett: Bonticou Crag 2, enamel on copper, silver,  2 1/4″x 3,” 2014.

Find an Art Mate and Collborate!

Top-10-Collaboration-Tools-in-2012-1Here’s another show that is in conjunction with this year’s symposium. Read the prospectus below, make some work, enter the show!

Four Hands are Better Than Two will be a show of collaborative artwork juried by the 2015 Symposium Co-chairs: Alison Bailey, Mary Klacza, and Sarah Loch-Test.

Four Hands are Better Than Two Prospectus

If you’re in town during the Symposium, be sure to check out all of the exhibitions during the Artwalk Opening Receptions on Friday, January 16th.