Material Connections Symposium September 2010

In early 2010 I became a member of the Jewellery Silvesmithing Network (JSN)  “a group run by its members for its members with the aim of getting to know other makers”, skills sharing and creating opportunities for makers that would otherwise not be possible as individuals. Meeting once a month at Farnham Maltings arts centre, I joined in the midst of preparations for the Material Connections Symposium and soon became involved in the intense organisation. Susan Levett and I were invited to run a presentation and workshop together on Cold Connecting a variety of different materials and creating movement when doing so.

JSN had previously made connections with and visited the San Francisco based Metal Arts Critique Collective as part of an international jeweller’s exchange sponsored by JSN. A number of the Metal Arts Critique Collective members flew over to attend and take part in the symposium following on from the JSN trip to meet the Metal Arts Critique Collective.

Clare Stiles  and Rebecca Skeels two of JSN’s founding members, opened the symposium. There were a choice of presentations and workshops to attend on Cold Connections; Glass; Ceramics; Reticulation and Heat Scaring; Argentium; Metal Clays; Hallmarking; Tools: Creative Polymorph and How to Make a Flocking Machine and Colouring Metal. There were also a Leaf & Foils and Recycled & Ethical Jewellery sessions which were delivered by Christine Dhein, from the Metal Arts Critique Collective, who runs her own Keum-Boo Jewellery business and produces the Green Jewelry News e-newsletter.

During the breaks people could purchase items from trade stalls, network and participate in the symposium artwork of making a link for a large chain symbolising a Material Connection. Before lunch there was a Pin/Brooch swap where everyone participating in the event had to bring one they made to swap with another. This was a great way of getting everyone mingling, talking and was a lovely keepsake from the day. The last event brought everyone together for a talk by the American group about their Metal Arts Critique Collective and ended with a Q &A time before Rebecca Skeels concluded the day. Overall the symposium was well attended and felt by all who took part to be a great success.



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