Tag Archives: symposium

22nd Seattle Metals Guild Symposium

Tiff Massey, Power

It’s almost SMG Symposium time! What’s the SMG Symposium? It is an annual event put on by the Seattle Metals Guild that is a gathering of makers and speakers from both the Pacific Northwest and around the globe. It is a popular tradition that is great for metalsmiths, artists, and jewelers of all ranges and abilities. You don’t have to be a member to attend…but you do get a discount on tickets if you are. 

Online ticket sales end at midnight, Thurs Oct. 12.

There are many places in the area to purchase lunch but you may pre-buy lunch through the symposium. Last day to purchase lunch with symposium ticket is by midnight, Sat Oct. 7

For more information to go www.seattlemetalsguild.org 

To purchase an advance ticket click here

This year’s speakers include:

Montreal-based jeweler, author, and Toolbox Initiative co-creator Matthieu Cheminee

New Orleans based modernist sculptor, and post-industrial blacksmith Rachel David

Self -taught engineer, inventor, and kinetic sculptor Arthur Ganson

San Francisco Bay area art jeweler, curator, and Shibumi Gallery owner April Higashi

and Detroit based interdisciplinary sculptor and jewelry artist Tiff Massey

While the artist talks are a big part of the symposium that’s not all! Explore a selection of hard-to-find metals and jewelry related titles at Charon Kransen’s book sale, the always popular Silent Auction, and a post-Symposium after-party at Rhein Haus restaurant.

And that’s not all…there is more to see and do over Symposium Weekend

Friday, October 13:

Nucor Steel Mill Tour (spots are limited)

Sunday, October 15:

1pm – 3pm “Designing Kinetic Sculptures: A Conversation with Arthur Ganson” at Equinox Studios

3pm – 5pm Opening reception for SMG show Contained at KOBO in Higo

5pm – 8pm Open House at Equinox Studios

What a weekend!



The Seattle Metals Guild Symposium!

This year the 19th Annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium is going to be held on Saturday, October 18th at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, Washington. We’re excited to announce an amped-up lineup of SIX speakers this year! The confirmed presenters are curator Suzanne Ramljak, historian Stephen Fliegel, metalsmith Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, artist Jennifer Trask,  jeweler Todd Pownell, and Vivian Beer. Just to give you a sneak peek at some of the lectures that you could attend we have compiled a sampling of artists works and what they will be discussing.

Myra Mimlitsch-Gray – Copper Chiclet Tray


This lecture primarily explores the artists’s work and ideas over a 25 year period. There will be reflection on the current state of the field and the impact of artist residencies on her personal studio practice.

Todd Pownell Live/Work–Finding Our Studio’s Stride


Todd will discuss the early influences that led him to attend a technical school for jewelry fabrication and his continued education with gemological studies. He will relate the prime intersections and relationships in his career growth and including conscious working choices that has led to his current design style and the development of a small, growing working studio team.

Jennifer Trask Written in Bone


While making this group of objects and jewelry I had a question in the back of my mind: “what is written in our bones?” Meaning, what desires, ideals, and motivations do we carry silently? Neither clearly baneful nor benign, these objects are intended to mirror our complex relationship to our own internal nature(s), and the peculiar concept of dominion over intrinsic nature, or wildness by engineering a domesticated, ornamental nature. This presentation offers insight into Trask’s studio practices and the ideas that inspire her sculpture and wearable works.

Vivian Beer – Infrastructure Series


Our domestic landscape of “stuff” is a powerful subject/format for expressing concepts and engaging us all into an imaginative and physical experience. Furniture is site specific to the body in a very intimate way and our relationship to industrial processes/materials is both intimate and at times mysterious. The emotive impact of using them to create one of a kind sculpture and furniture has a complicated power.

In this lecture I will take you through many of the techniques that I use, and my thought processes around mixing together these two culturally charged worlds. It is structured to take you via imagery and video through the work I make, the chronology of my research and the design methodology I use to make decisions.

Stephen Fliegel


 The Technology of Art: Arms & Armor of the Middle Ages and RenaissanceArms and armor-making techniques had reached a very high level of sophistication in ancient Greece and Rome. However, the full flowering of armor in the European West in all of its technical and aesthetic perfection was not achieved until about 1450 to 1650. The forging of steel, a very hard material, into precisely fitted, interconnected plates was a task requiring great skill and patience. For the warrior, martial supremacy was secured not only through skill, discipline, and training but also through the possession of superior arms.Arms and armor of the Middle Ages and Renaissance represents a competition between two rival technologies—defensive armor to make the warrior impervious to harm, and offensive weapons constructed to defeat those defenses. It was essential that both be constructed with the greatest technical knowledge and skill, a process that often resulted in objects of great beauty. It was during this epoch that armor, often highly ornate, achieved one of the greatest expressions of European decorative arts. Armor historically has symbolized rank, wealth, and authority. It eventually assumed a purely decorative function–the aggrandizement of the wearer.

Kate Mess – ‘Til Death Do Us Part


Suzanne Ramljak All is Fair in Love and War: Ornament as Lure and Defense

The stakes could not be higher in the arenas of love and war, representing as they do the species’ drives to reproduce and survive. The strategies for success in both spheres involve similar tactics including conspicuous display, entrapment, and deception. Throughout history, ornament and metalwork have had a crucial role to play in courtship and in battle. This lecture will survey contemporary examples of wearable metalwork that are designed to disarm their opponents, either in the name of passion or protection.



Of the many reasons for us to gather in Tacoma this year, one of the best is to witness the unveiling of the exhibition Protective Ornament: Contemporary Armor to Amulets, which opens on the day of the Symposium. Our speaker Suzanne Ramljak, also known as the editor of Metalsmith magazine, curated the show and will be at the Tacoma Art Museum to celebrate the opening with initiator, Carissa Hussong, of the Metal Museum in Memphis.

The Seattle metals guild has chosen the beautiful backdrop of the History Museum to hold the Symposium, thanks to its easy walking distance to TAM. And if you are keen on making the most of the trip, our Symposium date coincides with the annual Tacoma Arts Month which is going to feature Metal-Urge, a celebration of metal arts, so there will be lots to see and do all through October.

For the grand finale, our close-of-day speakers’ reception will also double as the opening celebration for the Protective Ornament exhibition. That way, once the curtains go down on the Symposium, we can all come together and see the Protective Ornament exhibition.

Need more information? Comment for more details, or send an email to symposium@seattlemetalsguild.org.

See you in Tacoma!