Monday, May 27, 2013

SNAGSTRAVAGANZA!.....and enamel stuff


 So I thought that now would be a good time to recap our SNAG experience. EVERYTIME....EVERY FRICKING TIME...we run out of time. Just once I would love to see everything and do everything without having to leave early or do some kind of project or something.

  Since I am a twelve month employee at SUNY, whenever I have to do something like this I have to take vacation time.   So Liz and I planned on combining our trip to Toronto with a well deserved vacation. The plan sort of worked.  We started by getting an AirBnB. It is now our new favorite thing. We saved a shitload of money. Choosing carefully we scored a nice apartment centralized in the hip part of Tornonto.  It was about 8 blocks from the Hotel where the conference was, but knee deep in restaurants, bars and shops. It was also conveniently next to the never know. Oddly enough it was in a women's shelter hence the photo above. Not sure what a "communication closet" would be used for but we thought that it would be where people would have spats..... The apartment came with a kitchen, parking and internet! 

 This was the first year EVER that I only had one obligation for the lecture. So we were basically on our own schedule. We saw the city sights and ate when we wanted to. Since we saved so much money we splurged a bit here and there on food and cabs etc. It was nice to have a little flexibility. We even got to sneak in a moose head and hockey (photo below)  Shockingly the financial freedom didn't equate to more time to do things.... We still missed a lot of stuff. I really wanted to see more of the shows.  The gallery map was WAY off.  Well, at least the scale was off.  We would have had to have had super powers to make it to all of the openings.  

 Some of the highlights of the trip: Ferrous.... loved it. What a great show. The venue was a bit crowded but that is a good thing. The harbor front show/party was also GREAT! (here and here I also enjoyed talking to folks in the educators room. We also loved the pop-up shows. Both Heidi Lowe and Noel Guyomarc'h had some incredible stuff.  It was also nice to be involved with Making it Real.  This is the first show that I juried where the work was digital until the show.  It was a great concept.  What a huge undertaking.  I thought that the show was a success but had its flaws.  With that format there were a million things that COULD have gone wrong.  The organizers did a great job presenting the work in an alternative space.   

 All in all we had a great time. Thumbs up.  Best SNAG ever.  We were sad that we had to leave a day early but hey...such it the life of a full time tech. Liz and I were just thrilled to see our friends that we only get to see once a year.  It was nice to meet Michael Gayk in person... so many skype meetings.  As always it was nice to see MDB, Tara Locklear, and Loring Taoka.  Lola it is always great to see you.  It was also nice to put some faces to work  Ashley Buchanan and Jim Bove. Sadly I missed a few folks that I desperately wanted to hang out with. SUZANNE PUGH!!!!! I saw you!  Next year... 

There is just not enough time to do it all. So below are some photos from the trip. Not all the photos. My phone actually took a crap as soon as we made it back home. I lost a few photos.  I think that it had something to do with Niagra Falls and getting SUPER WET!!

There are a million things to do as usual. I am teaching at Haystack AND Penland this summer.  We are also having a HUGE 3D printing event here at the school in less than a week.  I have new things happening on the Craftees site.  Liz and I are moving in July to another apartment AND I am trying to squeeze in making some work here and there.  UGH.  

At the bottom I am including some enameling tests for my workshops.  I am getting pumped!!



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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Did anyone notice that I made new stuff at Craftees?  RGB shirts and Aprons....

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


(This is my six minute lecture I gave at SNAG this year. Hence the short and sweet of it all.)

My name is Arthur Hash.  I am currently an Instructional Support
Technician for the Metal Program and the Digital Fabrication Lab in Fine
Arts at the State University of New York at New Paltz. I have an
undergraduate degree in Craft/Material Studies from Virginia
Commonwealth University and Masters degree in metalsmithing and
jewelry design from Indiana University at Bloomington.  I am honored
to be invited to lecture at this years conference.  This will be my
ninth conference.  Thank you so much.

 As a maker, designer and metalsmith it is my desire, like many, to
create an object that lures in an unsuspecting audience.  For me, the
link between the audience and the piece has always been the maker.  An
object, made real through the skilled manipulation of carefully
selected materials, is heavy with history, tradition and purpose. In
the world of metals, tools, and how they are used can sometimes define
a piece.  My tools allow me to create a body of work that reveals a
history, my love of material and thoughtful experimentation.  These
objects form a procession of sorts. One after another they march into
existence, ever evolving, increasing in number and building upon the
last, creating new trajectories for exploration.  My approach is
pre-meditative, sometimes spontaneous but always compulsive.

Making to me, has become instinctual, in many ways it is like
parallel parking a car.

As you are pulling into a parking space, cutting the wheel, pausing, looking back, checking
your mirrors, you develop a spatial awareness that extends just past
the end of the hood.  When you the swing the wheel and the car fits
neatly into a space you exhale and pat yourself on the back
Often you come in at an awkward angle, or maybe you underestimate
the size of the space, in either case you back up an start again.
 Knowing the weight of a brooch, the size of a bracelet, the amount of
material needed to make that perfect piece becomes this instinctual
feeling, freeing you to think about other aspects of the work. Sometimes you have to
start over, sometimes you melt the piece, sometimes it just doesn’t
work out, but the more you go back to the beginning, the more you can
execute that perfect parking job.

Out there just beyond the hood, just beyond the end of the hammer,
just beyond the norm is where I like to work.  Stretching my
comfort zone allows me to extend my spatial awareness and ultimately
informs the next piece.

By linking both old and new I consider myself a hybrid-craftsmen.  I
do not consider myself bound by a traditional adherence to technique
and material.  By having this freedom I believe that I have the
ability to move between the lines, blurring the boundaries of what
falls under the umbrella of crafts.  It allows me to take on projects
that challenge my skill set and combine my traditional metals hand
skills with new methods of making.  It is my dedication, to improve
upon what I know, my love of the material and my physical need to MAKE
that keeps me firmly planted within the wide world of metals.

           For the most part I believe that craftsmen understand that
mastering a skill requires years of dedication.  For us, reputation,
quality and credibility are built not in days but years. The path to
success is lined with hard work and sleepless nights.

The truth is, now, right now, the gap between the drawing board and
the bench is getting smaller and smaller.  With the aid of rapid
prototyping, we now have the ability to design and manufacture an
object in hours not days.  But like all tools, these machines need a
trained operator. Just as the skilled hand of the master silversmith
reaches for the proper hammer or graver so too shall the hybrid
craftsmen reach for a laser engraver or 3D printer.  As time passes
the use of this technology will be a mainstay and the successful will
master its purpose.

This technology is changing our studios.  It is changing how we
communicate, how we interact, and most importantly HOW we make. It is
not the magic fix-all, it is not an eraser and it certainly does not
make you a master. It is however closing the gap.  If HOW we wield a
hammer defines us, what happens when the hammer disappears?  Can just
the object be enough?  Can just the IDEA of an object be enough?

This is probably one of the most important questions to the ask those
participating in our field.  Does adding technology to a craft
education mean loosing craft?  I certainly think that this is not the
case but I do believe that we all need be open to the possibility of
change. As email and social media have revolutionized communication the
3D printer and other digital fabrication techniques will revolutionize
the artisan craftsman.

As new makers enter the field, they come with a certain skill set that
is different than that of their predecessors.  As we adapt to educate
this new breed of makers, we need to continue to emphasize the
importance of making objects by hand.  Both traditional and
non-traditional approaches need to co-exist in the metals studio. A
strong connection between the brain and hand exists with the swing of
a hammer, click of a mouse or the click of a pen.  Only through
experience can one gain the skills to improve…

The longer I participate in the field, the more artists I meet, the
larger the field seems.  I have come to realize that there is a space for all
makers within metals and that nothing should be left out.  The hybrid
craftsmen will be a new face in our field, using new technology to
understand and master traditional techniques, ultimately creating new
exciting objects that will push the boundaries of metals.