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Making pins for trading at conferences

Tomorrow, I'm headed off to the annual conference of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG, for short!). This annual gathering of metalsmiths, in its 46th year in 2017, is primarily academic in nature. It's a place to share ideas, learn about our own places in the jewelry community, and motivate both ourselves and others.

One of the highlights of a show like this is the opportunity to meet and talk with so many like-minded artists. Working at a jeweler's bench is often a solitary experience, and to have a chance to share stories about new patinas or discuss a new etchant that you've been experimenting with or a fabulous hammer that you found on sale... well, those conversations are tough to have with someone who has never etched or hammered or applied that perfect degree of sheen to a piece of metal. It's SO great to find yourself amongst people who actually WANT to talk about the shelf life of Liver of Sulphur!!

A favorite tradition for me at SNAG (and also at some other jewelry making conferences) is the Pin Swap. Attendees bring handmade pins to trade with other attendees. Usually, those pins showcase your own personal jewelry-making technique or style but sometimes they're just something silly or fun. It's a great way to break the ice with a room full of strangers; soon you have a lanyard full of pins and a bunch of new friends!

I made two different styles of pins to take with me to SNAG this year (well, three, but one didn't turn out as well as I had hoped). Since I am attending the conference as a journalist, not a jewelry maker, I wanted to make something that would promote the website, so I chose to put the Facet logo onto my pieces. Check out the gallery below of my efforts in making pins to trade, and next week I'll post another slide show of the great stuff that I get back in return. 

My pins from other conferences
pin trading 1

Saving the pins from conference to conference can be a great way to look back and remember the friends that you made and the techniques that you've learned. I received these pins at The Enamelist Society's conference back in 2015, and I treasure every one. 

But when you've been attending conferences for 20 years, your collection can grow to some pretty amazing proportions! My friend Leslie Perrino displays her collection in the stairwell that leads up to her jewelry studio. Every time she walks by it on her way to create, she is inspired anew by the work of her fellow jewelry makers. 

Check back in a few days (and follow Facet on Facebook!) to learn more about the pins that I will collect at SNAG! 

FIND MORE: metal , enamel , finishing , brooches

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