Thursday, May 09, 2013

SNAG Pin Swap

This year I will venture into a new world - the annual SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) conference held in Toronto next week. I'm looking forward to an exciting education as the program unfolds with presentations and demonstrations. The offerings range from new to old: digital jewelry photography and CAD to historical context of jewelry and tools, sustainable materials to roller printing, sawing and riveting.

One of the most highly touted events is the annual pin swap which occurs on the first night of the conference as a way to meet old and new friends. I've experienced similar events at other conferences, such as bead exchanges at the Gathering or charm swaps at a PMC conference, but constructing a fully wearable (although minimalist) piece of jewelry certainly takes the idea to a new level. I really didn't have any inspiration that would guide me to produce "20, 40, 60+ playful, clever, and inexpensive interpretations of the diamond."  

Then Bob Ebendorf's workshop gave me an idea. I decided that maybe I would take his suggestion for turning my fiber wrapped wire/tubing into a simple brooch. But how to incorporate the diamond theme? Should I go for shape? Should I glue on CZs? Then I remembered a coil of 1/4" copper refrigeration tubing stashed in my studio, a box of 50 5mm CZs in a drawer, a technique demoed by Ronda Coryell to quick set stones with a flex shaft, and a new rolling mill begging for work.

I quickly cut a short length of tubing, cut the seat for the stone and set it in about a minute, then used the mill to step reduce the tubing size. Finally I wrapped with some of my quilting scraps, stitching on a feather and a steel fibula. Now, can I set up an assembly line to make a collection of these in some reasonable time? The part I really enjoy about this idea is the possibility to make each one totally different. Wish me luck.


  1. I knew you'd come up with something fabulous!

  2. Fun! Love the tube setting idea. I'm curious to see how you will attach the fibula. Will you make each one or do you have ready made fibulas to attach?

  3. Thanks, Lora and Barb! I did pull out some safety pins to see if they would work, but I don't like the look. I suspect I will just bend a bunch of simple wire fibulas. I only thought that shipment was a lifetime supply!

  4. Hope you have a wonderful time. Why on earth am I not attending this??? I'm an hour away, I practically live at the Royal York when i'm in Toronto, and my husband works 5 mins from there. Bahhhhh!:)

  5. Yes, Sue, why aren't you attending?! Can I lure you in, at least for dinner one night or something? I think you could still register at the conference...