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David Bielander, Cardboard, 2015, bracelets, silver, white gold staples, photo: Dirk Eisel

David Bielander, Cardboard, 2015, bracelets, silver, white gold staples, photo: Dirk Eisel

October 15, 2016 – 9am-5pm

Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122

The Seattle Metals Guild’s Symposium Committee is pleased to announce the details of the upcoming 21st Annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium. This year’s dynamic line up of speakers includes Swiss jeweler and humorist David Bielander, long-time jeweler and gallerist Jim Cotter, Chief Curator of the Decorative Arts at The Newark Museum Ulysses Grant Dietzconceptual metalsmithmixed-media sculptor, and socio-commodity engineer Nick Dongand blacksmith and large-scale sculptor John Medwedeff.

We return to Capitol Hill’s Broadway Performance Hall Saturday, October 15, for Symposium favorites such as our silent auctions and Charon Kransen book sale. Post – Symposium, kick up your heels, grab a glass or a brew and continue the conversation at our Symposium after-party. The festivities continue at Rhein Haus, 6-8 pm. The finest drinks, snacks, and bocce ball are just a hop, skip, and a jump away. All ages welcome before 10 pm. Visit the Post-Symposium Reception event page for more info. 

Symposium: $75 for SMG members and $100 for non-members. We also offer volunteer, Passing the Torch teacher and student pricing.

Parking: All-day parking is available for $5 at the Harvard Garage located at 1609 Harvard Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

Got studio clutter? Why not give your stuff new life in a new home – visit the Silent Auction page and donate:


The 2016 Symposium is part of Conflux: A Totally Metal Weekend, October 14 – 16, 2016

This year’s Symposium is part of Conflux: A Totally Metal Weekend, three days of metals related activities, beginning Friday, October 14, at Bellevue Arts Museum. We kick off the weekend with a curatorial tour of BAM Biennial 2016: Metalmorphosis, followed by a keynote presentation from art historian, curator, writer, and Metalsmith Magazine editor Suzanne Ramljak. The evening will culminate in a champagne trunk show. Cap off the weekend with a celebration of the Seattle Metals Guild juried exhibition Varia at KOBO at Higo, including a special reception and talk by BAM Curator of Craft Jennifer-Navva Milliken.

Learn more about Friday’s events at Bellevue Art Museum

Learn more about Sunday’s events at KOBO at Higo


Symposium Speakers


David Bielander

David Bielander

David Bielander: Why Make Jewelry When You Can Make Real Art?

Swiss jeweler David Bielander apprenticed and worked for years as a goldsmith and industrial designer before jumping ship and pursuing a course of study with jewelry art pioneer Otto Künzli at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. Bielander’s practice is based in a rigorous investigation of his materials and their unexpected possibilities. His talk will explore the possibilities of jewelry as an art form.

“I aim to walk that fine line between making something simple enough that one unavoidably recognizes, that simultaneously requires a fair conscious effort to get beyond the obvious, and at the same time to be abstract enough that it allows a shift to happen, that the piece becomes something altogether new when it unpredictably connects with you.”


James Cotter

James Cotter

James Cotter: How to Make a J. Cotter

Since opening J. Cotter Gallery in 1970, Cotter has built a career around promoting jewelry art and artists, while also fine-tuning his own craft – a practice unfettered by traditional approaches to materials and preciousness. He will be talking about his methods and about how he has gotten to where he is today.

“My work consists of creating images from a variety of materials not normally associated with jewelry such as steel, concrete, rocks and sought after everyday objects. By combining non-precious materials with precious materials, used to create intimate jewelry objects, I seek to challenge notions and assumptions of how jewelry is perceived and what jewelry can be.”


Ubaldo Vitali, “Anniversary Service,” 1984, Collection of The Newark Museum

Ubaldo Vitali, “Anniversary Service,” 1984, Collection of The Newark Museum

Ulysses Grant Dietz: Art, Craft, Whatever: Collecting Modern Metalwork in an Industrial Context

Ulysses Grant Dietz has been the curator of Decorative Arts at The Newark Museum since 1980, and the Chief Curator since 2012. He will be speaking about the Museum’s unique approach to collecting and curation.

“The Newark Museum has collected modern metalwork since its founding, beginning with a large assortment of Meiji metalwork from Japan that was part of its founding collection in 1909. The establishing premise of the museum—unique in its day in the USA—was that everything is art. Painting and sculpture are not the only things to be considered art, and ceramics, textiles, woodwork and metalwork are all forms of human aesthetic expression that should be collected and displayed as art. Thus the Museum has collected modern sculpture, modern silver and modern jewelry from the beginning, affirming its rejection of the idea that ‘art’ is a concept separate from ‘applied art’ or ‘decorative arts.’ As a curator I have resisted labeling myself as a ‘craft’ curator or a ‘design’ curator, encouraged by this founding premise that allows me to embrace anything as a thing of beauty without apology or qualification.”


Nick Dong

Nick Dong

Nick Dong: Experience as Art

Nick Dong is an instructor at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, CA. He is most well known for his large-scale installation work. A self described conceptual metalsmith, mixed-media sculptor and socio-commodity engineer, Nick Dong, will speak about the experiential impacts of art and the viewer’s own role in the creation of meaning.

“Art is not an object nor a picture; art is the unique impact created by that object or picture. Participatory conceptualism is antithetical to passive visual experience.”


John Medwedeff

John Medwedeff

John Medwedeff:

Scaling Up, Engineering Line and Form

John Medwedeff, owner of Medwedeff Forge & Design, will present his work as a studio artist specializing in monumental public sculpture, fountains, and decorative architectural metalwork. A representative body of work in steel and bronze, the studio, a brief description of processes, and business practices will be illustrated though images and narration.

“My work, whether shaped exclusively with a hammer or the cutting and forming of plates, is informed by the traditions and visual language of blacksmithing… I make no distinctions between what is thought to be functional and sculptural objects, but rather concentrate on designing pieces that fulfill my intention for the object within the framework of my aesthetic choices.”


For information about previous years….

Symposium 2015, click here:

Symposium 2014, click here: