October 02, 2015

University to host metalsmithing conference

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Keep calm and hammer on at the Annual Southern Illinois Metalsmiths Society Conference at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Oct. 9-10. 

The conference begins at the University Museum in Faner Hall on Oct. 9 with the exhibit reception for “Form Forge Fabricate,” a student-juried exhibition of metalsmithing art. The reception is 4-7 p.m. and includes light refreshments. Many of the artists will attend the reception, presenting the opportunity for metalsmiths and their fans to discuss technique, goals and accomplishments. 

Immediately after the reception, the conference moves to the University Museum auditorium for art talks from the two featured guest artists of the conference, Michael Rossi and Andrew Hayes. Their talks are set for 7-9 p.m. 

Both artists will show their art and technique at public demonstrations on Oct. 10 at the L. Brent Kington Smithy in the industrial wing of Pulliam Hall. The demonstrations are set for 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. with lunch scheduled 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

A highlight of the conference, and a major fundraiser for the Southern Illinois Metalsmiths Society, a Registered Student Organization at SIU, is the fine art auction, running 5-9 p.m. at 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro. The art auction helps SIMS bring in guest artists and instructors, pays for shop materials and helps fund field trips. The auction typically presents patrons with opportunities to buy high quality art from up-and-coming artists. 

Rossi, of Rossi Metal Design in Philadelphia, specializes in modern architectural works, sculpture and accessories. He’s been a professional metalsmith for 12 years. Before opening his own studio, he was studio manager of Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, Mich. His work has appeared in exhibitions in the Midwest and in Italy. 

Hayes is known for his book art – not the pages, the edges of the pages. He molds the pages to the form he wants and then binds them with steel to create bookish sculpture art. A past fellow of Penland School of Crafts, and then an artist in residence there later, Hayes also worked on his metalsmithing approach as an industrial welder. 

Admission to the Saturday demonstration is $35, and includes admission to the fine art auction that evening. Student admission is $25. SIU students with valid I.D. may attend the demonstration for free. Admission to the fine art auction alone is $10. Admission for all events is payable at the door. 

The metalsmithing program and the L. Brent Kington Studio at SIU form a unique and internationally recognized program, boasting many distinguished alumni nationwide; in this video, Rick Smith, head of the program, talks about the metalsmithing program’s unique place in the art world. The SIU metalsmithing program also was a feature on the History Channel’s Modern Marvels television series.  

For more information, visit www.simssiu.com or feel free to email questions to sims.siu@gmail.com.