Metals Forum

September 29 - October 1, 2017

Sponsored by:

About the Event

The Keystone Metals Forum is a great opportunity for jewelers and metalsmiths from across Pennsylvania (and beyond) to come together for a fast-paced weekend of demonstrations, lectures, exhibitions, critiques, and discussions on Touchstone’s woodland campus. The programming will be led by faculty from colleges, universities, and arts organizations as well as studio professionals and emerging artists. It will be an opportunity for dialogue and collaboration between established and emerging makers from across the region.

The programming hub for the Forum will be the Great Room of Blaney Lodge. Touchstone will transform this gorgeous timber-framed space into a metalsmithing laboratory where demonstrators and lecturers can project their content onto the 15-foot high walls. Touchstone’s two galleries will be primed with open pedestals to host a pop-up exhibition highlighting the work of Forum attendees. Saturday’s demonstration marathon will end with an evening bonfire at Touchstone’s fire circle where attendees will be able to network, plan future collaborations, and just hang out. The event will conclude on Sunday with a panel discussion regarding the presentations, tips and techniques, as well as best practices for metalsmiths and jewelers.  

Pop-Up Exhibition

Each attendee is encouraged to bring a piece or two of work to display during the pop-up exhibition. Small cards will be available to all for writing information and some basic display stands will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you prefer to bring your own display stand, please label it with your name. All work will be locked safely in the gallery during the event.

Pricing and Inclusions

The $75 general admission and $50 student admission both include event entry and meals for the weekend. Inexpensive shared lodging is also available at an additional cost. 

A limited number of $25 work exchange admissions are available. These attendees will pay the aforementioned fee and should expect to work about 10 hours throughout the weekend in exchange for admission, room and board. Duties performed may include assisting presenters, dining hall clean up, restroom checks, etc. Contact the office at 724-329-1370 or to sign up as a work exchange participant.

Accommodations for Friday and Saturday evening are available only to event attendees and are based on a shared rate (private rooms are unavailable due to the volume of guests on campus). Pricing for a dorm room, cabin, and camping is $80, $40, and $10, respectively. Attendees may request to share a room with another attendee; however, Touchstone cannot guarantee that all requests will be fulfilled. Campers must bring their own tent and will have access to the bathhouse. All attendees lodging on campus who are not purchasing the $50 linen service must bring their own bedding, pillow, towels, toiletries, etc. as Touchstone does not provide these items. 

Please be sure to note any special dietary needs to our office at least one week in advance of the event. Admission includes the following meals: Friday dinner; Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner; and, Sunday continental breakfast. There is a guest refrigerator and beverage vending machine in the dining hall. Guests may also use the campfire for making snacks.  

Click HERE to register online at your convenience, or call the office during regular business hours at 724-329-1370. 

Event Schedule

Note: All demonstrations/lectures will be held in the Great Room of Blaney Lodge. All meals will be served at Touchstone's Dining Hall. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

3:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.: Check-In at Blaney Lodge

6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.: Dinner Served

6:30 p.m. to 7:10 p.m.: Meet & Greet in the Metals Studio

7:15 p.m.: Welcome to Attendees and Introduction of the SNAG Board Panel

7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: SNAG Board Panel Discussion

Saturday, September 30, 2017

8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast served 

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Stacy Rodgers

10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.: Jennifer Wells

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Maia Leppo

12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.: Lunch served 

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Heather Nuber

3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Rachel Smith

4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Helen Driggs

6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.: Dinner served

7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Pop-Up Exhibtion

9:00 p.m. to ?: Bonfire at Fire Circle or Lodge Hearth (weather dependent)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

8:00 to 9:00 a.m.: Continental Breakfast Served

9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.: Jeff Georgantes

10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.: Group Q&A 

Checkout will follow immediately after the Group Q&A session. We ask that all attendees have belongings out of the dorm, cabins, etc. no later than 12:30 p.m.

Presenter Panel:

SNAG Board of Directors

President Brigitte Martin, Treasurer Anne Havel, Tedd McDonah, and Executive Director Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith   

Advocacy and Resources in Craft

Join the SNAG Board of Directors for an important panel discussion on how organizations such as SNAG are vital to makers and their craft. The Board will also talk about how to become a contributing member, their roles and responsibilities, and how they guide SNAG to advance its mission. 

The Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) is an international nonprofit organization that serves as the primary organization of jewelers and metal artists in North America. SNAG fulfills its mission of advancing jewelry and metalsmithing by inspiring creativity, encouraging education, and fostering community by way of the publication of Metalsmith magazine, hosting an annual conference, a weekly newsletter, exhibitions, sales, critical conversation covenings, scholarships, sponsorships, Maker Profile Pages, and professional development seminars.

SNAG’s Board of Directors includes Brigitte Martin, Becky McDonah, Anne Havel, Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith, Jill Baker Gower, Chris Balch, Dominique Bereiter, Kat Cole, Dianne deBeixedon, Brian Ferrell, Nicole Jacquard, Tedd McDonah, Ezra Satok-Wolman, Elizabeth Shypertt, Emily Stoehrer, and April Wood. To learn more about SNAG and its Board Members, visit


          Stacy Rodgers                      


Transitioning Conceptual Academia Designs into Production Jewelry

This presentation will focus on a discussion on how to simplify your conceptually elaborate designs into everyday wearable production line jewelry by determining key elements of your aesthetics, understanding your market, and streamlining your production processes.

Stacy Rodgers Jewelry is a collection of intricately hand-pierced forms inspired by the ebb and flow of lines and negative space in anatomy, sea life and plant life. Her fascination with the natural world has led to organic jewelry forms in sterling silver, oxidized copper and brass. With offset layers and exploding edges Stacy’s extraordinary jewelry is lightweight, durable and highly wearable. Stacy received her BFA in Metalsmithing/Jewelry Design from the University of Kansas in 2007. Her work has been published in 500 Pendants and Lockets by Lark Books. Stacy has a brooch in the Halstead permanent collection which won 2 nd place in the Halstead Design Challenge: Kinetic. Stacy Rodgers Jewelry is based out of Pittsburgh, Pa.


        Jennifer Wells        


Residencies, Jobs, and Life After Graduation

In this talk, Jennifer will describe her course since graduation, how the residencies and jobs she has held have led her from one thing to the next and impacted her life and work. The intention is to have an open dialogue and to allow for questions and conversation to co-exist within the talk. 

Jennifer Wells completed her M.F.A in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design from East Carolina University in 2010. After graduation Jennifer spent a year at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN as a resident artist. She also completed shorter-term residencies at Pocosin Arts in Columbia, NC and the Jentel Foundation near Banner, WY. She has taught numerous workshops across the country and for the summers of 2012 and 2013 was a Summer Assistant for Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Maine. In the spring of 2013 Jennifer was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. From fall of 2013 into 2016, she taught Jewelry and Enameling in Italy with East Carolina University’s Italy Intensives program. For the 2016-2017 academic year Jennifer taught at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado. For the fall of 2017 she will return to IU in Bloomington and then continue on to more adventures.


    Maia Leppo    


Get In and Out: Soldering with Steel 

Learn the basics of soldering with steel.  Maia will discuss her design and making process while making a pair of earrings.  Attendees will leave knowing the tricks and tips for making your steel soldering a success.  

Maia Leppo graduated from Tufts University in 2008 with a degree in Biology and Community Health. She received training in jewelry and metals from various craft schools, including Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Pocosin Arts, Penland School of Crafts and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.  She received her Masters of Fine Art from SUNY New Paltz.  She has participated in artist residencies at Arrowmont and Pocosin and is currently a resident artist at the Brewhouse Association on the south side of Pittsburgh.


    Heather Nuber    


Make it Yours: Unique Chain and Links 

In this exciting demonstration, Heather will be sharing various methods of making jigs to create unique chains that carry your design choices throughout your entire piece. By using what you have in your studio, you can increase visual interest and value to your work. 

Heather Nuber is a metalsmith, contemporary jeweler, installation artist, and MFA Candidate/Associate Instructor at Indiana University. She received her BFA in Metalsmithing from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2015, and has studied at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Penland School of Crafts and Peters Valley School of Craft. She has exhibited work nationally in juried and invitational shows, and was an Artist in Residence with The Birdsell Project in South Bend, IN. Her work focuses on the dynamics of personal relationships and social interactions.


Rachel Smith


The Toolbox Initiative: Giving and Gaining Experiences and Skills

Rachel Suzanne Smith recently traveled with the Toolbox Initiative/Toolbox Travel program to Dakar Senegal. There, she worked with the initiative to disseminate donations of tools collected throughout the year. While giving tools, the travelers also worked alongside master metalsmiths to learn new skills and new ways of working. During this presentation, Rachel will share photos and information from her time in Dakar last April, will provide information about the Toolbox Initiative and the variety of ways you can get involved with the non- profit, and will give a hand engraving demo. The hand engraving technique was taught to Rachel by Djibrilla Akallo. Some examples of master metals works from Senegal will be available for viewing, along with a number of resources to get involved with the work of the Initiative! 

Rachel Suzanne Smith is an artist and educator from Cincinnati Ohio. She received her BS in Art Education with minors in 3D media studies (metals) and Spanish from Miami University and her MFA in Crafts (Jewelry Metals Enameling from Kent State University. She currently teaches at Kent State University, makes and exhibits art, and coordinates the Museum To Go program for the Canton Art Museum. Rachel Suzanne Smith’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She was a finalist in the 2017 Friedrich Becker Prize and exhibited the work in the Finalist Exhibitions in the Stadtmuseum Düsseldorfand the Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus Hanau. She was a 2016 Niche Award winner in the category of Sculpture to Wear. Also active in the Ohio art scene, Rachel has received the Fresh Air award while showing at the Akron Summit Art Space, and the award for Excellence in Metals at the Ohio Craft Museum during their annual “Best of” exhibition.


Helen I. Driggs


Self Promotion: It's Not Shameless, It's Essential!

Helen's presentation about how self-promotion is critical for any artist at any level was so well-received at this year's Alchemist Picnic, Touchstone invited her to present again at this year's Forum. Helen will discuss magazine publishing opportunities and beyond. It's important to have and maintain the "Holy Trinity" of social media, and use these tools at least a few times per week to build an audience, promote your work, and keep the world updated and interested in you. It's good to teach, get published, and have a following, so Helen will give you some tips for what to reveal, how to sell yourself, and how to spend the minimum time for the maximum return when it comes to selling yourself, instead of just selling your jewelry.

Helen Driggs is formally educated as an illustrator and holds a BFA from Moore College of Art and Design. Helen is the former Jewelry Group Technical Editor of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine. In Helen's "real life" she is a studio jeweler and visual artist. In addition to her published articles and instructional DVDs, Helen is the author of The Jewelry Maker's Field Guide: Tools and Essential Techniques. She studied at University of the Arts, Tyler School of Art, Peters Valley School of Craft, MetalWerx and in private workshops with talented studio jewelers and academic instructors of jewelry and metals across the country, as well as completed a 10-day apprenticeship with her awesome friend Michael Boyd in 2010.


Jeff Georgantes


Precision Micro-Welding for Jewelers and Metalsmiths

Precision micro-welding has revolutionized the fabrication process for jewelers and metalsmiths.  The need for clamps and tweezers has almost entirely been eliminated. One can just hold parts together and weld them into position.   All welding is under a microscope, so detail is incredible.  Welding can happen right next to stones or other heat sensitive materials. Not a replacement for the torch and traditional soldering, but a life-changing complement to the torch. Orion Welders supplied by Sunstone Engineering.

Jeff Georgantes has a MFA in Jewelry/Metals from CSU, Fullerton and a BA in Art and a MA in Sculpture, both from CSU, Humboldt. He taught Art at College of the Redwoods, Eureka, CA, for fifteen years and has taught numerous visiting artist workshops across the USA. He helped develop and coordinate the Jewelry/Metals program at the Mendocino Art Center from the early 1990s until 2005 when he started his position as head of the Jewelry/Metals program at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH.

Touchstone Center for Crafts
1049 Wharton Furnace Rd.
Farmington, PA 15437
T: 724.329.1370
T: 800.721.0177 
F: 724.329.1371
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