This blog highlights the talents of this years symposium presenters. For more information about attending this years symposium, please see

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Craig Nutt

What’s in That Sausage?
Southern humorist Roy Blount, Jr. once said that asking where you got an idea is like asking “what’s in that sausage.” The list may be long and some of the ingredients are unexpected. Here is one example:
I was born in north central Iowa where the land is flat, the corn grows tall, and silos and grain elevators punctuate the skyline.
In 1960 my family moved to Huntsville, Alabama, “The Rocket City,” where the rumble of rocket engine tests was commonplace.
Just across the state or county line you can find fireworks stands like this, peddling rocketry fantasy – promising so much, but delivering so little.
Many people in the South are vegetable gardeners. I started gardening seriously at about the same time I began making furniture. I soon found that gardening opened up a channel of communication with all kinds of people who grow things, and eventually provided a visual vocabulary that I used in my work.
Have you ever noticed how much the Space Shuttle launch vehicle looks like a silo or considered the parallels between the military and agribusiness?
Can you guess how George H.W. Bush provided the final inspiration for the work below? (More at the Yuma Symposium!)
Golden Bantam Bomb, 1989, 20”x21”x9”, Oil paint on wood.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Colin Blakely

“Overlook, Grand Canyon”

“What a great view!”

How many of us have exclaimed these four words on one or more occasions? Probably most of us. How many have stopped to think about what specific aspects of the scene we were standing in front of inspired the comment in the first place? Probably fewer. Yet chances are, there were many similar qualities in what we were each responding to. It was probably an outdoor scene. We probably were able to see a far distance with few obstructions. We were probably in an elevated position that allowed us to “survey” the landscape in front of us.

“Yosemite (After Bierstadt),” Pigmented Inkjet Print

We tend to assume that the qualities that make a scene a great view are self-evident, somehow innate to human perception. They are written into the structures that dictate so much of our interaction with the landscape, from the most popular spots at National Parks to the ubiquitous roadside “Scenic Overlook.” Despite how ingrained these views are in our collective consciousness, they are not innate, but carefully constructed and written into the landscape to engender particular ideologies that are tied up in national identity as well as a host of commercial and individual interests.

“Topographies 1,” 4 Pigmented Inkjet Prints

The landscape is ultimately one of the most politicized entities of our time. It is the backdrop against which so many narratives and other types of power struggles play out. Ultimately, these narratives become inseparable from the place itself. This intersection of narrative and place, in which the lines that designate where one ends and the other begins become obliterated with time, is at the heart of what motivates my work as an artist. What better setting than the Southwest, a part of the country steeped in these land-based narratives, to discuss this? What better place than Yuma? I look forward to seeing you all there! 

See more of Colin Blakely's work HERE

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Rachel Shimpock & Electroformeriffic!!!


It’s what happens when Electroforming and Terrific lie very, very close together! True story!! 

Listen, I know you may know what Electroforming is, but lets talk about home/studio small set-ups shall we? 

From plan ahead-ers to wake up in the morning and plate by the afternoon-ers I got you covered! If you don’t know what electroforming is…come find out!  I will present to you tips, tricks and an informative demonstration including setups, solutions, alternative power sources and bunches of samples to nerd out hard to.   

Shake off your Friday hangover with me, Rachel Shimpock, Saturday morning, and lets MacGyver our way to plating!

Also! My photographer best friend and I will be doing a fun lunch activity for you to enjoy! Look for the Red tent!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Kim Cridler : The Descriptive Line

Kim Cridler: The Descriptive Line – Demonstration with lecture 
Trained as a jeweler/metalsmith, but leaning towards sculptural work, I will present the basics of soldering with steel including terminology, material properties, a variety of fluxes and solders, how to color and protect steel, lots of samples, and show my basic way of building symmetrical forms.  I will talk about how these simple processes allow me to build structural forms that become part of sculptural work. The lecture will expand on my formal and conceptual interest in the decorative arts, vernacular art forms, and craft. I will touch on ideas of repetition, beauty, and the essential struggle towards change.
Witness Tree, 2016, steel, mother of pearl, gypsum cement, 58" high x 6" x 56"

Detail, Witness Tree

Thicket, 2013, steel, silver, hematite, bronze, 78" high x 31" x 31"

Detail of bird form in Thicket  

2 Details of building bird form in Thicket using soldered steel wire

See more at

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tom O'Day

hope you can join me at 10:50
looking for a few people to help me out

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Laura Wood - Crafting a Community: A Personal Path

Our creative paths will take many turns over a course of a lifetime. The communities that we are a part of are a common thread throughout the journey. In my talk I will share my experience and how the community aspect of my work has aided in both my creative process and professional development. I will emphasize the importance of retaining craft in our culture as a community effort. ​