Pocosin Arts Smitten Forum Held in Tyrrell County

Published 8:21 pm Monday, January 12, 2015


Galatea Kontos looks up for a moment from a project

The sounds emanating from the Pocosin Arts Studios on 201 Main Street indicated more than just activity.

A group of people stood working together with the common purpose of making art.

The Smitten Forum was underway for several days last week in Columbia with 13 metal-smiths busy at work.

“The event is pretty much a gathering of makers. Metal-smiths are here mostly making jewelry and objects. They are involved with things like  educating or work at galleries. There is the full range from across the United States,” said Marissa Saneholtz, an organizer of the event with her friend Sara Brown.

Brown named a few of the places that people had come from for the Smitten Forum event.

“We had someone who flew in from Oregon to do this for a week. And Chicago and Colorado,” said Brown.

Brown noted a few visitors had come in and out to see the metal-smiths working.

“Everybody just comes here to make. If a demonstration happens, it happens. But everyone is here to make their work,” said Brown.

One artist was working with 3-D printers and had scanned in people’s faces and printed them.

Brown and Saneholtz are both experienced metal-smiths and have both friends for about 10 years.

“We both just decided to host this event last year,” said Saneholtz.

In the summer of 2012, Sanholtz was approached by Jason Bige Burnett a ceramics artist and Bill Griffith,Director of Programs at Arrowmont about the possibility of heading a forum for metalsmiths at Arrowmont School of Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN.
“Jason had been organizing a forum at the school for ceramists for the previous two years and was wanting to expand the idea to include other mediums. The ceramics forum had been a great success and was focused on sharing and exploring the different ways artists using clay manipulated the surfaces of their pieces. “The Surface Forum” was a great opportunity to meet other artists with the same passion for making. I immediately agreed and asked Sara , to assist in the planning of this venture,” said Saneholtz

Due to the wide range of materials and techniques used in the field that is considered “contemporary metalsmithing”, Saneholtz decided that the initial forum should have a different theme.
Instead of being geared towards dealing with the “surfaces” of the art being made, we took a hard look at the metalsmithing community in this country and decided that we were missing the opportunity for professional metalsmiths to work side by side in an intimate studio environment,” said Saneholtz.

Galatea Konto looks up for a moment from a project