Gary Writes: Santa Fe Symposium 2017

Gary writes. Gary Dawson presenting at the 2013 Santa Fe Symposium

Presenting at SFS 2013

In 2 weeks from today I leave for St. Louis, the first leg in my journey to present my latest paper for the Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing Technology (SFS).  I’m leaving a couple days early to visit with my sister and family who happen to live in St. Louis and then will rendezvous with the rest of the speakers slated to present at the SFS.  The 3-day junket prior to symposium is designed as one of the most important networking events in the jewelry industry. After 3 days of socializing and sightseeing together, the entire contingent of speakers and SFS staff are moved to Albuquerque, NM where the symposium is held each year. This will mark the 31st annual event, and will be my 6th presentation.

It is both an honor and very humbling experience to be involved with this event, a gathering of up to 200 of the most influential designers, manufactures, and suppliers within this ancient and fascinating industry. The Symposium was organized by the founder, Eddie Bell, to be a repository, the only existing archive, for detailed, well-researched investigations into metallurgy, design and manufacturing techniques.  This international group of independent individuals can be contentious, hence the social junket prior to the actual event. This allows for friendships to form and builds tolerance among holders of disparate views. During the Q&A session following one of my more controversial papers regarding tarnish resistant silver alloys, people were standing up and yelling at each other across the room.

I’m Lucky…

…in that Mr. Bell seems have allowed me to present somewhat unorthodox topics.  In 2010 my paper had the longest imaginable title…”Paradigm Shift in Jewelry Manufacturing and Market Structure: An Examination of Contemporary Small Shop Jewelry Production – Design to Manufacture to Retail” wherein I drew parallels between the then current state of the jewelry industry and the fall and eventual rise of independent breweries here in the USA.  That was a fun paper to write!

And Gary writes again…my paper this year is titled, “Finding a Voice: The Challenge of Design in the Evolving Computer-Aided Design Era”.  I’m excited to share this as both personal essay and critical commentary on the integration of CAD-CAM into the jewelry industry.  It is composed of a bit of personal history and observation, and commentary about how the jewelry industry has integrated CAD-CAM into design and manufacturing.  Frankly, as an industry, we could be utilizing these useful tools more productively.

To see how I use CAD-CAM in my processes, check out my website, Gary Dawson Designs!  Hope to hear from you soon.


Gary Dawson

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