Ring Master – opening next Friday, Oct 27th

Ring Master, an exhibition exploring the notion and designs of the humble (and not so humble) ring. Featuring rings by; Helen Britton, Julia deVille, Johannes Kuhnen, Helen Aitken-Kuhnen, Carlier Makigawa, Godwin Baum, Julie Blyfield,  Melissa Cameron, Cinnamon Lee, Chris Robertson, Sean O’Connell, Jane Bowden, Bin Dixon-Ward, Philip Noakes, Vincent Pontillo-Verrastro, Mikki Trail, Sam Mertens and Mio Kuhnen (and many more).

This year Bilk Gallery is pleased to be part of Design Canberra Festival 2017 with Ring Master, an exhibition exploring the notion and designs of the humble (and not so humble) ring.

Monday – Gun day

Wow, a whole week has rolled around without an intervening post – sorry team, that wasn’t mean to happen, but the Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium took over my focus late last week (from making works for Bilk Gallery in Canberra – more on that soon…) and the whole weekend, and what can I say, it was a CORKER! The best yet. If you’re ever in the area for the third weekend in October, you HAVE to head to it. And I can say this with unbiased hand to unbiased heart, as I’ve been off the organising committee a full two symposia now 😉

So, it’s Monday – gun day, part II.

I have a bunch of gun research that stretches back to 2012, which I’ve decided to start sharing, and lucky for y’all, this seems to be the obvious place. I’m not trying to trigger anyone, so if you’re not keen on following this line of thought, know that on Monday (Tuesday in some time-zones,) there will be posts generated as a result of my past and ongoing gun research.

The above images comes from a really interesting post that I first saw a couple of years ago, in 2015. I see it semi-regularly, as the post has been open in my web-browser since the day I came across it. I found it really arresting, but I didn’t know what to do with it. It’s so affecting, however, that I now count it amongst my always-open tabs (there are a random assortment of site alongside this, not just my mail client.) When I occasionally run across it, I’ll again scroll through to see what 33,636 guns looks like.

The author of this really unusual ‘article’, Matt Haughey writes; “According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2013 all deaths due to firearms in the US amounted to 33,636 people.” He found a unique and very compelling way to visualise this, which proves really ‘sticky’ (you know what I mean?), at least to my brain.

I hope you take a look.

Monday – gun day

In a not-so-happy coincidence, on the same day that many of us found out about the latest mass killing in the USA, I received the cheque for the sale of my Gun work to the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

So here’s a little about work, for which I began the research in December 2012, and finally finished the last part of about a year later, in early 2014.

Gun (2013/2014) consists of:
154 @ 30 rpm – scale 1:4
60m
(scale 1:4)
AR-15 (bandolier)

The work Gun (a suite of three wearable pieces) is from the Escalation series. The works in Escalation are each made from domestic objects, taken out of their usual context and transformed into loaded jewels. Together the complete series reflects thousands of years of human history, the history we have of making weapons of war. The works (there is at least two wearable items for each ‘piece’) are loosely grouped into branches, based on the proximity to which the assailant would have to have to the victim (and vice versa) when used, which makes the whole Escalation project into a kind of family tree of tools for killing.

The Gun work is the Sword’s companion on one branch, as I see the gun as the successor to the sword in close combat situations. Rifles were the earliest effective firearms, so it was not a huge leap to use the Bushmaster XM15-E2S as my gun archetype. Sold as a hunting rifle in the USA, it is “a variant of the AR-15 first built by ArmaLite,”[i] “as an assault rifle for the United States armed forces.” (also known as the M16)[ii]. This Bushmaster is the weapon that was used for the Newtown massacre in 2012. If you see the whole series together, it becomes more obvious that this piece is the only one in my Escalation series that does not focus the wartime outcomes of a particular weapon. In making this exception, I wanted to make the point that these military grade weapons are available far too easily to the citizens of the US, and thus are in the homes and lives of ordinary people, which results in the premature deaths of this country’s most vulnerable citizens.

I made this piece from a strangely long and slightly medical-looking tray I bought new, at Daiso. I gave it 30 full-sized NATO shells (I chose there to depict the military round rather than the hunting round made by Remington), as 30 is the magazine’s capacity. I made 77 holes in the tray in the unfired bullet diameter, and strung the 77 cutouts on steel cable, which together add up to the 154 bullets expended within the school. The gun is made at 1:4 scale, making it very obvious to wear and more realistic than the miniature gun bling that is occasionally in fashion. The neckpiece with the 77 cutouts is 15m/40′ long, to represent, again at 1:4 scale (full scale being at least 60m/197′) the minimum distance that the shooter would have traversed inside of the school. I read the police report and literally plotted the shooter’s movements onto a floor plan of the school that I found online, to calculate the approximate length.

Finally, in all the pictures that accompany this series, I am wearing the works. They are photos I took of myself, by myself, and when these works are shown, they were a part of the display. It is important that the works, and the troubling histories that they represent, are on me. Like they are on all of humanity. And I for one am not at all happy about it.

[i] ‘AR-15’. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 26 April 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=AR-15&oldid=551188045.

[ii] Ibid.

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Speaking Out Exhibition – opens Wednesday

Speaking Out: Art & Politics in Words
September 27, 2017 – November 10, 2017
Openings: 1-3pm and 5-7pm on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Speaking Out highlights artists who use words as the basis of their work, creating pieces that inspire discussion around topics of political and social justice. What are the words necessary to start the discussion or argument, to pull people together or apart? How can language be used to share, to trivialize or to provoke? Can a word help you to see what it is like in the shoes of another? And how can a word of indifference end a discussion? We hope that you will see the work in the gallery as a starting place for conversation around topics that are highlighted in current events and contemporary activism.

Participating Artists:
Antonius Bui
Melissa Cameron
Satpreet Kahlon
Deborah Faye Lawrence
Holly Martz
Hanako O’Leary
Spooky Boobs Collective
Chris Walla
Matthew Whitney

Please come meet us at the second opening on Wednesday!

1 book and 3 deadlines

I’ve got to sell you this book that’s launching very soon:

like everyone – I’m in it!!

Narrative Jewelry: tales from the toolbox, edited by Mark Fenn, is now available for pre-order via www.narrative-jewellery.com and www.markfenn.co.uk  or via the usual.

And since I’m here (and only if you’re really, really quick – two expire in a matter of hours), let me sell you on entering these 3 things:

Craft Forms 2017

Snag Jams 2017

and one for the 18th – China time:

Beijing International Jewelry Art Exhibition – a biennial

Enamel workshop and talk – next week

HEAT II in stainless steel, vitreous enamel and titanium, 2016. Image of the wall work and brooch, as installed at Arrowmont.

There’s a day or so left to register for my upcoming workshop in Oakland next week:

Enameling Recycled Steel for Jewelry and Objects – a workshop with Melissa Cameron

I will be sticking around in Oakland to attend day one of a weekend of large scale enameling at KVO Industries on the 9th, which is super-exciting. Knowing that I have plans to make some more panel-based works in the next year or so for a show in the UK, I’m looking to up my large-format game, and since Judy Stone at the Center for Enamel Art – all-round champion of enamel and artists – suggested I do it, how could I refuse? Not that my moderate-panel game appears to be too shabby, as I recently won a prize for Wall Works (for the above) in the Enamelist Society Alchemy 4 Juried Exhibition!

I’ll also be giving a free public lecture next Wednesday night at California College of the Arts:

“From a tamper-proof fence to Body Politic – my enamel journey so far” 7:30pm, Nahl Hall, Oakland Campus, 5212 Broadway (map)

Looking forward to spending time in the heat after just finishing up my Aussie shenanigans of the past few weeks. Northern Summer, come at me!

In Conversation | 29-8-2017

Fuse-Sun Sun Storm neckpiece / Renovation - Caitie Sellers. Jewellery work in stainless steel and vitreous enamel by Melissa Cameron / Argentium silver/copper by Caitie Sellers

It’s very late notice, but Caitie Sellers (USA) and I will be in conversation at our group show, Shared Concerns, at Bini Gallery in Collingwood from 3-4pm tomorrow afternoon. Please come along!

Radiant Pavilion x Shared Concerns

For those of you visiting Melbourne for the upcoming Radiant Pavilion festivities (on the map we’re stop 53, on the Collingwood/Fitzroy border), and of course all of you locals, please consider yourself invited to the opening of Shared Concerns at Bini Gallery from 5:30pm on Friday the 25th of August.

This opening of the show is very special as it will see a record attendance of participating artists at the opening – we will be joined by our Victorian artists Jill Hermans as well as Caitie Sellers from Richmond, VA in the USA, and me! I’m so excited to see everyone in my beloved second home city, I just can’t wait! Hope to catch you there 🙂

Plate Glass Exhibition

Plate Glass opens next Monday!

The opening celebration will be on Friday the 4th of August, the first night of the Enamelist Society Alchemy4 Conference at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I’ll be there to open the show and see the other enamel exhibitions that are simultaneously on at Arrowmont, including the 16th Juried International Enamel Exhibition, in which I happen to have a couple of work, as well as attend the conference.

Why Plate Glass? Well, I was asked to curate a show early to mid career artists for the conference, so I invited artists from all over the world to show off their talent and skills in the enamel medium by working on the same simple canvas – a plate!

The invited artists are:

Nicolette Absil
Alicia Jane Boswell
Susan Buchanan
Kat Cole
Katie Collins
Danielle Embry
Laura Eyles
Aurelie Guillaume
Annie Gobel
Steffi Götze
Naoko Inuzuka
Kaori Juzu
Rachel Kedinger
Inari Kiuru
Mio Kuhnen
Zachery Lechtenberg
Camilla Luihn
Sharon Massey
Lindy McSwan
Marissa Saneholtz
Samantha Skelton
Demitra Thomloudis
Jen Townsend
Claire Townsend
Leah Wadey
Kate Wischusen
Hsiao Ai Wang
Aurelia Yeomans

and they have each excelled themselves in this exhibition. Come along and see the shows, and if you’re about next Friday, please say g’day!