As the local representative of the Melbourne jewellery Massive, I’m making a rare trip out of the studio this week to talk up my buddy Anna Davern‘s work at the opening of the exhibition Funny Business: Making Mischief, at Facèré gallery here in Sea-town.
As usual there’s an artist talk before the opening on L4 of the building (get details from the gallery on your way past) at which I’m going to say a few words on behalf of Anna’s works – which really are rich and interesting enough to do all the talking themselves. So there’ll be some classic Davernator works on screen accompanied by my sketchy musings from 4pm, where more importantly you’ll get to meet a couple of the actual artists – Kristin Lora and Tom Hill – followed by the usual bubbles and cheese back down in the gallery space. Come along to make your acquaintance with some beautiful works by a well respected Australian artist, and of course all the other local heroes, at Seattle’s premier art jewelry gallery.
The focus for this course is a slight shift from the other workshops I’ve taught to date, as I have finally figured out a way to teach what it is that I do without having to get AutoCad and a lasercutter involved for a 2 day class.
In my own studio I enamel fiddly little things, some of which I painstakingly draw, drill and cut out myself, and some of which I painstakingly draw and then find someone/thing else to do the drilling and cutting grunt work. In either case, it involves a lot of cutting before enamelling commences, after which I’m left with tiny fiddly parts to enamel, that I later piece together into jewellery.
I could say that this is not really how I learned, rather that it was by trial and error I developed a method to suit my work, (which in some cases I did), but if you dig really deep on this blog, you’ll see that’s just not true. In fact my formative enamelling experience was working in Elizabeth Turrell’s studio at the University of the West of England (images below for a recap), where I spent a month dipping in enamel the things I found on the street on my walk to school in the morning. I then figured out a rather ad-hoc way to fire them, and to be un-flatteringly honest, I’ve not improved any part of my system much since then!
Since the U.S. has such an amazing array of steel bits and bobs lining practically any street edge, I decided it’s time to repeat the earlier England experiment in a workshop. The deluge of scrap metal that I find kinda shameful in a city full of metalsmiths like Seattle, will then go from environmental problem to beautiful, wearable jewels once we get our hands, and Danaca’s range of steel-ready enamels, onto them!
(And while we’re at it we will doubtless find a better solution to making them wearable than my own ‘hang it on a silk cord’ improvisation of 5 years ago, too.)
So if you want the tips and tricks on how I make my art, and more especially if you’d like to turn some trash into wearable treasure of your own, please come and join us. Oh, and on your way to the studio, you’ll inevitably find some steel washers and nails and other rusty odds and ends strewn across the tarmac. Why don’t you bring that along?
I’ve been a bit slow on the uptake here so I’ve missed shouting out before the opening, however, the Heat Exchange II travelling exhibition is now open in Munich at the Bavarian Arts and Crafts Council Gallery for Applied Arts. The opening reception featured both curators, Beate Gegenwart and Elizabeth Turrell, and in attendance were many of the artists. Welcome remarks were provided by Prof. Dr Thomas Raff with official opening by Barbara Schmidt. Yup, the heavy hitters were all in attendance!
If you’re like me an didn’t make it to the opening on the 21st of May but unlike me you’re somewhere in Europe, the show continues until the 2nd July, 2016, so there’s plenty of time for you to head over and check it out!
I’m just going to leave these here. They have inspired some thinking and some quite gung-ho shouts of “Author!” and “Hear, hear!” around these parts in the last set of twenty-four. Back soon with real other content.
It features some of the best writing on jewellery in print anywhere, with regular contributions from such luminaries as Liesbeth den Besten, Andrea DiNoto and Bella Neyman. And it’s the only place where you’ll find special contributions by artists and collectors like Susie Ganch and Helen Williams Drutt English (and that’s just in Vol 35 No 5!)
Metalsmith Extra has all the online content you can’t get in a print publication but expect from an online-only source, like videos by and about the artists and artisans featured in the magazine. They’re listed by issue, with folks in the newest edition featured at the top.
The current issue, which features profiles on Mirjam Hiller, Vivian Beer and obviously Hanna Hedman, and a LOOK section written by Jillian Moore, is in my opinion THE BEST issue EVER produced by editor Suzanne Ramljak and her crack team of writers.*
So as my mate Molly likes to say – do yourselves a favour, yeah?
*I’m not just saying that because I’m on the editorial advisory committee, nor because even the editor described it as the “Women in Metal” issue, and you know I’m all about women and metal. Turns out it’s a bloody solid read 😉
… to the presentation I’m doing tomorrow on the SnagSpark theme of holistic practice (where I’ll go into how and why to sustain your creative existence and ways to attain and maintain flow from 3:45pm at the On Broadway Arts Building) I’ve also been added to the 20/20 lineup for Friday night.
“What is this 20/20 that you speak of, Melissa?”
I’m so glad you asked! This Friday, May 20th from 7:00-10:00pm at the On Broadway Arts Building (49 Broadway Ave) in Asheville there has been added a group of 20 x 7 minute slide presentations where people are going to “Show us their vision.” More specifically, I’m going to talk about my recent solo show Body Politic that took place earlier this year at Gallery Bilk in Canberra.
I’ve lots of things to say about the show, the work and the inspiration for each work, and only a tiny time to do it in (SEVEN MINUTES!!) so come watch me talk my own face red trying to squeeze too many words into far to little time. I’m on second so y’all better be on time!!
And of course, let’s not forget the Trunk Show – 3pm – 6pm in the Grand Ballroom at The Renaissance on Saturday.
I’m in a tiny show at The Vatican at studio e which opens on Saturday night in Seattle’s Georgetown neighbourhood. The space is viewable 24-7 at 609 S Brandon street, Seattle WA 98108. Make plans quick to join me on Saturday May 7th at the opening from 6-9pm.
studio e gallery hours:
May 13th - June 4th
Friday, Saturday & Sunday 1-6pm
also open late Saturday May 14th for Georgetown Art Walk 6-9 pm
Shared Concerns is open at Penland Galleries! For those of y’all heading to SNAGneXt in Asheville you should budget an hour each way to reach Penland. My plan is currently to car pool, and I’ll be heading out there on Sunday the 22nd of May. Look forward to seeing you there! If you do want to head to this year’s amped up SNAG (and see my *brilliant* presentation) you’d better snap to it – tickets now only available at the door.
…so last week when I said that Saturday the 23rd of April would be the last day that the exhibition Body Politic would be visible at Bilk Gallery? Well I spoke too soon! The latest from Gallery Bilk, or more specifically, their Instagram, is that the show will close on the 30th of April. That’s right – there’s one more week to get along to see the show 😉
(I know, most of you can’t get to Canberra, so please enjoy the new images above!)
A couple of great projects I’ve seen online that I thought I’d share.
Thanks to the perfectly titled Fuck Yeah, Book Arts! site, I’ve been meditating on the beautiful beaded works orchestrated by Nadia Myre:
Nadia Myre, Indian Act
Indian Act speaks of the realities of colonization – the effects of contact, and its often-broken and untranslated contracts. The piece consists of all 56 pages of the Federal Government’s Indian Act mounted on stroud cloth and sewn over with red and white glass beads. Each word is replaced with white beads sewn into the document; the red beads replace the negative space.
Between 1999 and 2002, Nadia Myre enlisted over 230 friends, colleagues and strangers to help her bead over the Indian Act. With the help of Rhonda Meier, they organized workshops and presentations at Concordia University, and hosted weekly beading bees at Oboro Gallery, where it was presented as part of the exhibition, Cont[r]act, in 2002.
The piece itself is strikingly beautiful, a perfect realisation of her concept.
Oring has been banding groups of volunteer typists to write postcards to politicians. She started the project with postcards to the President (of the USA, that is) and has recently moved on to the current presidential candidates, using volunteers to take dictation the same manner that she did with her first outing, dressed as a 1960’s stenographer:
In 2006, Sheryl dressed as a 1960s secretary, set up a portable public office complete with a manual typewriter in public areas across the country, and typed birthday cards to then President Bush as dictated by passers-by.
She has gone on to take in commentary of the Obama administration, and is about to start taking down community thoughts on the current lunacy presidential nomination battle.
and the effect?
I’ll never forget this guy in Chicago, at one of the last shows. He came down to where I was taking photographs and said, “I just want you to know that I am a better American because I participated in your project.”
The empowerment experienced by participants has of course been likened to therapy, which I think is a really interesting outcome of the process. Why does the act of airing your thoughts to someone who is an impartial observer give one a feeling of closure, more than, say, talking it out to a like-minded friend or relative? I also think of this project in relation to the public displays of jewellery creation and/or gifting that I have seen. I think the strength of this piece is its sustained and clearly impactful interaction, which is fostered using a rather generic and easily replicable format.
It’s too late not to sound like a broken record, so here goes:
It’s the last week to see my exhibition at Bilk Gallery, and owing to the fabulous support shown to me and my work by the good people of Canberra, it’s the last time you will see this complete collection of work together anywhere! It closes on the 23rd of April, this Saturday.
The piece that its pictured in worn and unworn configurations, above, is one half of the Drone work.
The work is made from a steel tortilla pan sourced from Mexico City in 2014. The pan was cut down to 5mm x 5mm ’tiles’, each with a 0.8mm hole drilled into the centre. Then pieces were enamelled, in all about half of the over 1400 units. The enamelled and non-enamelled individual tiles are laid out in a sequence of ASCII characters that have been converted to binary. The encoded message for the Attempts to kill… piece reads:
“Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November .” S. Ackerman on US drone activity in Pakistan and Yemen, on theguardian.com
while the companion piece, made from the drone-shaped section excised from this work, spells out the name of that piece: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper UAV
“The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (formerly named Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems primarily for the United States Air Force… The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance.”
 “General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper,” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, January 1, 2015, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=General_Atomics_MQ-9_Reaper&oldid=639809793.