BAM Biennial Open House

Detail image of work My House- Tanya Lippe's Lunch Box in progress, made out of lunch box steel, stainless steel.
Detail image of work My House- Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box in progress, made out of lunch box steel, stainless steel.

I’m doing a floor talk at Bellevue Arts Museum tomorrow afternoon.

Join us for our third BAM Biennial Artist Open House featuring Metalmorphosis artists for a day of engaging talks, demonstrations, and hands-on activities.

3–4pm: Melissa Cameron

Gallery talk, Q&A

The artist is available to discuss her Biennial piece, its origin, the imagery and its connection to the commissioner, another artist in the show.

3rd Floor Gallery

Resist – in a store near you!

dmc_b-p_resistearrings03a

The resistance is growing, and coming to a store near you – at least if you live in Seattle, Vancouver BC, Melbourne or Canberra. I have had people purchase at the trunk show, direct from me (thank you Vancouver jewellery denizens) and make orders for sales in Melbourne and Seattle, and I am so proud that we’ll be hitting $100 made for Islamic Relief USA really shortly.

For those of you who were holding on until the pieces reached your timezone, the Melbourne delivery to Bini Gallery was made yesterday and the Canberra batch (to Bilk, of course!) should arrive by Friday at the latest. Each of those stores will also have a resist neckpiece (like the one below), while the earrings are joined by pins and tiny little pendants I’m calling talismans in Vancouver at The Craft Council of BC and at Danaca Design in Seattle.

Body/Politic - Resist neckpiece

And I have not forgotten you, Perth. Get in touch as I’ll be making arrangements for a special delivery in the next month or so.

Unexpected – Exhibition opening – Vancouver

HEAT: Single Panel Array. Stainless steel, vitreous enamel, cotton ribbon. 2015
HEAT: Single Panel Array. Stainless steel, vitreous enamel, cotton ribbon. 2015
UNEXPECTED
CCBC Gallery
24 Nov – 08 Dec

Hey Vancouver! I’m coming to see you this coming week, starting on Thursday for the opening of Unexpected, and then I’m going to participate in a panel talk with some other exhibitors:

Artist Talk: (space is limited please RSVP to attend)
November 26th (Saturday), 7pm-8.30pm 

UNEXPECTED OPENING
November 24 6 – 8
CCBC Gallery
1386 Cartwright St, Vancouver BC

UNEXPECTED explores the strange and sometimes discordant elements that make the viewing, wearing, and making of Contemporary Jewellery an enjoyable endeavor.

The unexpected and Contemporary Art Jewellery are by no means strange bedfellows- viewers and wearers of Contemporary Jewellery often seek out our discipline because it is unusual and extra-ordinary. The unusual, and unusual elements and materials, have become de rigueur in a creative world that continues to embrace post-disciplinary art practices which move beyond medium centered approaches to making.

See you there!

IMAGINE – already open!

Resilience 'before', by Melissa Cameron. 2016
Resilience ‘before’. Melissa Cameron. 2016

I have it from a reliable source in North Carolina that this exhibition is already open. If you’re in the area, or want to get along to the official opening, get to it! Suffice to say, as one of the 94 participants, I am completely without bias when I tell you that it’s another bloody ripper of a show.

I.M.A.G.I.N.E. PEACE NOW Opens in Greenville

The Innovative Merger of Art & Guns to Inspire New Expressions, or I.M.A.G.I.N.E. PEACE NOW exhibition, includes 94 pieces of art, created by artists from 6 countries around the world, responding to the gun violence that is prevalent in American culture today. Participating artists received a dismantled pistol collected from the Pittsburgh buyback program, where the weapons were rendered inoperable, in order to transform them into (un)loaded objects of art.

The show opens at Wellington B. Gray Gallery, East Carolina University in Greenville, NC on November 21st and runs through January 16, 2017. Closing reception coincides with ECU Materials Topics symposium. The exhibition then travels to Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.

Seattle Trunk Show – Thursday!

Body/Politic - Resist neckpiece
‘resist neckpiece 001’ from the Body/Politic series. 2016

On Thursday I’m having a trunk show with Iris Guy. Please come!

Danaca Design
Thursday, November 17 from 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
5619 University Way NE, Seattle, Washington 98105
Facebook event

This show will see the debut of a new series of enamel and steel works, entitled Resist. An extension of my Body/Politic works, these pieces are individually enameled in a beautiful rainbow of blues, the color that is the opposite of orange on the traditional color wheel. 10% of the purchase price from the Resist line sold anywhere in the world will go to Islamic Relief USA, a non-profit 501(c)(3) humanitarian agency who work on international and domestic US development and relief projects.

If I have piqued your interest in these brand new works, there’s more info about them in my previous post here.

I would love to see you on Thursday night. I can share my new blues with you and together we can talk about resistance.

Yours in peace and love,

xx m

Resist

Plan for a new work, Resist. Part of my ongoing series of Body/Politic works.
Plan of a work-in-progress piece, Resist, which forms part of my ongoing series of Body/Politic works. To get the colouring I’ll use vitreous enameled tiles against the raw sandblasted steel. The layout of colours is done to spell ‘resist’ in binary, with the 0’s represented by grey tiles, and the 1’s by blue.

Dunno about you, but I woke up with all the nerve endings firing in my gut on Wednesday morning, just before 3am. After nigh on an hour of bleary-eyed semi-consciousness, and after the hopes that sleep would take me back into her embrace had been dashed (such a temperamental lover) I caved in and checked my phone. My sisters in Australia had offered condolences that I didn’t need to swipe through to see, especially the one from Courtenay that ran thusly:

Ffffffffaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrkkkkk

Fuck.

That was the entire message, but it told me that counting had finished and the map had been painted orange. Finally having the early predictions confirmed (I’d gone to bed early, both to avoid the anxiety of waiting and to read a good book – Mary Beard’s recent SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome – which turns out to be quite an apt companion for right now,) was definitely not going to help me sleep.

So I did some thinking. And a bit of googling. And at around 5:30am I placed an enamel order. I’ve never had much call for blue enamel before, so my stocks are paltry. Once this was done, around 6am, I went back to sleep reading about an ancient fallen empire.

My early morning thoughts ran something like this; I already have a body of work that is about putting encoded messages into the world, like this piece:

your body is your vote, 2016. Stainless steel, 585 yellow gold, titanium.
your body is your vote, 2016. Stainless steel, 585 yellow gold, titanium.

Body/Politic is a series of jewels where the medium is part of the message. The two-toned grids of pixels represent lines of binary code. Each piece literally spells out a message on the body of the wearer; readable to those who can interpret binary, the language that is the foundation of our digital culture. (These borrow from the visual language set up for the Drone works.) The messages reflect on the human condition, on how we are embodied, and what that means. The words/phrases that became works in the first series exhibited in March include your body is your vote (above), body, vote, unrepresented body, power and recently (just last week, for an upcoming show in May) I completed intensely embodied.

These are pieces are personal and political. They are words that reflect on my own physical body and its position in the world, and on the bodies of others who are in significantly more compromising situations, most particularly those bodies in combat areas, migrating bodies and those bodies who are suffering with illness.

Now before this gets too heavy, lets get back to the quality thinking time that my sleepless hours gifted me. So I have a trunk show booked for next week, and while I’ve been making the measured and politically/socially reflexive jewels like the work above over the last few years, none of those pieces are slated to be on the table next week. My plans for this week were to spend some time reorganising my stash of jewels to find some things that the good folks of Seattle haven’t seen before, and to make a few last pieces from the leftover parts of my La Geometrie laser-cuts to take along with me.

But then y’all had to go and elect an orange for a president.

I very purposely chose a blue top to wear yesterday, in protest (stay with me, this is relevant). And I’m in blue jeans today. Why? Because in my waking hours I was fixating on the fact that blue is the complimentary colour to orange on the colour wheel. Yep, this means it’s the opposite. So I’ve taken all this care dressing because I want to be the opposite of orange (yeah, despite my red hair.) But blue doesn’t just stand in opposition. It is the colour of the tears being shed for this and other depressing and alarming recent political events.

Blue is the colour of that soon-to-be pendant at the top of this (very long) blog post. It is the colour of the stockings on the women fighting to inform, enlighten and protect themselves, and it is the colour that HRC used to paint her campaign, and Bernie Sanders his. It’s the colour of the sky, of steel, and a bloody nice colour for an absolute shit-tonne of enamelled earrings.

And lets reiterate here, in RYB colour theory it’s the colour diametrically opposed to orange.

Body/Politic - Resist earrings

As it turns out, blue is the colour of the logo of Islamic Relief USA as well.

My search to find the opposite of an orange charity also began in the wee hours of Wednesday, and I’ve selected this one to give 10% of the purchase price of each pair of my brand new line of Resist earrings (pictured above) sold anywhere in the world. They’re going to retail for $30 US, and orders will be direct through me. (For anyone outside of Seattle, my postage price is being confirmed – please see below.)

About my blue charity:

Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), based in Alexandria, Virginia, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) humanitarian agency and member of the Islamic Relief Worldwide group of organizations. IRUSA was founded in California in 1993. In addition to international relief and development initiatives, Islamic Relief USA also sponsors and funds domestic projects ranging from emergency disaster responses to assisting the American homeless population and supporting those who cannot afford basic healthcare.

Wikipedia

My pitch:

Resist Earrings, $30 (US dollars) a pair.
stainless steel + blue enamel.

For your set you can mix and match or play it straight, or even buy an extra one so you can decide what kind of (blue) day you’re having. More colours (yup, all blue*) coming soon. How to get yours? See below or email me: resist@melissacameron.net

Trunk Show!

If you’re in Seattle, please come along next week if you’re keen to check out my rainbow of blue earrings* or if you just need a shoulder. Together we can chat about resistance. It’s on at:

Danaca Design
5619 University Way NE, Seattle, Washington 98105
Thursday, November 17 at 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
(Facebook event – do them a favour for catering and let them know if you can 😉 )

Earring suppliers!

Australia: you can count on Bilk and Bini Galleries getting a stack of these in the next week also, and for my sistren in Perth, I’ll see y’all in December and I’ll be sure to carry a few of these in my pocket.

USA: If you’re not in the PNW keep a look out, I’ll be posting the postage details ASAP

Canada – OK, BC: I’m heading up to Vancouver in a couple of weeks (no, not seeking asylum, though did I tell you the one about my grandparent who was born 12 miles south of Tisdale??) so let me know and I’ll bring them with me. The rest of you? Let me figure something out. We’re family!

Everywhere else: If you’re keen please get in contact and I’ll figure out your shipping rate. (I will be in Munich for the second week of March, and might even head to the UK for a hot minute, so if you can hold out that long…)

 

In the mean time, know that while my heart is blue, my gaze is steely.

 

*My Dad bought me my first car, back in the day. While we were looking around at listings he told me, “You can have any colour you like, so long as it’s blue.” I gratefully received a Corolla in midnight blue, despite preferring the burgundy…

For anyone experiencing grief

I feel for you, I really do, if you are grieving right now. I’ve had a pretty intense year myself, and I thought I’d share my favourite distractions as well as a thoughtful speaker/sharer on the topic.

1/ The Great British Bake Off/ The Great British Baking Show

I have watched all 7 series, multiple times, in the last 12 months. And in that time I have come to realise that the nurturing implied in just watching someone make a cake is strangely healing. (And this from someone who is allergic to 90% of the contents of what they’re usually baking.)

I believe that this is available on PBS and other streaming services (Netflix is where I saw it) and some can be found on YouTube. Start with Season Six (renamed Season Three in the States I think?) if you want a quick reminder of what’s right in the world.

2/ RuPauls Drag Race

You will be surprised at the nurturing vibe this has for a reality show, though it’s never beyond RuPaul and team (Ms Visage, I’m giving you the side-eye here…) to tell their charges when they gotta cut with the tears and WERK! Let Mama Ru challenge, shelter and shower you with praise, via your beautiful and enormously talented queer proxy.

Find this on Logo TV or where I’ve seen all my eps, Amazon Prime.

I also follow local (to Seattle) grief writer Elizabeth Copelan on Twitter, she posts great links and says some beautiful things. And yes, even I can’t believe that I’m recommending reality TV to mend broken hearts, but, like I said, a hell of a year.

It’s ok, together we will get through this. And once you’re ready again, there’s going to be lots of work for everyone!

Now, not to get too far ahead of myself, but my sleepless portion of the night was quite productive. Stay tuned for the profits…

From the ephemeral to the very corporeal

I have to share this: Zadie Smith’s latest piece for The Guardian, What Beyoncé taught me. I’d like to explain my thoughts on it, but it would be a disservice to do more than quote:

The connection between writing and dancing has been much on my mind recently: it’s a channel I want to keep open. It feels a little neglected – compared to, say, the relationship between music and prose – maybe because there is something counter-intuitive about it. But for me the two forms are close to each other: I feel dance has something to tell me about what I do.

I’ll leave you to read the rest, if you fancy.

I’ve been thinking about writing quite a bit lately, as I struggle to make my writing and my work parallel one another for a few different fora. I’ve had occasion to write both proposals for new work as well as explanatory texts for pieces (and in some cases, both, in remarkably quick succession) and it’s been interesting to look back over ‘projections’ versus ‘justifications/explanations’. In more than one piece I worried that I talked a good game, but that the work wasn’t going to live up to the rhetoric. That remained in the back of my mind over separate making processes, and probably changed the outcomes in some way that I’m not yet able to put my finger on.

Meeting my own written expectations wasn’t something that I had worried about before; first of all because I didn’t think the writing was ever veering out of it’s lane by aiming for a poetic display that I would rather the work be in charge of, and secondly because I didn’t think I had a good enough handle on writing about my work in anything but as a kind of documentation.

But the works in my most recent exhibition changed many of my ways of working, including what was written and where the work needed the writing to support it. I don’t subscribe to the idea that an accompanying text is only necessary when the work fails to do all the talking, and thanks to Ben Lignel for reminding us that the British Museum (I think it was… I can’t find the article on AJF) was using words as an interpretive tool to help democratise access to the collection (ie, make it accessible to the burgeoning middle class) back in the 1800’s.

I do and don’t want to explain my work. I want it to do well in the world and so I am prepared to give it context, but I also think, like many others, that it exists because I can’t communicate what it does in any other fashion. To me, making is a form of communication outside written and spoken language, that has its own set of symbols (alphabet) and that makes connections that are not impeded by having to find the word or the flow of words to explain itself, and that it might even navigate inside of us without engaging with the conscious (and word-forming) part of the mind. But now I have recognised that being quite a language-y person, my penchant for writing and talking (my hobbies include calligraphy, for heavens sake) could have the potential to get in the way.

I’m not sure it will, (though perhaps it already has, what a mortifying thought!) and I don’t doubt that it has happened before, but I would hate for my words to set the scene for objects that don’t/can’t deliver. On the flip side, I’m starting to realise why so many artists don’t want to talk about their work.

You have my empathy, if not my allegiance.


Replica 1989 Lapua Magnum sniper rifle cartridges in handmade Combat Paper (made by Drew Cameron from military uniforms) with surgical catgut stitching.
Uniform Shells, 2015. Replica 1989 Lapua Magnum sniper rifle cartridges in handmade Combat Paper (made by Drew Cameron from military uniforms) with surgical catgut stitching.

To get down to earth again for a bit, I want to put this out there: Combat Paper needs a new van.

Drew F Cameron (no relation, really, there’s a few more Camerons here than there were back home, I even met one on the phone last week…) is an ex US service-person, and he makes paper all over the US, with, among others, other ex-military personnel, out of their old uniforms.  He kindly gifted me with some of the offcuts of his toil last year, and I used them to make art about war and its effects on the body – the body politic specifically –  as in us, and all of humanity.

Suffice to say, his cause has my heart, and his need for a van (since his last one was recently stolen) has rallied the rest of my body to the cause. If you can help out, please do. I can vouch for the work that he does, and I hope to be able to meet him one day and tell him as much. And maybe even make some paper.

Bits and Bobs: a collaborative jewelry show curated by Tegan Wallace

event_bits_and_bobs_2016

From the Danaca Design Gallery media:

Often jewelry is created to celebrate and mark milestones in life. As part of marking her milestone of turning 40, jewelry artist Tegan Wallace has invited a collection of artists to take a prototype or unfinished object from Tegan’s own work and breathe new life into them. These Bits and Bobs will become reflections of what Tegan has achieved so far while celebrating the metal community that had given her so much and continues to influence her own artistic growth.

As a part of being in this show Tegan gave me a piece of her work to finish up – incidentally, the pierced dome work that appears in the top third of the photograph above – that she began in her teens. She lovingly and ingeniously created this piece at her parents coffee table, and despite a lot of recent protest that it was practically done already, she didn’t consider it finished. It may not yet be, but for this show I’ve taken it and added my own parts, in steel and liquid enamel of course, and turned it into a piece of jewellery.

Come see it, and even say hello to me and Tegan at the opening, from 6 – 9pm this Friday. The show runs until November 28th.

Danaca Design Studio
5619 University Way NE
Seattle WA 98105

Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box

Image of Tanya Lippe's Lunch Box - pre transformation
Image of Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box – pre transformation

In answer to a reader question; yes, the material that makes the work My House – Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box is all from Tanya’s old lunch box, barring the stainless steel rivets, c-shaped connections, chain (handmade and otherwise) and cable that joins the altered parts together.

In fact there’s actually a few parts missing. The plastic handle and chrome fittings are not part of the design, and there is a series of five small pins (about 27 x 4mm each) that are not part of the installation. One of these I have kept (not a habit of mine, but these were particularly meaningful to me, in a piece that became surprisingly personal over the course of the design and making), and four were given to Micki before the piece was installed.

What you can’t see in this image is the hinge pin that was removed, the handle tethers, and an internal feature meant to hold a thermos flask in place in the top section of the box (it was roughly the shape of the stylized ‘V’ on the front.) All this was wire, in approximately 1.5 – 2mm diameter steel, which was cut up, drilled into, enameled and re-joined to make the chain that holds the big ‘snowflake’ section in the centre.

Detail image of work My House - Tanya Lippe's Lunch Box, made out of lunch box steel, stainless steel, vitreous enamel.
Detail image of work My House – Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box, made out of the lunch box, stainless steel, vitreous enamel.