A hint of enamel

Image of the work HEAT in stainless steel and vitreous enamel. Photograph by Melissa Cameron.
Image of the work HEAT in stainless steel and vitreous enamel. Photograph by Melissa Cameron.

Over at Pratt in Seattle I’m going to be involved with a group-led workshop: It’s All Material: 4 Artists Teach Their Specialties (scroll down for details) starting on the 8th of September. How unusual, I hear you muse, of what could I possibly be talking, you wonder aloud to your e-reading device, whose response is inaudible..?

Well friends, there are going to be 4 artists who take two weeks each to give an intro to their area of jewellery and metalsmithing specialty.  My two weeks will be working with enamel, and how you can add that to the arsenal of jewellery-making techniques. The other artists involved are Pratt regulars: Anne Randall, Julia Harrison and Sharrey Dore.

Should be a fun one!

Mari Funaki Award 2016

Funaki Award

For those of y’all in Melbourne, the Mari Funaki award opens next Wednesday, and in it you will find my work from the recent Body Politic show Ruchnoy Protivotankovy Granatomyot, or RPG for short.

From the Gallery Funaki website:

August 24 – September 24, 2016

 

The Mari Funaki Award for Contemporary Jewellery is a biennial international Award that showcases excellence in international and Australian contemporary jewellery. Thirty-five artists have been shortlisted from an international field of 413 entries from 48 countries.

The winners will be announced at the opening on Tuesday 23 August 2016. The selected exhibitors are:

Blanche Tilden (Australia) / Céline Sylvestre (France) / David Bielander (Switzerland/Germany) / Doris Betz (Germany) / Dovile Bernadisiute (Lithuania) / Ela Bauer (Netherlands) / Emi Fukuda (Japan) / Florian Milker (Germany) / Frieda Doerfer (Germany) / Genevieve Howard (Ireland) / Henriette Schuster (Germany) / Inari Kiuru (Finland/Australia) / Karl Fritsch (Germany/New Zealand) / Katie Collins (Australia) / Katja Prins (Netherlands) / Katrin Feulner (Germany) / Lauren Tickle (USA) / Léa Mazy (France) / Lisa Walker (New Zealand) / Manon van Kouswijk (Netherlands/Australia) / Melanie Isverding (Germany) / Melinda Young (Australia) / Melissa Cameron (Australia) / Michihiro Sato (Japan) / Nadja Soloviev (Germany) / Naoko Inuzuka (Japan/Australia) / Paul Adie (Scotland) / Shachar Cohen (Israel) / Sarah Johnston (Australia) / Selen Özus (Turkey) / Sophie Baumgärtner (Germany) / Thanh-Truc Nguyen (Germany) / WenMiao Yeh (Taiwan) / Yong Joo Kim (South Korea) / Yu Fang Chi (Taiwan)

The opening is by invitation only, and despite receiving an invite I’m going to have to sit this one out. I hope that all you Melbournians can get along to see the rare treat of such a broad and deep pool of jewellery artists gathered into the one space.

Image credit: Gallery Funaki

Laser Cutting

Clouds - One Design

In response to a pretty consistent question, I’m going to share with you my laser cutters. I know, it’s either a very brave or completely overdue move…

OBLIGATORY CAVEAT: both of these companies will only deal with you if you have a drawing capable of being machine-read. Which means, you need to have a drawing in vector format (Autocad .dxf or .dwg is most common, [if in, say, Rhino, I’d imagine that’s a ‘save as’ option] or perhaps an Illustrator file saved to .eps – I have had some cutters deal very well with Corel Draw [and if you remember playing/working with that program, you’re older than you look!]) before they will look at the file to quote you a price. Real talk: if you need help with that, I’m not your person. I dream in AutoCad (*not actually true, but admit it, I almost had you?!) so I’ve never had to outsource that part of the process.

The drawing part is essential as the quote that either of these companies will want to give you is based on the machining time – which is a calculation on how long it will take the laser to trace the lines you have drawn. Part of that calculation is an allowance made for the thickness/hardness the material. For instance, working in wood is normally faster, ergo cheaper, while working in 1.5mm/0.59″ stainless steel is going to challenge some lasers, and therefore be more expensive.

These two cutters are best for very low tolerance work; they are precise, as I like to be able to put a .5mm hole in the middle of a 1.5mm channel (see above). If you’re looking for less precision, take a look at other options, as it’s likely that there are cheaper local people who can do your thang. TBH, that might even be a challenge for one of these people to do neatly, but I know their machine is more or less capable.

One Design - #07 Ring 01Image of Melissa Cameron, 2014

 

Ok, no more pfaffing:

Starting at the top – and I mean in terms of price, and from the image at top: expensive, great quality, medium turn time, will source and cut low carbon steel (for enameling)and titanium along with their regular lineup of metals: Laser Services USA

My preference for wood and mass production:
Cheap, medium quality (some deburring required with metal, depending on the cut), stainless steel and a huge array of default non-metal materials and with the option of very, very fast: Pololu

Please be nice to them, y’all, I want to be able to show my face at either of their establishments (or rather, web portals) well into the future 😉

Imagine

The irrepressible Boris Bally has been gathering a sizable cohort together around a shared passion – the erasure of guns in this country (the United States), under the exhibition The Innovative Merger (of) Art (and) Guns (to) Inspire New Expressions (of) [or I.M.A.G.I.N.E.] PEACE NOW!!

Clunky title aside, it’s a really interesting project. Months ago he sent out disarmed firearms to metal artists all over the world, who got to work on transforming their ‘pieces’ into new works. You might have already seen the process of other artists, including Dauvit Alexander’s inspired work on Crafthaus, or perhaps the many pages of images of finished pieces up on Facebook.

Well, the next step, before the actual launch of the exhibition (those of you undecided about going to East Carolina University’s annual symposium might just have found one more reason to hitch up the trailer and head over there in January) is to create the catalogue, and for that one, we need your help.

Boris has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a catalogue that will be worthy of the hundreds, nay, thousands, of artist hours that have already gone into the exhibition so far. We have a big sum in mind, but to make the kind of change that an exhibition like this has the potential of doing, the only option is to go big, or go home.

So please think about donating to this campaign, so we, as a metals community, can add our voices to those already speaking out against the violence that seems to be continuing unabated in this country, and around the world.

xx m

Introducing…

Anna Davern, The Duke of Devonshire, 2015

As the local representative of the Melbourne Jewellery Massive, I’m making a rare trip out of the studio tomorrow (July 27th) 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 level four of the building (get details from the gallery on the ground floor 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.

See you there!

 

New Class at Danaca Design

colour! washers from throughout the week
yes, I can do colour! Enamelled washers from 2011

Enameling Recycled Steel for Jewelry is a new class I’ll be teaching at Danaca Design on July the 16th and 17th. Registration instructions here.

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.

sandblasting...
sandblasting… (hand-cut fiddlies)

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.

painting on enamel and drying and drying...
painting on enamel and drying… (laser-cut fiddlies)
enameling...
after firing…
assembly...
assembly…

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!

Day 11 CFPR Bristol washers found
they’re er’rywhere!

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?

Heat Exchange II in Germany – II

Heat_Exchange_180216.indd

Who's who of European jewellery...
Who’s who of European jewellery…
Inside at the opening
Inside at the opening

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!

Blogging on blogging, and making on making

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.

Writers and artists — your personal pain is not a blow for justice
By Helen Razer on Daily Review. 30 May, 2016

Why blog?
By Conrad H Roth on Varieties of Unreligious Experience. 14 January, 2006

5 true facts!

Metalsmith Spring 2016 - featuring Hanna Hedman's glorious works
Metalsmith Spring 2016 – featuring Hanna Hedman’s glorious works

Here’s a few facts you might not know about Metalsmith – the industry publication that started for and is partially funded by the SNAG membership:

  1. You can buy digital copies online for only $5.99 (USD) and can buy it singly at news stands or news agencies.
  2. A year-long digital subscription of 5 mags is $31 (USD, or approx $43 AUD, or 28 or £21!)
  3. 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!)
  4. 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.
  5. 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 😉

In addition…

… 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.

And after that??

Whisky!

(that’s just one, of course, before an early night after which I head out to Spruce Pine to see our Shared Concerns show at Penland Galleries on Sunday the 22nd…)