Being in the world

I’ve found a couple of things:

1/ Auction for Aid – raising funds for the Refugee/Migrant Crisis

Like their About page on Facebook says, they are an “Auction For Aid – Contemporary Jewellery Auction to benefit the refugee crisis.” A bunch of UK based jewellers, (amounts are in GBP) are auctioning off some pretty great looking work on Facebook (yes, you do seem to need an account to bid) that will post/ship internationally.

Welcome to the 2016 Auction For Aid. All money raised will be going to two charities, MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) and SALAM LADC (‘Salam: LADC’ stands for ‘Peace: Lebanese Association for Development and Communication’), both charities doing wonderful work to help with the current refugee crisis.

2/ Alliages – The contemporary art jewelery agenda

Finally! An interactive calendar for jewellery events! Look out for deadline info there, and add your own to boot.

The jewelery agenda, the place you can see the contemporary art jewelery events : exhibitions, openings, lectures, awards, etc … You can propose your event to be published in the agenda by clicking in the “Add Event” blue button

Have at it, my sistren.

And like Bilk just announced…

If you’ve already seen this on Instagram my apologies, but the lovely co-director of Bilk, Mio Kuhnen, let the world know over the weekend that two of my pieces from the recent Body Politic exhibition in Canberra were just acquired by the National Gallery of Australia. This takes their Melissa Cameron tally up to 3!

I was in a bit of shock to have such a long and considered gallery visit with Dr Robert Bell (curator of decorative arts at the NGA) while I was in Canberra, on the day before the official opening of the show. He was very inquisitive, and if you’re read any of the text surrounding these works, you’ll have seen that there are a lot of stories to tell, so I was honoured to impart my narrative of these and the other works. He even asked my opinion – what I thought of the pieces he was deliberating and why – and I had to tell him that it took me a long time to come to terms with the Tank piece especially, as I found it brutal and dark when I first finished it.

Finishing that work as one of the earliest in the series – the Cannon and Tank were conceived at the same time – made continuing and then creating even more complex pieces an easier pill to swallow. I look back now and see that they were really just a prelude to the Gun piece, which, while only completed in late 2013 early 2014, was really begun with the horrific events in Sandy Hook in December of 2012. I see now that I put those details away for a while, and decided to start in more neutral territory – a Civil War era cannon and an M1 Abrams tank as fitted out for use by the Australian Army, as a sort of way to first test and then brace myself before moving deeper into this series.

I had a terrible grief-ridden winter this year as I finished up this series, and while the Drone probably didn’t help, I can’t say it hurt either. I now conflate the two in my memory. The Drone and last winter were inevitable, and surviving each of them needed the other as a crutch, in a sort of incongruous symbiosis.

But before all that, when I just had a Tank and a Cannon in my arsenal, I wasn’t sure if I would continue. The duo could have easily remained an outlier, an experiment that was discontinued before it had really begun. So it’s also them I have to thank for begetting the rest of the Escalation series, including the Drone that got me through.

Goodbye good friends, I hope to see you again some time 😉

1100 Shot Round (breastplate) and M1 Abrams (neckpiece)
1100 Shot Round (breastplate) and M1 Abrams (neckpiece)
Jewellery from the Escalation series of altered new and vintage objects by Melissa Cameron
Seven Personnel (neckpiece) and 11 RPH Cannon (brooch)

Conference Papers

I’ve done a bit of house-keeping today, and finally added my SNAGnext presentation from May to the list of conference papers, located over in that sidebar to the left (or above if you’re moblie-y inclined).  While I was there, I made Conference Papers into its own menu, so that you can now easily reach each of the three papers I’ve delivered to a few select audiences over the years. The new one I added today, and also (as of today) the 2013 paper from the JMGA conference in Brisbane, have in-line slides that go along with the text, which add something interesting to look at, especially useful if you get bored of all those words.

Below are links to each of them, starting from the most recent and working my way back. (And yes, I hope to work on sorting out the same deal for the symposium papers next 😉 )

1/ Holistic Thinking: Interconnectivity In Jewels And Practice, presented at the 2016 SNAGnext conference, in Asheville, North Carolina on the 19th of May, 2016.

2/ How to become an artist jeweller: a Seattle community case study, from the JMGA conference in Brisbane, first presented on the 14th of July in 2013 at the State Library of Queensland.

3/ This final one has been kicking around on the internet for a while – my presentation for the 2010 JMGA conference in Perth held at the Central Institute of Technology in April of that year, entitled:

Examining the connections between architecture and jewellery: Looking into the last 100 years to inform a vision of jewellery practice in the future.

 

Bellevue Arts Museum Biennial – Metalmorphosis

Detail image of work My House - Tanya Lippe's Lunch Box, made out of lunch box steel, stainless steel, vitreous enamel. 2016.
Detail image of work My House – Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box, made out of lunch box steel, stainless steel, vitreous enamel. 2016.

Yesterday my newly finished piece My House: Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box was installed at Bellevue Arts Museum just in time for the opening of the much anticipated juried metal exhibition Metalmorphosis, which opens this Thursday night.

Delivery of the pieces and installation went smoothly, though the complexity of hanging my piece made it the longest official hang of the exhbition… A dubious honour  I can tell you, as Elizabeth, who I spent the day working with, is a real pro. That said, the 3rd floor of the museum was an incredible place to be yesterday, especially as most of the works were in situ (and those with power were running) and it is looking really magnificent. I hitched a ride home with Kirk Lang (a locally-based jeweller/sculptor who is an incredibly precise metalsmith and artist) and both of us were sharing our experience of awe on arrival into the space, at seeing the pieces already installed. It’s a little hard to communicate how amazed and thrilled I am to have my work precariously dangled alongside the glorious fruits of so many high calibre artists and artisans.

Needless to say, if you’re in the Seattle area and you haven’t already got a ticket, then please consider yourself invited to the Thursday night shindig by me! You can head over to the ticketing page and grab a ticket for the opening night party that starts at 6pm on Thursday the 1st, or they’ll be $20 on the door. If you’re willing to wait a day (you will miss out on seeing me though…) you can have free entry for Friday’s opening to the general public. And if you’re in Seattle right now but are going to be in town before February, I encourage you to get along. It’s a heck of a show, and I’ve not even seen it fully installed yet!

From the exhibition media:

BAM received a record-breaking 330 applications for this year’s biennial. From this vast and talented pool of applicants, 49 Northwest artists were selected to participate:

Rik Allen, WA Ruth Beer, BC Lanny Bergner, WA
Jana Brevick, WA Julie Brooks, WA John Buck, MT
Ben Buswell, OR Deborah Butterfield, MT Melissa Cameron, WA
Christine Clark, OR Andy Cooperman, WA Maria Cristalli, WA
Casey Curran, WA Garri Dadyan, WA Marita Dingus, WA
Andrew Fallat, WA Chelsea Gaddy, WA Aran Galligan, WA
Catherine Grisez, WA Laurie J. Hall, OR Bruno Hervieux (Normandie Woodworks), WA
Ron Ho, WA Mary Lee Hu, WA Lynne Hull, WA
David Keyes, WA Bob Kramer, WA Kirk Lang, WA
Cheryll Leo-Gwin, WA Phillip Levine, WA Keith Lewis, WA
Micki Lippe, WA Susan Madacsi, ID Chris McMullen, WA
Taiji Miyasaka &
David Drake, WA
Ries Niemi, WA Allan Packer, WA
Ross Palmer Beecher, WA Beverly Petow, BC Maria Phillips, WA
Peter Reiquam, WA Lyndsay Rice, OR Midori Saito, WA
Anika Smulovitz, ID Julie Speidel, WA Spencer Staley, OR
Nicky Statius, OR Lori Talcott, WA Kristin Tollefson, WA
Nancy Worden, WA

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?