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The post where I earnestly protest the current US government and ask you, if you are an American citizen, for your help.

I’m in the USA on a work visa. in fact, I’m the hanger-on, listed as a ‘dependent spouse’ on all the forms, so I can live with my husband, a valuable member of the US working class and the reason why they continue to let us in. All fine, exactly what I signed up for. As a non-resident (but resident) alien I obviously don’t get to vote, so my protests, many of which are documented here, have come in other ways, and will continue to come.

For this particular issue, however, making a plea to a US citizen is more appropriate than making art jewellery, so here I am.

The FCC votes on Net Neutrality in two days. Needless to say, if they reverse the Open Internet Order there will be a lot of big media companies deciding how the internet runs in a pay-for-play fashion, meaning the internet in all its diverse, incredible and sometimes just plain commonplace glory, is under threat. The New York Times, Tech Crunch and Wired all explain it better, but suffice to say, the way I do business, research, shop, eat, relax and play are all affected by the way I connect to the internet, and I don’t need yet another corporation coming between me and free and open access to all of that, and TO MY OWN DATA. (Such as this site.)

So as not to bore you all any longer, I sincerely ask all of you US citizens who have recourse to a senator to click one of the links below to register your protest:

Battle for the net.com

Electronic Frontier Foundation

And while you do that, I’ll get the rest of the world ready to help you in your next fight.

Thank you.

Monday – Gun Day

Narrowing down my Ruger has been a windy road.

There’s the LCP – Lightweight Compact Pistol which is marketed as a concealed carry or second gun for law enforcement, but it “lacks certain features required for sale in California or Massachusetts.” according to that Wikipedia link. Then there’s the classic Ruger Standard, which is up to MK IV, and was first introduced in 1949. It retains a lot of its original look, which at my guess, is not actually a big selling point…

Then we have the Ruger P-Series, which happens to be on one of my most-quoted lists, Wikipedia’s List of Most Produced Firearms (LMPF), with a high end of production of 2 million. The P-Series was designed for everyone (!) “military, police, civilian and recreational use” but was discontinued in 2013. Like my actual choice, they share a design heritage with the most produced pistol ever to come out of the USA.

I settled on the SR1911, which is the Ruger take on the Colt M1911, itself #4 of pistols on LMPF.  In fact, Ruger, with the SR1911, probably has a stake in that ranking, given that the full amount of up to 5 million Colt M1911 weapons includes ‘and copies’. The original 1911’s were designed and developed for the US military by John Browning the gun-design guru, with Colt as the first manufacturer. They’re long out of patent, and even when in, it was more than Colt could do to keep up with production during The Great War. They have been manufactured by well over 100 companies to date, and versions are in current production by many of the big name brands; Colt of course, and (in no particular order) Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Remington, Taurus and Springfield Armory. So my drawing is of that weapon.

Ruger SR1911

But it’s not over yet. In my searching for the ‘right‘ Ruger, I stumbled across some actual hard statistics about gun sales in a Motley Fool article about the company. I know the Ruger brand casts a large shadow, and that it’s more for rifles than for pistols, but I thought that with a  yearly production of 748,364 – over one-third of their production is pistols – would clinch it. Turns out Smith and Wesson, despite selling about 200k less firearms in a year, sell many, many more pistols (989,853, over 200k more) than Ruger annually.

Knowing that, I’m ready to compromise. I’m going to alternate the pistols I use as my default weapon. The other weapon will be a Smith & Wesson. The title of most produced pistol for them has to go to the M&P. (M&P? Military and Police). It’s a LMPF place-getter (over 1 million sold as at 2015), it was the double nominated weapon my List of Top 5’s a few weeks back and if you recall it’s also on the list of 9mm weapons that is Chicago PD approved.

Smith & Wesson M&P

So these are the guns that will fill in for the weapons used to murder Mr Rosales, and Mr Smith, back on January 1, 2017, in San Francisco.

US Exhibitions: North & South

One half of Quatrefoil Trio by Melissa Cameron, pieces made for a work in collaboration with Sean Macmillan, 2015. On display at BAM

The Bellevue Arts Museum is hosting an enormous group exhibition Making our Mark: Art by Pratt Teaching Artists, which went live at a grand party for the artists (and there’s a tonne of us) at the start of November. There are too many local legends to name; jewellers, wood-workers, painters, sculptors and of course the Northwest’s favourite, glass artists, so I’ll just mention me, and the very famous glass artist who happens to live across the street from me (!) Preston Singletary. We’re finally in a show together! One day I’ll work up the courage to tell him 😉

Also just opened is a show at form & concept center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, called Smitten Forum. So what is Smitten Forum, then?

Call it a mobile artist colony, a colorful social experiment or a crafty piece of performance art. Each year since 2014, Sara Brown and Marissa Saneholtz have invited a new group of pioneering jewelers and metalsmiths to work side-by-side in a communal studio for 7 days. The initiative is called Smitten Forum, and invitees range from emerging to well-established makers who employ a staggering array of mediums and techniques. This year’s participants are headed to Abiquiu, New Mexico in late December, but they’ll also leave their mark on the nearby art center of Santa Fe. The form & concept shop is pleased to present the Smitten Forum exhibition, which features wearable artwork from all of this year’s artists.

And now it is also an exhibition, with this year’s Smitten cohort exhibiting: Sarah Perkins, Melissa Cameron, Bryan Petersen, Cappy Counard, Cheryl Rydmark, Tanya Crane, Rebekah Frank, Anika Smulovitz, Don Friedlich, Laritza Garcia, Leslie LePere, Hannah Oatman, Marissa Saneholtz and Sara Brown

It opened on the 24th of November and finishes on the 6th of January. And Smitten Forum itself? Yes, this year I’ll close out my year hanging with that awesome crew, at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Yes, the Ghost Ranch that Georgia O’Keffee lived and worked at.

Tales in the making.

Monday – gun day

There are no guns to report today, which is to say, I have no leads on either of the weapons used against the next two victims on the Gun Violence Archive list.

The two men killed in separate incidents in San Francisco on January 1, 2017, were 21 year old Ernesto Rosales, and 35 year old Mitchell Smith.

I did find that “San Francisco police arrested a 37-year-old suspect,” Michael Peace in September on suspicion of killing Smith, but again there were scant details, including no motive, released. With few details about the circumstances of either shooting (although interestingly the location is always logged in news reports – 26th and Shotwell, or 3rd St and Oakdale Ave, respectively) there’s nothing on which to base further research.

In anticipation of this outcome, you’ll remember that I started by searching for a popular pistol as a substitute weapon for when I could find no leads on which to base drawings of the actual guns used in these crimes. So today we chalk up two for Sturm Ruger & Co.

Thanks to some uppity tech (computers, who needs ‘em… wait, clearly I do, at least for some things…!) I’m not able to bring you a drawing today, so I’ll save the reveal of the gun that will probably feature the most in this work (yes, all this research is for a jewellery work, coming to the US in mid-2018) for next time.

So until then I’ll owe you two of ‘em. One each for Mr Rosales, and Mr Smith.

A plethora

of exhibitions contain my work right now!

Social Unit, 2017

Beijing International Jewelry Exhibition 2017 has some of my enamel works, and it has a short run, from November 18-26, 2017 at Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology Park (BIFTPARK)

Itami International Jewellery Exhibition in Japan also began on November 18 and runs until December 24, 2017. I’m pleased to share that I was awarded one of the Judge’s Choice prizes for the Social Unit series (above) in this years Itami!

And finally, Bilk gallery has White Christmas, for which I made a few new goodies, like the ornament below, and some jewels to go along with them of course. Because who doesn’t want to match their decor this celebration season?

Wreath ornament, 2017

The resistance is growing

And so too is my line of jewellery, entitled Resist.

Resist Drop earrings, Resist neckpiece, ÿ neckpiece

The ÿ neckpiece is the latest addition to the series, and yes, it is the type of welded steel chain one might normally use to doubly secure one’s trailer to the hitch at the back of the car. I got it at my local hardware store (Shout out to 5 Corners Hardware – yes, not to be confused with the 5 Spot – a diner also in Queen Anne, or 5 Point Cafe, just down the road in Belltown. If you’ve not visited Seattle, and Queen Anne especially, the crosswalk motif is ‘at least 5 lanes of traffic, awkwardly conjoined’ and is somehow considered a whimsical feature. Shout out to Sydney, AU, I know you know this scene…) a year or so ago when contemplating chains for my piece for Boris Bally’s gun show Imagine. This length has thus been hanging on the door to my basement studio for long enough to leave semi-circular marks as the chain frequently arced across the door, tethered by a single nail.

I was gradually sandblasting every scrap of steel chain I could come up with in my studio, and one day I was sitting at my enamel bench when I realised there was one I hadn’t tried. Cut to 20 minutes later, after hand sawning a sacrificial link *twice* in order to separate it from the rest of the length (the chain is just too thick to try and bend to get away with one cut alone), I was hugging the sandblaster in my usual fashion. Because zinc is a neurotoxin at just about the same temperature that enamel fires, it pays to assiduously remove all traces of galvanisation. Once blasted, I painted on a pretty swatch of my favourite blue of the day, fired, and viola! I had a beautiful chain, that read ‘ÿ’ in binary, because, well, ÿ are we in this mess…?

And in case you’re new, ÿ binary, or even, ÿ blue?

In the Resist system of binary/ascii* communication, the 0’s and 1’s of binary code are switched from numbers to colors, gray and blue respectively. By individually enameling each part of a piece in the correct sequence, I encode words like ‘no’ onto earrings, or ‘resist’ onto pins and neckpieces.

So why blue? Because that color is the opposite of orange on the traditional color wheel.

‘no’ chain earrings

These little messages in jewellery form are each hand-made and hand-enamelled in stainless steel, with titanium rivets and ear hooks on the ‘Resist tile’ pieces. They are very reasonably priced, and in some sort of seasonal coincidence, all of my stores have just been resupplied! What [in]credible timing!

Please go check out these pretties ‘in the real’ in Australia at:

Bilk Gallery – Canberra
Studio 20/17 Project Space – Sydney
Bini Gallery – Melbourne

and in Seattle and surrounds at:

Bellevue Arts Museum Store
Danaca Design
Fancy

And if you’re around Seattle’s U district this coming Friday, Danaca Design is having its first ever Black Friday Jewelry Sale!

Tis the season to buy into the beautifully handmade resistance.

 

 

 

As ever, 5% the artist’s price from this series goes to Islamic Relief USA, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit humanitarian agency, whose work includes domestic and international development and relief projects.

*gotta put ASCII in there or I’ll have to face a nerd uprising

Monday – gun day

After narrowing down the field for gun #1 last week, today I moved on to the second shooting of 2017. Trevon Johnson, a 17 year old boy was killed when officers were called to a domestic dispute, in what the Gun Violence Archive calls a “Officer Involved Incident.” It’s pretty grim.

That sent me into a wormhole of the guns that Chicago Police are allowed to carry, which has all sorts of rules and caveats about date of hire of the officer, age and caliber of the gun, and so on. This could go forever, but given that the officer was a “DuPage County sheriff’s deputy” (Chicago Tribune) and a department veteran (Daily Tribune) I would assume that he acquired his gun before 2015 (but if he does have a new one, then he will have to have purchased something that fires a 9mm Luger [Parabellum] for which several prescribed pistols are also listed). Thanks to departmental streamlining, finding out the weapon of a newer recruit would be easier, given that the ammunition and weapons permitted drastically reduces the options.

For the Chicago Police Department (CPD) the transition from operating with a force with many guns to one using only 9mm rounds (the previous ruling allowed .40 caliber S&W, and .45 ACP caliber weapons), had begun well before this shooting (see that last Chicago Sun-Times article for the reasons behind the switch.) For that reason, I eventually decided that I would draw a pistol in line with their currently prescribed weapons. Part of my research includes an article that I don’t want to link to (yup, another top 10, this time about weapons used by US law enforcement) which proclaims in the CPD “New recruits must purchase a Glock 17 or Glock 19, which they may keep or switch after their probation.” I’m out of time (and more importantly, will) to prove that – and given it is an article from 2014 we know that policy has since changed – however, the gun at the top of the current list for the CPD is a Glock 17. Given the Glock’s reputation in law enforcement, it’s position on my old standby List of Most Produced Firearms as second highest produced pistol (there’s up to 10 million in circulation) and the weight of (perhaps slightly questionable) evidence, it does seem to be the weapon I’m looking for.

Glock 17

The other options? A Glock 19 (same as the 17 but more compact), a “Springfield Armory in 9mm, Smith & Wesson in 9mm or a Sig Sauer in 9mm.

I’m pretty sure they’ll get their day…

Tasting Tales from the Toolbox

Narrative Jewelry: Tales from the Toolbox has arrived!

I don’t know about y’all, but my eyes popped at the initial photos I saw of this book. Scale is a big thing with me, and a little part of me went “Eep, they’ve stuffed it.” when I saw the pics on the socials with editor Mark Fenn holding his advanced copy. Why? Because it is a mammoth book.

What can I say? I was just so wrong. Happily wrong (is that a thing?)

Mark and Schiffer have done a really beautiful job here, producing a book that I am really keen to sit down and read. There are so many artists and just soooo many works, packaged respectfully with each makers words, and laid out so carefully, all one book! I was so excited to turn the pages and see familiar ‘faces’ of artworks that I know and love, by artists who I respect, admire and of course also love.

Congratulations to Mark Fenn, to Jack Cunningham for his words, and to Dauvit Alexander (Mr Justified to those in the know,) on the beautiful cover, and to all of my friends in this one (all 241 of us!) We’ve done a good, and beautiful, thing. Please enjoy!

Monday – gun day

Colt 1911. Drawing by Melissa Cameron, 2017

Last week I decided that a Sturm & Ruger Co pistol was to be my default pistol in this project, and it will be; I’ve narrowed down that search to a couple of their pistols, and introductions will be coming soon. But you may have noticed that the drawing above is of a Colt…

I could not find a Ruger (for short, from now on), in their regular models (read: highest selling, still in production) that had a chrome finish. And there’s so little about the weapon that killed Quonterio Davis, except that it was a “chrome semi-automatic pistol”. So the search was back on.

I went back to my top-5 of top-5’s list of pistols from last week. Most of those guns came in black, black or black. In fact, among the advertised regular finishes for these weapons, only in the Colt M1911 did I see a chrome version. And because you want to know, I found the two biggest gun stores as listed by the Washington Post as the “U.S. gun dealers with the most firearms traced over the past four years.” (article is admittedly from 2010 but is partially explained in the opening paragraphs) and used weapons found within their wares for my research.

The Colt 1911 has a long and storied history that I’m not going to get into here, apart from to say that it is on Wikipedia’s list of Most Produced Fire Arms (of Self-Loading Pistols it’s at #3, with over 5 million made [including variants], and is the only one of those 3 that’s made in the US – though I don’t know if they were all made here), and that it was originally made for the US government/armed forces, so has a long and storied career in military and policing.

While this is probably not the weapon that killed Davis, it fits the description and is a common pistol in the USA. And the version above comes in a finish called hard chrome.

Monday – Gun Day

To pick up where I left off last Monday, I’d just mentioned that around 71% of all homicides in 2012 involved hand guns. My next self-assigned task is to find the most popular hand gun in the USA, which is a harder ask than what it might look on paper. I have found out that of hand guns, pistols are more popular than revolvers, at least nowadays (The last time the USA manufactured more revolvers than pistols is 1986). According to this, in 2015 the US made more than 3.5 million pistols, (and it made over 100,000 thousand more rifles than that), I can’t tell if these stats includes those destined for the military (I hit a paywall, one in which I may yet invest). I realise this is just manufacturing, and does not account for weapons exported, but this NBC report from 2012 says that as of 2009, the Congressional Research Service puts the numbers at “an estimated 310 million firearms in the United States (not including weapons on military bases), of which 114 million were handguns, 110 million were rifles, and 86 million were shotguns.”

Looking over The United State Department of Justice – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives publication Firearms Commerce in the United States: Statistical Annual Update 2015 (quoted above), it explicitly states that:

“The AFMER report excludes production for the U.S. military but includes firearms purchased by domestic law enforcement agencies”

According to their data, in recent years (I’m sticking as close to 2017 as I can) imports have well outstripped exports – 2013 imports of hand guns: 3,095,528, exports in same period: 188,889 (pistols: 167,653 + revolvers: 21,236).  And local manufacturing produced a combined total of 5,167,008 hand guns, the bulk of which (4,441,726) were pistols. So I think we can safely say that the 2015 figure above was not inclusive of military.

All of which proves what was intimated last week, the most popular US gun is a pistol. But what kind? No-one is handing out that data, unfortunately. When I searched I came up against a proliferation of less-than-adequate top ten lists; everyone with a vested interest, from gun store sites to news outlets (looking at you, CBS News) wants to give the curious reader a top 5, or 10, or 50. (I’m not going to run you, gentle reader, the risk of trashing your google mojo and ruining your online ad tracking data through one thoughtless click, so I’m not going to link those articles. I’ve done my utmost to protect myself, so I’ll let you know if I post anything even slightly questionable.)

Suffice to say, my top 5, culled from the #1 spot from six different most popular/best-selling gun lists, is:

01/ Kel-Tec PMR-30
01/ Colt M1911
01/ Smith & Wesson M&P Shield (this was a multiple #1 place-getter)
01/ Sturm, Ruger & Company
01/ Honor Guard 9mm

I’m sparing us all the images associated with these lists (often stills from movies; Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis are memorable repeat offenders) as well as a few other names that were repeated multiple times with similar placements in the lists.

The best list, in my own option, is the one I will finish with; a great Mother Jones top-10 which is safe for y’all to read. The subhead says it best:

“Meet the moguls making a killing from gun sales in the United States.”

Fully Loaded: Inside the Shadowy World of America’s 10 Biggest Gunmakers

Needless to say, their ten is a scorcher, and at #1 is a familiar name: Sturm Ruger. (That’s the Wikipedia link, and I recommend it over http://www.ruger-firearms.com/ any day.)

Now knowing that I simply don’t have the resources to find the biggest selling pistol of all time in the US (because, for better or worse, my search stops today. Hey, I know, surface barely scuffed, but this is just the first stage in building a collection of weapons on which to base an object work that will eventually be exhibited in a gallery, and I gots to move on…)  I’m going to work with a Sturm, Ruger & Company weapon as my default pistol, thanks to this research. This may or may not be the gun used in the homicides that I will now continue to focus on, but since Ruger is based in the US, makes the most amount of hand guns domestically in a year, is on my list of all lists in taking the biggest share of gun sales, and makes the bulk of its profit from hand guns (see the Mother Jones article quoted above for most of this detail) and since Ruger features in Wikipedia’s list of Most Produced Firearms with pistols, revolvers and rifles, I think they’re as good a candidate as any.

Now to decide which model.

 

// coda //

 

Oh shit.

 

Just reading the Sturm, Ruger & Co. Wikipedia link from above, and I see I need a second trigger warning.

“A Ruger AR-556 was used on November 5, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas in the mass killing of 26 churchgoers who were praying at the First Baptist Church”