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

I want to know what guns were used in the first 59 killings of 2017, but I’m not sure if that information is going to be available. I checked the incident material on the Gun Violence Archive source list that gives the name and location of the victims, as well as links to police and new reports for each killing. Quonterio Davis, a Jefferson, Missouri resident, is the first person on my narrowed-down January 1, 2017 list (from last week’s post). The suspected killer is also named, but the weapon he used was not. A bit more digging found that Davis was shot with what a witness called a “chrome semi-automatic pistol”. I have not found a more detailed description, and I think that might involve having to find court documents.

In this research I think I’m likely to find that pretty common –  getting knowledge of the weapon or the rounds is maybe a bit more intel than people want to know. Then again, I may yet be surprised.

One thing that did not surprise was that the crime involved a hand gun. Wikipedia: “According to the FBI, in 2012, there were 8,897 total firearm-related homicides in the US, with 6,404 of those attributed to handguns.” Contributor Aude has even created a chart to visualise this:

By Aude – Self-published work by Aude, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1367669

An initial attempt at trying to find out the most popular handgun in the U.S. (at this stage, it looks like it’ll be a pistol,) to use as a proxy for a series of ‘unidentifiable pistol’ works, indicates that it could be another entire research project. Luckily, I found another great data source this week to add to the heavy-hitting Gun Archive. It’s called Statista: The Statistics Portal has Firearms in the U.S. – statistics and facts.

Ring Master

No, not me, I’ve made maybe a dozen rings in my career – but at least four of them will be on show at Bilk Gallery for the opening of Ring Master tonight! This group show of rings by makers from all over the world is a part of the Design Canberra Festival. To get into some jewels designed in AutoCad and handmade by me (with some laser cutting involved, though not in the little number above mind, it was hand-sawn all the way) you’d better get in quick 😉

Did I mention the show is on til Christmas eve? Timing!

Save

Ring Master – opening next Friday, Oct 27th

Ring Master, an exhibition exploring the notion and designs of the humble (and not so humble) ring. Featuring rings by; Helen Britton, Julia deVille, Johannes Kuhnen, Helen Aitken-Kuhnen, Carlier Makigawa, Godwin Baum, Julie Blyfield,  Melissa Cameron, Cinnamon Lee, Chris Robertson, Sean O’Connell, Jane Bowden, Bin Dixon-Ward, Philip Noakes, Vincent Pontillo-Verrastro, Mikki Trail, Sam Mertens and Mio Kuhnen (and many more).

This year Bilk Gallery is pleased to be part of Design Canberra Festival 2017 with Ring Master, an exhibition exploring the notion and designs of the humble (and not so humble) ring.

Monday – gun day

In a not-so-happy coincidence, on the same day that many of us found out about the latest mass killing in the USA, I received the cheque for the sale of my Gun work to the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

So here’s a little about work, for which I began the research in December 2012, and finally finished the last part of about a year later, in early 2014.

Gun (2013/2014) consists of:
154 @ 30 rpm – scale 1:4
60m
(scale 1:4)
AR-15 (bandolier)

The work Gun (a suite of three wearable pieces) is from the Escalation series. The works in Escalation are each made from domestic objects, taken out of their usual context and transformed into loaded jewels. Together the complete series reflects thousands of years of human history, the history we have of making weapons of war. The works (there is at least two wearable items for each ‘piece’) are loosely grouped into branches, based on the proximity to which the assailant would have to have to the victim (and vice versa) when used, which makes the whole Escalation project into a kind of family tree of tools for killing.

The Gun work is the Sword’s companion on one branch, as I see the gun as the successor to the sword in close combat situations. Rifles were the earliest effective firearms, so it was not a huge leap to use the Bushmaster XM15-E2S as my gun archetype. Sold as a hunting rifle in the USA, it is “a variant of the AR-15 first built by ArmaLite,”[i] “as an assault rifle for the United States armed forces.” (also known as the M16)[ii]. This Bushmaster is the weapon that was used for the Newtown massacre in 2012. If you see the whole series together, it becomes more obvious that this piece is the only one in my Escalation series that does not focus the wartime outcomes of a particular weapon. In making this exception, I wanted to make the point that these military grade weapons are available far too easily to the citizens of the US, and thus are in the homes and lives of ordinary people, which results in the premature deaths of this country’s most vulnerable citizens.

I made this piece from a strangely long and slightly medical-looking tray I bought new, at Daiso. I gave it 30 full-sized NATO shells (I chose there to depict the military round rather than the hunting round made by Remington), as 30 is the magazine’s capacity. I made 77 holes in the tray in the unfired bullet diameter, and strung the 77 cutouts on steel cable, which together add up to the 154 bullets expended within the school. The gun is made at 1:4 scale, making it very obvious to wear and more realistic than the miniature gun bling that is occasionally in fashion. The neckpiece with the 77 cutouts is 15m/40′ long, to represent, again at 1:4 scale (full scale being at least 60m/197′) the minimum distance that the shooter would have traversed inside of the school. I read the police report and literally plotted the shooter’s movements onto a floor plan of the school that I found online, to calculate the approximate length.

Finally, in all the pictures that accompany this series, I am wearing the works. They are photos I took of myself, by myself, and when these works are shown, they were a part of the display. It is important that the works, and the troubling histories that they represent, are on me. Like they are on all of humanity. And I for one am not at all happy about it.

[i] ‘AR-15’. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 26 April 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=AR-15&oldid=551188045.

[ii] Ibid.

Save

Speaking Out Exhibition – opens Wednesday

Speaking Out: Art & Politics in Words
September 27, 2017 – November 10, 2017
Openings: 1-3pm and 5-7pm on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Speaking Out highlights artists who use words as the basis of their work, creating pieces that inspire discussion around topics of political and social justice. What are the words necessary to start the discussion or argument, to pull people together or apart? How can language be used to share, to trivialize or to provoke? Can a word help you to see what it is like in the shoes of another? And how can a word of indifference end a discussion? We hope that you will see the work in the gallery as a starting place for conversation around topics that are highlighted in current events and contemporary activism.

Participating Artists:
Antonius Bui
Melissa Cameron
Satpreet Kahlon
Deborah Faye Lawrence
Holly Martz
Hanako O’Leary
Spooky Boobs Collective
Chris Walla
Matthew Whitney

Please come meet us at the second opening on Wednesday!

1 book and 3 deadlines

I’ve got to sell you this book that’s launching very soon:

like everyone – I’m in it!!

Narrative Jewelry: tales from the toolbox, edited by Mark Fenn, is now available for pre-order via www.narrative-jewellery.com and www.markfenn.co.uk  or via the usual.

And since I’m here (and only if you’re really, really quick – two expire in a matter of hours), let me sell you on entering these 3 things:

Craft Forms 2017

Snag Jams 2017

and one for the 18th – China time:

Beijing International Jewelry Art Exhibition – a biennial

Enamel workshop and talk – next week

HEAT II in stainless steel, vitreous enamel and titanium, 2016. Image of the wall work and brooch, as installed at Arrowmont.

There’s a day or so left to register for my upcoming workshop in Oakland next week:

Enameling Recycled Steel for Jewelry and Objects – a workshop with Melissa Cameron

I will be sticking around in Oakland to attend day one of a weekend of large scale enameling at KVO Industries on the 9th, which is super-exciting. Knowing that I have plans to make some more panel-based works in the next year or so for a show in the UK, I’m looking to up my large-format game, and since Judy Stone at the Center for Enamel Art – all-round champion of enamel and artists – suggested I do it, how could I refuse? Not that my moderate-panel game appears to be too shabby, as I recently won a prize for Wall Works (for the above) in the Enamelist Society Alchemy 4 Juried Exhibition!

I’ll also be giving a free public lecture next Wednesday night at California College of the Arts:

“From a tamper-proof fence to Body Politic – my enamel journey so far” 7:30pm, Nahl Hall, Oakland Campus, 5212 Broadway (map)

Looking forward to spending time in the heat after just finishing up my Aussie shenanigans of the past few weeks. Northern Summer, come at me!

In Conversation | 29-8-2017

Fuse-Sun Sun Storm neckpiece / Renovation - Caitie Sellers. Jewellery work in stainless steel and vitreous enamel by Melissa Cameron / Argentium silver/copper by Caitie Sellers

It’s very late notice, but Caitie Sellers (USA) and I will be in conversation at our group show, Shared Concerns, at Bini Gallery in Collingwood from 3-4pm tomorrow afternoon. Please come along!