Nancy’s Sewing Basket is closing

This is my favourite room in all of Seattle:

I’ve written about this place before, because I love it, and it’s chief inhabitant (at least in the hours that I visit), the dedicated 77 year old ribbon mistress Susan Pasco.

But now it’s closing. I’ve been in three times since I got the email, and no doubt I’ll sneak in one more time before it closes. In one of my missions I bought a yard of wool binding that I promptly used on a Halloween jewel (see instagram). On finishing that piece I quick-marched back up there to get some more. On the second trip I got 3 yards, then Susan, having remarked on liking the colour both times she measured it out for me, said she was “Going to deep six the rest of this.” and piled it behind her, then shuffled papers over it. I look forward to what she makes out of it – more likely a suit than jewellery.

Anyway, the ribbon room does not look like that photo (from 2015) any longer,  it’s been well depleted already, but if you do want to stock up on vintage grosgrain, this might be your last chance.

Goodbye, dear friend.

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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.

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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!

social unit

social unit*
2017

stainless steel, vitreous enamel, titanium

Introducing the ‘social unit’ pieces \/|- . Once again the binary sequence (rendered using enamel in different skin tones) in each neckpiece spells out the same two words, ‘social unit’. The unfurled pieces (in the image social unit *) give little hint to their original format.

These works will be on show at Facèré Jewelry Art in the exhibition Drawing the Line which opens on the 3rd of May in downtown Seattle. Come to the opening lecture from 4pm to hear me talk about these and their friends, the Body/Politic  and Drone works.

5 years

Australia and the USA from the Coat Hanger series, 2012. Recycled steel, steel, vitreous enamel.

St Patrick’s day; the middle day of 3 straight days of anniversaries, for me. From the image above I think it’s easy enough to guess what happened to me on the 17th of March 2012. My life, my work, everything changed. But, one can say that about every day that we get to share on this planet. For me, this last 5 years has been full of days like these.

Radical Jewelry Makeover

The work made for our friends over at RJM is on tour again, and right now it’s stopped in New Mexico:
Radical Jewelry Makeover Artist Project
Through February 19
form & concept
There’s a great write up at the Santa Fe Arts Journal, as well as a short and informative artist talk given by Jenn Carroll Wilson, one of the exhibition artists, over at form and concept’s website.

IMAGINE Peace Now

It feels as though it’s getting harder to imagine every day, but if you’re keen for a refresher on what’s at stake if we can’t find a way to work together, the IMAGINE show is a great start. And it’s not all doom and gloom, there’s a dark sense of humour driving several of these works. If you’re in the area please head to the newly relocated Society of Arts and Crafts at 100 Pier 4 Boulevarde, Suite 100, in Boston from 6-9pm on Thursday the 23rd of February for the opening.

This is the second stop for this exhibition, which is running for quite a time, so you have until June to see a sobering collection of metal art made from decommissioned weapons seized by the Pittsburgh Police Department. If you can’t get along, there is a pretty amazing catalogue in the works which I’m sure will be available in Boston, and I’ll post the details of where you can source it from elsewhere very soon.

in the spirit of repair…

19C Caltrop, 2015. Part of the Escalation Series.

A spot of promo for Metalsmith:

2017 Curated “Exhibition in Print” – Call for Related Work
Repair and Renewal: Making Things Whole Again
Guest Curator, Stuart Kestenbaum
Deadline: January 15

  

Besides prolonging the life of an object, repair also speaks to our yearning to make things right again, to make things whole. Repairing is more than fixing–it’s a metaphorical way to look at the role of makers. When we repair things, are we also fixing ourselves?  Can giving renewed life to objects and materials-perhaps ones that have had other functions-renew us as well?  How does the world look when we say that what is broken can be made whole again, using ingenuity and imagination?

For the 2017 “Exhibition in Print” Repair and Renewal: Making Things Whole Again, curator Stuart Kestenbaum is seeking work that addresses these questions.  While the work does not need to have been repaired, it should have the spirit of repair, and be fueled by a desire to extend an object’s value and usefulness.

Deadline is this Sunday, January 15, 2017.

Ever made something that fits this description? Then perhaps you might share it with us – it’s really simple – email some photos/links to the email address listed in the post.

Happy New Year!

jewels  jewellist

My last jewellery works for 2016 were very… striking?

There’s a few things already on the agenda for 2017, so here, in an attempt at chronological order:

  • In March I’m headed to Munich for Jewellery Week, as I got into Schmuck with The Drone work! (Full listing of participants on Klimt02) Let me know if you’re heading over so I can look out for you, eh? (Unless you already have, and tbh, you probably did…)
  • The Shared Concerns exhibition hits Bilk in Canberra in April/May
  • I’m in an exhibition called Drawing the Line at Facèré here in Seattle, also starting in April.
  • I’m curating an exhibition for the Enamelist Society conference at Arrowmont this year. Emerging enamelists beware, I’ll be getting on contact with a tight deadline very, very soon.
  • I have preliminary plans to hit Radiant Pavilion in August/September in Melbourne, where I’m hoping to bring some United States of America-ns to town with me. We’ll be opening/showing Shared Concerns at Bini.

I hope you all had joyful solstice and New Year celebrations too 😉