Vote for more IMAGINE Peace Now

Boris Bally must not sleep.

Do you like what we are doing with the I.M.A.G.I.N.E. Peace Now exhibition?  If so, we could really use your help.

This national competition opens for voting today and is a chance for us to support the exhibition’s travel to Southern Indiana and Southern Kentucky and to include vital community programming aimed at the gun violence epidemic in this region.

Vote here. Vote often

(you can vote daily til May 12 – that’s the 13th of May in Aus!)

My work from the exhibition will (hopefully!) be heading along with the touring show, so if you are in Indiana or Kentucky and you want to see it, please vote 😉 And for those of you who will vote but won’t get to the US, here’s a video I made of the making process:

#PlateGlassExhibition

works by Danielle Embry, Sharon Massey, Kat Cole, Nicolette Absil and Laura Eales

The adequately-oiled machine that is my studio practice has had some time out from being even that reliable of late (for many reasons, a great one being fixing the moisture problem that normally creates a less-than ornamental pond in my studio over the winter months,) so right now I’m busy finishing works and preparing images for two upcoming exhibitions that begin in early May – from the 3rd there’s a group show called Drawing the Line at Facere Art Jewelry in downtown Seattle and then opening on the 4th there’s Seattle Metals Guild and the Wawona –  at Northwind Arts Center in Port Townsend.

It’s too early for image spoilers on those (as in, I’ve not taken them yet..!), but if you are keen to get a fix of new works, check out the hashtag #PlateGlassExhibition on Instagram, for a bunch of new works in development by the 29 invited artists of the Plate Glass exhibition. This is the one that I’m curating for the Enamellist Society and will be shown during their biennial conference, this year in Gatlinburg, Tennessee at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in August, from the 2nd – 9th.

Several of the artists are new to the format of the plate, though needless to say I think they’re all doing an amazing job, and I truly cannot wait to reveal every single one of them to y’all in August. Until then we’re all lucky to have these images to marvel at and ponder over.

BAM Biennial – last days

If you’re keen but haven’t yet made it out to see the Bellevue Arts Museum Biennial Metalmorphosis exhibition, the hourglass is telling me that there’s very few grains of sand left in the top bulb, so you’d better get along. The last day is Sunday the 5th of February. To tempt you – this is a short video of my work My House – Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box in progress.

Yup, that’s me, breaking a saw blade. The abrupt ending (to the video) is a good analogue of how I felt every time I broke one, and it happened a lot that day…

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.

IMAGINE – already open!

Resilience 'before', by Melissa Cameron. 2016
Resilience ‘before’. Melissa Cameron. 2016

I have it from a reliable source in North Carolina that this exhibition is already open. If you’re in the area, or want to get along to the official opening, get to it! Suffice to say, as one of the 94 participants, I am completely without bias when I tell you that it’s another bloody ripper of a show.

I.M.A.G.I.N.E. PEACE NOW Opens in Greenville

The Innovative Merger of Art & Guns to Inspire New Expressions, or I.M.A.G.I.N.E. PEACE NOW exhibition, includes 94 pieces of art, created by artists from 6 countries around the world, responding to the gun violence that is prevalent in American culture today. Participating artists received a dismantled pistol collected from the Pittsburgh buyback program, where the weapons were rendered inoperable, in order to transform them into (un)loaded objects of art.

The show opens at Wellington B. Gray Gallery, East Carolina University in Greenville, NC on November 21st and runs through January 16, 2017. Closing reception coincides with ECU Materials Topics symposium. The exhibition then travels to Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.

Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box

Image of Tanya Lippe's Lunch Box - pre transformation
Image of Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box – pre transformation

In answer to a reader question; yes, the material that makes the work My House – Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box is all from Tanya’s old lunch box, barring the stainless steel rivets, c-shaped connections, chain (handmade and otherwise) and cable that joins the altered parts together.

In fact there’s actually a few parts missing. The plastic handle and chrome fittings are not part of the design, and there is a series of five small pins (about 27 x 4mm each) that are not part of the installation. One of these I have kept (not a habit of mine, but these were particularly meaningful to me, in a piece that became surprisingly personal over the course of the design and making), and four were given to Micki before the piece was installed.

What you can’t see in this image is the hinge pin that was removed, the handle tethers, and an internal feature meant to hold a thermos flask in place in the top section of the box (it was roughly the shape of the stylized ‘V’ on the front.) All this was wire, in approximately 1.5 – 2mm diameter steel, which was cut up, drilled into, enameled and re-joined to make the chain that holds the big ‘snowflake’ section in the centre.

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

My House – Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box

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

Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box

Micki Lippe gave me the lunch box that used to belong to her daughter. She also gave me a book of poetry written by Tanya, published posthumously. Together they formed a commission; use one to make the other into something, which at least would get the old black relic out of the basement.

As an implement, a lunch box suggests forward planning, nourishment, and the day-to-day banality of life. But without its rightful owner? As an inheritance, the container became a reliquary. Though less tangible, the poems are a more instructive fragment of her life. They reference her – her feelings, her body. Yet her eyes never saw nor skin touch the bound object.

The box’s meaning again shifted when transferred into my hands, radically. Through reinterpretation it is now literally intertwined with the poetry of Tanya’s life, its former narrative burden becoming the liberator of its form.

 

This work is currently installed at the Bellevue Arts Museum as a part of BAM Biennial 2016: Metalmorphosis.

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 single hang of the exhibition thus far (Maria Phillips’ hang was still in progress – I think she’s now officially the longest BAM hang of all time!) … 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

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

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?