Excellent presentations today, a really solid line-up. This morning seems so long ago already! (Though I guess it’s technically now yesterday.) Oron Catts got lots of questions and feedback (in equal parts awed, amazed and mildly disgusted) for his work growing little objects with live tissue.

Maureen Faye-Chauhan’s talk was informative and insightful – you can share a studio yet still have much to learn about someone’s work, and processes. I really appreciated the clarity of her slides – her drawings and the explanatory drawings on photos of patterns were a great expository tool, and she had great photos too. (And along with her own beautiful works was a cameo of  a couple of Melissa Cameron pieces – I knew some images were coming but was still surprised.)

I also really enjoyed Dr Eugenie Keefer-Bell’s presentation on goldsmith-artist-sculptor Albert Paley. I’m going to have to study this man, and read more of Eugenie’s work too.

I managed to find enough voice to make my presentation and answer questions, and with the calibre of the responses and the general feedback, I think I can safely judge my first paper a success! (For those interested, post pin-swap party I am once again seeking voice…)

Lastly, I will have my bibliography and image references up at my main site as promised, very soon.


lost; one voice. went wandering late this afternoon, and was last seen hovering around the CIT complex in Perth. If found, please tell it to go home, its owner is anxious for its safe return. Preferably by 2:15pm WST tomorrow… The opening was  massive night, we can hardly hope to count the numbers. Sales were good, and the popularity of our venue was such that we had to boot out about 30 people at closing.

My sincerest thanks to my co-conspirators, who surprised me with a gift at the end of the night, and to Justine for her excellent work on plinths (including some stellar project management). And Bruce, who kept his hand on the tiller all night, ensuring safe passage for all, especially me. No, go to bed, the lot of you! We start again at 9am sharp!

PS – If in WA, check out the Seven Days magazine in the paper, p6. The best publicity is free!

… space

This is an image taken today of the Showcase Gallery, at the CIT, Northbridge. (WA, y’all) Next door is an even larger gallery being used for the massive Graduate Metal XII show, that was also in the process of being mounted today. When I say also, the plinths finished and the wall boards prepped is as far as I got today in our space. This is the calm before the storm. Tomorrow, it pours jewels!

t – 1 week and counting

There’s plenty of action round these parts at the moment. And all to do with one thing. I’m putting on a show! Of course you’re all invited, so long as you can get to Perth some time in the next month… If not, maybe you can live vicariously. I’ll try my best to keep y’all updated on the shenanigans of the show, and hopefully the conference too. But if I fail, please don’t judge me. Like they say on the Iron Chef, “I will do my best!”

Mr Daniels – part one of a long story…

On doing some thinking on the chief question posed by Helen Britton in her recent “where do I come from?”  workshop, I had cause to ponder how I got here.  And while pondering, I got to writing the story down. It’s a long yarn, so this is just part one.

As I mentioned a while back,  my high school taught jewellery, well, at least when I was there. Classes were held in a special purpose demountable classroom, that was hinged off the back of the other ‘manual arts’ buildings.  The classes were mostly populated by girls who liked the idea of jewellery as a title for a course, and boys who wanted to add another period of bumming around in the manual arts areas – close enough to woodwork and metalwork to still be ‘not a real subject’.

I had decided at about age 11 or 12 that I wanted to be an architect, so I naturally decided that my compulsory manual arts course in first year of high school would be woodwork. (You had to choose out of woodwork or metalwork since plastics, mechanics and jewellery were optional extras.) I liked and enjoyed art (which was also compulsory in year 8 ) and I added in Technical Drawing owing to my future as an architect, but I threw in jewellery in second semester because I liked jewellery, and I liked working with my hands.

I enjoyed it a lot, so I kept it up. Not many people did. But you couldn’t do the subject every semester; in each of the junior  grades they only ran it once a year, and they only offered it til year 10.

When I reached year 10 I was told that I could no longer participate, as I had done the two units they offered; if I continued I would be repeating the class from the year before. I told my family, and my Dad and I scheduled a meeting with the deputy principal, Mr Daniels. We asked a simple question, why not let me continue? We were told that he couldn’t add a class just for me. The scheduling was fine, (in later years I had to quit TEE classes when they shifted timetables on me) but repeating the course wasn’t allowed. My Dad went one further, and asked “well, what if she wants to become a jeweller?” We were effectively told that the Deputy’s hands were tied. The meeting ended

And now, a brief interlude in the story to contextualise. It’s pretty safe to say that in high school (and arguably, to this day) I was a nerd. In high school that meant that I achieved very good grades. I was never picked on for this, or anything else (aside from some brief notoriety when I was gifted with a baby brother at age 13.75.) As a general rule I was a fairly invisible student.

Later that day there was a general assembly in the gym, with the whole school. Towards the end Mr Daniels spoke, and concluded with “…and can Melissa Cameron please come and see me after this assembly.” This request filled the space that he usually reserved for summoning those he wanted to see to be disciplined for their behaviour during the assembly. My nearby friends looked toward me with question marks on their faces. I shrugged; I didn’t know either.

I met Mr Daniels outside the gym, on the verandah. He informed me that had changed the rule, and was allowing me to have my own jewellery class. In it I pretty much got to set my own agenda, but being the dutiful student that I was, I set about a semester long project, making something that I thought would be both challenging and special. I scoff at the set now, but I remember being very proud of it when I finished it.

There’s more to this story, but this ‘where did I come from?’ is in three parts, so I’ll tell part two another time.

not quite a teaspoon…

This work is called ‘measuring the space between’. It’s a collaboration between myself and Chloe Vallance. Chloe is a good friend and fellow artist, who describes her practice as fine artist/painter/drawer. She’s a regular at the Craft Hatch markets, so her work may be familiar if you have been to one of them. Like the other spoons, this piece is going into the upcoming Hand Held show, and in fact Chloe had her own show at Hand Held in January.

We’ve been seeking an excuse to work together for a while. Chloe began separating out the figure from its context in her works last year, and I remember at the time thinking that the idea was ripe for interpretation as jewellery. Especially since our material aesthetic seems to overlap; in her case small works on timber offcuts and recycled board stand edge to edge with larger new panels and tessellated images on squares of watercolour paper. My piercing practice is summed up by  “I’ll attempt to drag a blade through any material”, so the plan to work on small wooden objects was born.

Look out for some more shared works in the future.


So, who noticed the deliberate* mistake in the plans? Well if you did, write to me to claim your prize!

After adhering print-outs of the plans to the spoons, I cut out spoon one (as laid out pre-assembly above, with spoon two similarly arranged below it) and then drilled and began to cut into spoon two. And in the second round of saw-peircing, I noticed that the circuit that I was seperating from the main body of the spoon had no holes marked on the drawing, and therefore no holes drilled through the piece. By then it should have had both. So I got out the old texta, marked eight appropriate spots, and went back to the drill press.

*deliberate = complete, absent-minded omission

1 tsp

Exhibit A –  a teaspoon.

Hand Held Gallery is having a show in April called ‘one cup’. It takes 48 teaspoons to make up a cup, says Megan at the gallery (I’m sure it’s true, Megan doesn’t seem the type to make up such a fact, or any fact, in fact). I am currently working on a pair of them, and they both started out looking like this.