Garland Magazine

I wrote a piece Katie Miller – Seattle Lightscapes for Garland’s current issue Turtle Island – North America. Writing about there – Katie is in Seattle, my former home, from here, Perth, my past and now current home – meant I had to rely on memory more than current lived/living experience.

I’ve spent the last 15 months living between. I’m starting to get out of that now; one thought, one gesture, one project at a time. Luckily for me deconstructing and transposing across an ocean (or two) means eventual reconstruction. Travel delivers one complete, not showing the particle dis-articulation that happened nor the reassembly. I was restored in the image of what went before, once I reached the other side.

Like all strip-down and put-back-together exercises, there are leftover parts to think about once you’re done. What do you do – do you store the parts that don’t have a place here? Might they come in handy again, or do you just let them go? And where do you reattach the pieces that you haven’t needed in a while because you didn’t need them over there? Will they find their level and glom on where and when they’re required? Or are they being clumsily reassembled in wait of necessity, not quite in the right place, not really at the best angle. Do I even need them, really? Does this look right? Am I doing ok, do I look awkward?

I pass for the never-left. That’s okay, that’s the blessing and burden of this body. It was similar in Seattle and surrounds, until I opened my mouth and the wrong substance came out. No such jeopardy here. Even if I am wrong, (and we are all wrong, the sheer number of us allows us to pass for right) I get to get away with it.

Safely within the colony I’m just another slightly paler version of the usual number. Unless you ask the right thing, and the wrong brain comes out. But I guess the point of this piece is to say that that is subsiding.

I hope to be able to continue to conjure it. To upload the source data and regenerate, or remember, the feelings. Not to live in the past, but to reach back to continue to learn from it.


I find the outside perspective invaluable. Especially in making art.

2019 – 2 shows that were

I’m clearing out he inbox during the quiet season and I’ve found a few images of my works on display that I thought I’d share. First up, MasterMakers. (links today are to my earlier posts)

MasterMakers exhibition ©RMIT Gallery. Photo: Mark Ashkanasy
my works are a pair just south-east of the midpoint of this great photo. ©RMIT Gallery. Photo: Mark Ashkanasy

What can I say – I wish I saw this one. The photos are amazing. It got a write-up in Art Month Australasia. Look out for it touring in 2020.

Purpose Process Paper

This one was a part of SNAG in Chicago. Another one I really wanted to see. Big thanks to Kiff Slemmons and Cat Bowyer for the images, and for sending me the prints you made.

Installation image – Kiff Slemmons studio
The ‘paperwork’ for 1.1.2017 as printed and installed.

I was really proud to be invited to take part in these two shows. Thanks to all involved in mounting and documenting them both. I can’t travel as much as my work does, (though sometimes it seems like I’m trying to give it a go,) so I’m very glad my little emissaries get to be there for me.

Climate fires

Sign in North Perth

As the only Australian in the room at a few international gatherings, especially while I lived in the USA, I’ve become the personal link for the catastrophic climate events happening in my country.

North Perth is fine. We have stayed clear of fire, and of smoke, aside from a brief patch last week when the Baldivis fire blew a little bit of smoke our way. Thanks to an incredibly responsive fire department, the little flares about the place have not become big incidents. Of course this lengthened and horrific season is far from over, but so far for most of us in Perth the extreme heat has been a nuisance, not a hazard, and certainly not a trauma.

I have friends coping with the complete opposite, with the wrench of having to decide if and when to leave, and with or without what. And then coming home and having to repeat it over, and over.

It’s something that I remember having conversations about with my Nan. She watched her husband head out from their property in Piesse Brook in long pants and a shirt with a wool blanket to throw against the flames. She removed her washing from the line to pack a bag while she saw the fire fall down the opposite wall of the valley in which they lived. She overlooked an orchard with a creek. These neighbours became all that lay between her house and the fire. Miraculously the flames ceased their crawl towards them all on their descent into the valley.

This kind of brush with bushfire is not something you forget – it forges an impression so deep that it lives on in your grandchildren.

I hope my friends – and their friends – in these affected places are ok, but I know it’s a vain hope. I want the forests, the animals, the land to all be ok. They are not. I want the planet fixed so this doesn’t happen again. So we can go back to fires that crawl and can be stopped.

Year wrap up + farewells

Contain neckpiece – available to hire or buy from Bridget Kennedy Project Space, North Sydney

Bye bye Bilk : (

If you’re an industry person in Australia you’ve probably already heard that Bilk Gallery is not renewing its lease next February. I’ve been with them since 2010 and they are the gallery which hosted my two recent solo exhibitions Body Politic in 2016 and Marfa, TX in 2019. Needless to say they have a sprawling collection of my work, so if you are in or near Canberra I encourage you to check them out for all your last-minute gift-giving! While you’re there I’d encourage you to get on the mailing list to attend the Carlier Makigawa opening in January, I know it will be an epic celebration.

Moodjar – Nuytsia Floribunda earrings at Bilk. Stainless steel, vitreous enamel. Real big ones!

Less is more

I don’t think I really mentioned it here, but I stopped making production line pieces when I moved back to Australia last year. I’m focussing on exhibition works with the occasional limited series. My galleries have returned a bunch of production works however, so if there was something in the Resist or Body Politic lines that you never got while they were in store please do get in touch, I might be holding the last of what you seek.

Ciao for now… Bini!

It also means that I will say farewell to having permanent stock at Bini in Collingwood, but I hope to tour some shows there in future. My plan for the new year is research, alongside coordinating and making works for the Connexions exhibition.

Connexions exhibition??

Why yes! Connexions is an exhibition conceived and created by Blandine Hallé and I, which will include ourselves along with Emily Beckley, Fatemeh Boroujeni, Eden Lennox, Sultana Shamshi and Maryann Talia Pau. It will show in Paris for the Parcours Bijoux triennial jewellery festival next year, and the following year will be presented in Perth for the Indian Ocean Craft Triennial.

Xmas shopping!

Future projects are on the up, but for the current moment you can also find a collection at Bridget Kennedy Project Space in North Sydney (top pic and below are both from this collection.) It’s from my limited series of last year entitled Contain and is handmade from shipping container steel that I cut from a segment I bought in Tacoma at a container renovator. They make old shipping containers into things like site offices and storage space. And sometimes their parts happen to become jewellery ; )

Contain pins at Bridget Kennedy Project Space in North Sydney. Little + large; steel, vitreous enamel

Happy end-of-year and solstice celebrations y’all, hope you get some time out to chill at this frenzied year’s end.

Apology and correction

Along with images of my Moodjar (nuytsia floribunda) small series of works on November 19 I published a story that was not my knowledge to share.

A friend and colleague pointed out to me last week that it did not belong to me or my people. I thanked her then, and again now, for correcting me.

On ending our conversation I rewrote the words that accompany the series and sent them to my gallery with apologies, and changed my social media posts and my blog post that contained the material. My gallery has also kindly updated their social media that referenced my original writing.

I am deeply ashamed.

I apologise to any people offended by the original post. I apologise to the Noongar peoples whose story I appropriated, and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I am so very sorry. It won’t happen again.

The work itself was designed from photographs and was completed before I read and appended the Noongar history of the plant to my narrative. In my excitement to share this knowledge I forgot my place, and I regret it deeply.



The Big Dry

We’re in it, here in Perth, though today I’m ready to rename it ‘the big hayfever’. The UV index says extreme, so it’s sunny all right, (though thankfully we’re back down to 20’s from the 40’s of last week) but the air – or more specifically the pollen and other particles in it – are really what’s doing my head in.

I have such empathy for the parts of this country who are smoke-haze clouded today, I know it could be seriously worse out there because it is in many places right now. I hope it’s ok where you are.

Bilk Gallery, 23 November – 24 December 2019

12 Palmerston Lane, Manuka, ACT 2603   Phone +61 (0) 2 61622761  

Hours Wed-Fri 11-5  Sat 11-4

I love working with Bilk and I think it has an effect on the works I make for them. They are an inspiring and inspired bunch, as evidenced by their recent Canberra Critics Circle win for their exhibition Transfer.

moodjar pin

A preview of a seasonal collection made for @bilkgallery And a reminder to WA folx that the JMGA-WA party is at my place on Friday night! Come celebrate moodjar season with us 🧡

Growing up I remember having a flowering plant pointed out to me as the ‘WA Christmas Tree’. It’s local to Southwest Australia, has the Indigenous name moodjar and was given the coloniser species title nuytsia floribunda. Early in the colony it was also known as the ‘fire-tree’, thanks to its bright orange colouring.

It flowers from October to February, a time that incorporates our Christmas period, thus its English name. When I was a kid it was was explained to me that it lives off other trees – the technical term is hemiparasitic. It’s very versatile in that can live off of many different species, but despite that it’s actually hard to cultivate. It was once widely seen around the coastal plain of Perth but its habitat has since been heavily cleared. I know of a few big patches of them that still hug the line of the Perth hills, which I smile at each time I see them. (1)


the festive is almost upon us

In honour of present-fest 2019 I have made some new jewellery AND I have sent over to the other side of the country some jewellery I made last year that had not been exhibited in Australia before. So industrious!

1/ Bridget Kennedy Project Space

Let me start with the second part first – Bridget Kennedy has come to the conclusion that for the experience-based and consume-less economy there should be an Art-Jewellery bank. Thus the work below – looking fiiiine on a sister of mine – is available at three, yes 3, price points from her gallery this season. A one-week rental, a 4-week rental, and an own-outright price. And if you rent and decide you can’t part with it, the price you have already paid will count against what’s left. Genius!

This is a very short summary of course, and Bridget explains the bigger philosophy around her grand idea here. And you should know that the artists’ ‘bankable’ pieces are supported by other matching works. If this neckpiece is on the large size for you there’s matching pins, earrings and pendants that will also be on display, all for immediate sale.

what she thinking? Bridget, what a great idea!

The opening for Bridget’s of year celebrations Little Forest by Anna Vlahos (another Perth girl out in the world and a personal fave of mine) and The Art Jewellery Bank is Thursday 28th November 5-8pm and is an RSVP event. Get along then or before the 23rd of December to:

53 Ridge Street,
North Sydney
NSW 2060
11 – 5pm Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday
10 – 6pm Friday

2/ And then there’s Bilk!

Please join us Saturday 23 November for our end of year exhibition, The Big Dry.

Featuring new work by Linda Hughes, Kath Inglis, Chris Bahng, Zoe Brand, Claire McArdle, Vicki Mason, Larah Nott, Thomas O’Hara, Helen Aitken-Kuhnen, Mio Kuhnen, Marian Hosking, Jane Reilly, Melissa Cameron, Eugenie Keefer Bell, Sean O’Connell and many more.

In previous years Bilk has celebrated the end of year with White Christmas.  This year we asked Artists to think of pressing issues which are affecting the wider community and Australia – the environment, water, biodiversity, wind and drought. ​Even with the harshest of environments and extremes in climates, there is still a beauty that can be seen through the heat, dust, cracking soils and the transforming colours water can bring.

Exhibition dates 23 November – 24 December 2019

12 Palmerston Lane, Manuka, ACT 2603   Phone +61 (0) 2 61622761  

Hours Wed-Fri 11-5  Sat 11-4

Last Week!

Marfa, TX, the exhibition will close this Saturday 19 October

venn c (6130, 6132, 6134, 6136, 6138, 6145b, 6149, 6151)
steel found in Marfa, TX, stainless steel, 750 gold, vitreous enamel

Dear friends,
This is the last week of my solo exhibition at Bilk Gallery in Canberra.
If that’s a bit far to travel, you can see images of the works and listen to my interview with ArtSound FM at the Bilk website.

xx m