Invasion Day 2022

I’d like to recommend a podcast for this season from the great broadcaster Boe Spearim, a Gamilaraay & Kooma radio host and podcaster located in Meanjin.

Monday to Thursday he hosts a radio show, Lets Talk, (hosted on Fridays by Karina Hogan) on 98.9 FM in Brisbane, the radio station owned and run by Brisbane Indigenous Media Association (BIMA) that plays First Nations artists and country music. The show is taken around Australia by the National Indigenous Radio Service, and like many of the shows on BIMA, it is also available as a podcast, which is where I catch it.

I can highly recommended Lets Talk, but I’m actually here to get you to listen to Boe’s independent project, Frontier War Stories. In his words:

Frontier War Stories is a podcast dedicated to truth telling about a side of Australian history that has been left out of the history books. In each episode I speak to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people about research, books and oral histories which document the first 140 years of conflict and resistance. These times are the frontier wars, and these are our war stories.”

In the lead-up to “Australia’s” Invasion Day, January 26th, Boe has posted a podcast he’s made from a chat he had with former politician and archivist Michael Organ. They talk about the “founding figures” of the place now known as Australia (all my quotations) including Lieutenant James Cook, the guy who has a LOT of statues dedicated to him around this land. I wonder if anyone has ever investigated if there is a correlation between amount of statues devoted to a person and the amount of people who suffered because of the doings of that person. Suffice to say that in this instance the tally on both sides is high.

Boe is a deep thinker and a generous conversationalist, allowing his guests the space to make their point but always keeping the show rolling. I highly recommend, and if you can, I encourage you to fund his future podcasts via PodBean too.

And an added extra – if you don’t mind a bit of time travel in terms of the news and issues broached in your podcasts, I absolutely loved Wild Black Women, also from BIMA. Dr Chelsea Bond and Angelina Hurley wrapped up their show a little less than 2 years ago, but the colony being the colony, I’d say a lot of their content would stand today (I listened to it at the time so I’d be interested to hear if my recollection is incorrect.) They are wild in the sense of being incensed, but do it with good humour and so much integrity, and they taught me a lot. Since I missed attending their outside broadcast on Whadjuk Noongar Boodjar back in 2020 (to my shame I was a couple of weeks behind in my listening so I found out it was happening after it was broadcast) I will also say here a huge thank you to them both. Amazing, generous black women.

Categorized as Jewellery

Garland Magazine

I had a piece published last month in Garland Magazine’s 25th issue Craft Currencies – Value is in our own hands. Editor Dr Kevin Murray saw the work and asked me to write about the series Juukan Tears Offcuts that I made last year, through the lens of high/low, rich/poor, gallery/gift shop craft. It is an interesting series to talk about the links/divide between strata of craft, especially because the main work, Juukan Tears, was in the Indian Ocean Craft Triennial while the Offcuts were in the gift shop right across from it. To give a broader perspective I was able to reach out to fellow artist and purchaser of one of the Offcuts works Tanya Lee to talk about the impact and ramifications of having both sets of works in the same space.

You can read the article here. I also encourage you to read the piece by Bridget Kennedy about her practice too, it’s great to have a bunch of stories about her makings and happenings collected in the one place. She’s the issues designated Thinker Maker, and it’s a title she has well earned. Did you know she was also recently elected as a Councillor of Lane Cove in NSW? Community connection is her practice and her life.

While on the subject of Garland Magazine, you can also follow their socials to see the guest posts that I will be contributing over a couple of months, starting this week. Thematically linked to the current issue, the posts have the expected jewellery skew but will hopefully include a couple of sharp-ish turns from the usual line.

So far I’ve chatted with the amazing Jillian Moore, a colleague whose ideas I love, and work I own, from Iowa in the USA. Jillian has recently set up a Patreon to support her studio practice, to claw back some income from all the content that she, like most artists, produce for free that is distributed by the less-than-generous social media algorithms. Like so many makers she needed a bump to get back in her studio after a rough pandemic-induced financial year, and has found a way to give more, and get more, on her own terms.

Melissa wears her Jillian Moore brooch, Tangle with Nugget and D-Nut. Photo Melissa Cameron, 2021

Welcome 2022

In the hot sandwich press filled with bread, beans and leaking cheese at all sides (which is slowly gathering in puddles on the bench below) that was the last weeks of 2021, I missed adding my usual solsticefest post to the chimes of the season.

So now I belatedly say thank you for reading, and I hope you all enjoyed a peaceful longest/shortest day/night. My wish this year is that the poetic will find you with increasing frequency, wherever you may be.

And speaking of poetry, my rock from Perth artist Carla Adams arrived today. Look at it shine.

Carla Adams – Maureen Rock – 2021

Arthan Gallery in Istanbul

From Co+Lab, Declaration of Sentiments finally opens in Istanbul!

We are pleased to invite you to the exhibition of Declaration of Sentiments. Curated by CoplusLab, Snem Yildirim, Burcu Sülek, Nevin Arig and supervised by Can Akgumus the exhibition will take place at Arthan Gallery in Istanbul between
16 – 31 December!
Opening Thursday 16 December, 2 – 8 PM.

Focusing on women’s struggle, the exhibition brings together twenty international female artists, and deals with jewellery not only as an ornamental object but as a conceptual art piece. Showing for the first time in Turkey, the exhibition is in a sense taking part in international solidarity with the developments related to the Istanbul Convention, which is followed closely by the participating artists.

Nevin Arig, Erica Bello, Sofia Björkman, Klara Brynge, Jessica Calderwood, Melissa Cameron, Cata Gilbert, Gesine Hackenberg, Ya Jie Hu, Mari Ishikawa, Helena Lethi, Anna Lewis, Eija Mustonen, Sondra Sherman, Burcu Sülek, Niki Stylianou, Fatima Tocornal Garcia, Tarja Tuupanen, Eva Van Kempen, Snem Yildirim.

/ / /

Küratörlüğünü ( Sinem Yıldırım, Burcu Sülek, Nevin Arığ) nın, danışmanlığını Can Akgümüş’ ün yaptığı “Duygular Bildirisi” sergisi 16-31 Aralık tarihleri arasında Arthan Galeride görülebilir.

Açılış 16 Aralık 2021
Saat 14 – 20 arası.

Sergi kadın mücadelesini odağa alarak uluslararası yirmi kadın sanatçıyı biraraya getirirken takıyı salt bir süs nesnesi olarak değil kavramsal bir sanat nesnesi olarak ele alıyor. Türkiye’de izleyicilerle ilk defa buluşacak olan sergi katılımcı sanatçıların yakından takip ettiği İstanbul Sözleşmesi ile ilgili gelişmelere bir anlamda uluslararası dayanışmada yer aliyor.

Nevin Arig, Erica Bello, Sofia Björkman, Klara Brynge, Jessica Calderwood, Melissa Cameron, Cata Gilbert, Gesine Hackenberg, Ya Jie Hu, Mari Ishikawa, Helena Lethi, Anna Lewis, Eija Mustonen, Sondra Sherman, Burcu Sülek, Niki Stylianou, Fatima Tocornal Garcia, Tarja Tuupanen, Eva Van Kempen, Snem Yildirim.

Arthan Gallery
Arap Cami Mah. Kürekçiler Kapısı Sk, No:47/7  Kurşunlu Han,
Karaköy, Beyoğlu, İstanbul

21st C Caltrop #4. Non-stick baking pan, stainless steel. 2020.

Edith Cowan 100 Years Anniversary Pin

Celebrating 100 Years of women in WA Parliament

Edith Cowan 100 Years Anniversary Pin

Christine Tonkin MLA, the Member for Churchlands, got in touch about 6 weeks ago to ask if I wanted to make a brooch to commemorate the making of another brooch 100 years ago. Could it get more meta? Of course I said yes!

When I was first told about the commission we grabbed an Australian $50 note (I know, rich!) and I was shown, for the first time, the picture of a brooch that graces the Edith Cowan side of the note that she shares with David Unaipon. I’m still incredulous, how did I not know that was on there?? Just above the ’50’ is a picture of a gumnut between two leaves – a brooch that these days is dubbed the “Tough Nut”. Cowan commissioned it after her historic win in the 1921 election.

‘Tough Nut’ – rendering of the original brooch

After some study I came up with a design that is a little more in keeping with the idea that womxn are now a normal part of the parliamentary ecosystem. The pin we made is now on it’s way to every female-identifying member of the WA parliament.

Read on for the text as contained in the booklet that was sent alongside the pin.

…100 Years On

In 1921 Edith Cowan was told by a friend that getting elected to the WA Parliament would be “a tough nut to crack”. But crack it she did, becoming, as the Daily News proclaimed in March 1921, our “First Australian Lady Parliamentarian”1

Her modest vision that a “sprinkling” of women would “be a step in the direction of better legislation”2 has become a wave. Building on her legacy, this year we celebrated the election of the 114th female-identifying politician to the WA Parliament. Other firsts since 1921 include the first female Australian Premier, Dr Carmen Lawrence, and first female Indigenous Member of the Western Australian Parliament and any Australian Parliament, Carol Martin, elected in 2001.

EC 100 Pins and booklet

Brooching the Subject

Cowan commissioned a brooch of a cracked gumnut after her win to give to members of her Election Committee. Dubbed the ‘Tough Nut’, it has been reproduced multiple times. An image of the original, as sourced from the WA State Library, now graces the Australian David Unaipon and Edith Cowan $50 note. Find the drawing of the Tough Nut to the right of the etching of Cowan, just above the 50.

E.C. 100 pins with booklet and how-to

E.C. 100 Pin

To commemorate 100 years since Edith Cowan’s achievement, recently elected Member of the Legislative Assembly Christine Tonkin approached local artist and jeweller Melissa Cameron to design a pin that would hark back to Cowan’s original Tough Nut brooch. Consulting the State Library image, the reproduction that lives in the State Parliament building and another reproduction photographed by Edith Cowan University, they decided it was time for a refresh.

Designed to frame the gumnut and leaves in a more natural setting, the new pin suggests that female-identifying MPs are well and truly at home in the WA Parliament. Thanks to Edith Cowan cracking that first tough nut, together we have been striding to make better legislation since 1921.

1 Parliament of WA Web – EDC100Election.

2 ibid.

Melissa Cameron with Christine Tonkin MLA wearing the pin

Recipients include all female-identifying Members of the WA Parliament elected the Edith Cowan election centenary year of 2021 and the female-identifying staff of the Legislative Assembly.

Materials: stainless steel, nickel pin and nickel plated clutch back

Design and manufacture: Melissa Cameron
Studio assistant: Susannah Kings-Lynne
Pin engraving by: Alister Yiap

Categorized as Jewellery

Bilk Solstice open hours + a Brooch for Tom

Solstice celebrations
Friday 3 December and Saturday 4 December 4.00pm – 7.00pm.

Please join us at dusk for a celebration and viewing of our fabulous Solstice exhibition together with light refreshments. With a little luck the late afternoon celebrations will bring a sunset reflecting in the dams. 

For those unable to visit us at Bilk Gallery, the complete new collection is available on-line: 

Gallery Hours:  Friday and Saturday 11.00 am to 5.00 pm or by appointment until Saturday 18 December  2021. Please contact us to make an appointment by either calling 0433694669 or 02 62329411.

Directions: 403 Captains Flat Road Carwoola – 4 km from the roundabout. Prepare to turn left after the second 90 km sign. There is an electric gate with a big B for Bilk. Press the button to open the gate and follow the directions at the top of the driveway for the gallery. The gallery is located on the right of the building.

Bilk Gallery

My new works include this piece, made from street sweeper blades I have collected around the City of Perth and suburbs.

Brooch for Tom

Tom Cameron was my grandfather. After training as a pilot in Canada the 40’s he came back to Perth and took a job as a street sweeper. From tending to the streets he ended up making them with his earth moving business, and helping to change how people saw them with his work with the Lions Eye Institute. He eventually had a small park named after him in the suburbs, for his charitable works.

Brooch for Tom. Street sweeper blades, titanium, mild steel, stainless steel. 2021

Brooch for Tom (reverse). Street sweeper blades, titanium, mild steel, stainless steel. 2021. 300mm x 60mm x 6mm

farewell studio (for now) sale

Dear Friends,

For those not in the know, the current configuration of my studio is soon to be disassembled and rebuilt. A new studio, part of our new and more sustainable home, will take its place over the coming year or so.

If you have ever wanted to come up and see it for yourself (in better resolution than what was on the studio livestream earlier this year) now is your last opportunity!

And of course I’ll also have a range of my works on display 😉

Join me in December on:

Friday the 10th, 11am – 5pm
Saturday the 11th, 11am – 5pm – also our Christmas celebration with bubbles and nibbles!
Friday the 17th, 11am – 5pm
Saturday the 18th, 11am – 5pm

and other times between these by appointment.

Please feel free to pass on this invitation to friends and loved ones. I look forward to seeing you soon.

x Melissa

(please email for the address, fellow Perthlings)

Solstice exhibition

Image collection:
Vicki Mason, Winter Wattle Brooch, powder coated brass, linen, cotton, fabric pen. 60 x 30  mm
Melissa Cameron, Sunset Study Necklace, found steel tyre ring, vitreous enamel. 2mm diameter chain, 400mm diameter circle.
Zachery Lechtenberg, Cluster Brooch 1, copper, Silver, Steel, enamel. 50 x 10 mm
Mio Kuhnen, Fritillary Butterfly Brooch, Champlevé enamel, copper, stainless steel. 38 x 43 x 18 mm
Claire McArdle, Small Tools for Change (Swift Parrots), 2021. Recycled red ironbark (Eucalyptus tricarpa), car exhaust, leather cord. 155 x 40 x3 5mm 

Solstice – celebration marking the beginning of summer and the new year coming.

Opened last Saturday, 13 November 2021

Aurélie Guillaume, Bic Tieu, Claire McArdle, Carlier Makigawa, Daniel DiCaprio, David Walker, Eugenie Keefer Bell, Helen Aitken-Kuhnen, Johannes Kuhnen, Julie Blyfield, Kath Inglis, Marian Hosking, Mio Kuhnen, Melissa Cameron, Sean O’Connell, Vicki Mason and Zachery Lechtenberg.

This year we wanted to mark the end of the year by celebrating the beginning of summer and a new year coming. Through winter we have been looking forward to when shadows become shorter and warm days linger. This year has been a hard road for many of us and we wanted to focus on the positive and look towards the renewal of the new year coming through the summer solstice. 

For this exhibition there are new collections of works by many of our artists and a few new artists to join us at Bilk.  We look forward to showing these new collections to you as well as celebrating the summer solstice.​

For those unable to visit us at Bilk Gallery, the complete new collection is available on-line.​

Gallery Hours:  Friday and Saturday 11.00 am to 5.00 pm or by appointment until Saturday 18 December 2021. To view the collection of Artists at Bilk Gallery, please make a private appointment by contacting us via email or telephone: 0433694669.

Juukan Tears – last days to see!

a 2-min snapshot of making Juukan Tears

There is but a few short days left to see my work Juukan Tears at the John Curtin Gallery as a part of IOTA21 in Curiosity and Rituals of the Everyday. If you’re not gonna make it (who even travels any more? I can’t – really, I’m in WA and state daddy says no…) I thought I’d show you what people who visit the gallery get to see on a big screen in the video rotation.

If you haven’t seen it but were planning to, the gallery is open today until Friday, and again for the last time on Sunday 31/10/21.

Connexions closes tomorrow

Connexions opening – l to r
Blandine Halle, Melissa Cameron, Katherine Kalaf, Fatemeh Boroujeni, Eden Lennox, Sultana Shamshi.
Missing but hopefully soon to visit – Emily Beckley. Image – Courtenay Cameron

Connexions is in its last days – today it’s open 11am – 4:30pm and then it opens for the last time tomorrow from 12 -2:30pm.

We will always have the website, and I will update that with images from the installation soon, but in the mean time, if you can, stop by the gallery, grab a catalogue (lovingly folded for you by our team of artists!) and see all the new works that were made for this iteration of our exhibition.

Big thanks to Katherine Kalaf, as seen pictured above, for elevating our opening with her presence.

Thank you again to everyone who has visited and purchased works, we appreciate all of your support. In such strange times we are grateful, very grateful, to have your feet grace our doorstep.