Monday – Gun day

Even I thought we were done with gun-days…

1.1.2017

The last post was all about the impending photo shoot of the above-titled work, which took place without a hitch just over two weeks ago. A huge ovation and a raucous Hip-Hip-Hooray! for my 56 intrepid volunteers, who modeled the 73 pieces that I had made in the previous month like absolute professionals. We worked basically by city, so we managed to get the works arrayed across our models.

I then took all the wearable works back into the studio to photograph them with the 73 containers from which they had come. After that I packed up the whole of 1.1.2017 and sent it to Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, and emailed a batch of the finished photos of the piece by the deadline, as per our contract. Then I reclaimed my weekends!

Contemporary Craft are now assembling the works of the 26 artists juried into Transformation 10: Contemporary Works in Found Materials in preparation for opening the exhibition and  awarding the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize on the 14th of September.

Now I’m working towards other deadlines. Have I mentioned that I’ll be in an exhibition With Other Eyes starting at the Ruthin Craft Centre in Wales on the 29th of September? I’m currently waiting on my first ever order of enamel decals (don’t worry, you’ll hear about it) while slowly slicing some 2mm shipping container steel.

So that’s why I regretfully don’t have any images to share of the work, or the shoot, just yet. But if you seek them out on Facebook, a few of my volunteers posted their images and thoughts. And yes, I’m still doing the editing on the pictures that I didn’t send (we shot about 680 images on the Saturday in Fremont, and I took about that many again in the studio), so I will be able to share images of everyone involved, and the whole work, very soon.

In the mean time, there was some positive gun news on The Guardian recently-there’s been more sales slumps for one of my favourite brands << you’ll be sure to shovel on the sarcasm for those last 2 words, won’t you? >>

Photo Shoot this Saturday!

I suspect it’s too late to apologise for sounding like a broken record…

Thank you to the big flock of people who have signed up already, and sorry to everyone for still harping on about this, but we’re really, really close to making our volunteer target for Saturday’s photo shoot. If you have been thinking about signing up but just haven’t got around to it yet, I’d really appreciate you (and your mates!) getting on board today.

Sign up here

This will be the only opportunity to see these neckpieces in Seattle, as the whole work (both the pendants and containers from which they were cut – 146 pieces all told) will go on display in the exhibition Transformations 10 at Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh in September. And as most of y’all know, not long after that I move back to Australia so I won’t be in the USA to organize a Seattle venue.

And to keep us all sane despite the idea behind the pieces we’re photographing, we are working hard behind the scenes to make this an enjoyable experience for everyone!

For the last time – photo shoot details at-a-glance:

– 7/7/18, 8am – 12pm
– Meet at the parking lot under the Fremont Bridge (not next to the Troll – the one that opens)
– 8am-9am sign in
– 9am-12pm all 73 people in 73 different gun-shaped pendants stand together for the shoot (if we finish early we all go home early)
– You wear something comfortable with dark top-half and no logos, I loan you a pendant to wear for the morning
– Drinks and snacks provided
– Kids, families welcome – but no pets please.

Can you help?

Searching for containers from specific places in the USA – to be made into art!

*** UPDATED June 20th***

containers from my collection

As I promised last week, I’m back in the US from Australia, where I was celebrating my 40th birthday with my family!

And now I’m here, I have a favor to ask:

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my series of posts, entitled: Monday – Gun Day, where I have been cataloguing the weapons used in each of the fatal shootings in the US on January 1st, 2017. (There’s more intel as to why in this post.) Thanks to the incredible resources of the Gun Violence Archive I’m almost through the research phase – in which I made drawings of all the guns used in fatal incidents on that day – and I’m ready to start making.

I was going to used objects – containers specifically – that I had to hand, but now that doesn’t feel right. I have objects from all over the place – I’ve picked them up in my travels throughout North America, Australia, Asia and Europe. And that is the problem. The rate of gun violence, as we are now almost constantly being reminded, is unique to each country. So using objects from other places in a project referencing gun violence in the USA doesn’t ring true.

So I suddenly find myself in need of containers from a specific list of places. Fifty-four places, in fact. And if you have a friend or relative in the area, please feel free to pass this along.

This is where you come in. If you happen to live in one of the places listed:

Send me a container to become a permanent part of this artwork, and I  will send you a limited edition jewellery piece in return.

I sense your next question: “Container, what kind of container?”

Practically anything accepted – well washed food tins, plastic milk containers or even a yogurt tub, I don’t mind. Upcycle or re-gift me, please! I love a thrift store find, or new things from grocery stores or markets – I seek and find all over. Wood too! I just need to be able to cut or saw-pierce a motif into it, so not too thick, but most materials accepted. (Preferably not stainless steel – the best way to check that tiny, cute but essentially useless colander you have is with a magnet. I love magnetic steels – I’ll cut them for days – but if it doesn’t stick it’s probably regular stainless.)

Map from the Gun Violence Archive – Interactive Map

I’m looking for a single container (though multiples needed in a few places) from each of the places listed below. Or, if you own a souvenir item from one of these places, that you are willing to part with, I would gladly accept it. (And yes, I do consider ashtrays, coasters and trays containers, too. See image at top for a portion of my current stash.)

Logistics:

1/ Get in touch – blog@melissacameron.net

  • Please be in contact before you send something, to make sure I have not yet received anything from your place. I only need one container from most of this list, and so I’ll work on a first-come, first served basis.
  • If you happen to have an item in mind, please email me a photo of the container I can used for planning. I will also add your object as ‘pending’ on my list for others to see.

2/ Send the item (to arrive by  June 20th, 2018)

    • to:

Melissa Cameron
2212 Queen Anne Ave. N. #412
Seattle WA 98109

  • Naturally, include the place name of the object in the packaging, as well as a name/address + email contact to ensure you get your jewel

3/ Jewels shipped in August

  • stay tuned to the blog for developments of this very special limited series.

*** List of places still remaining – June 20th update***  (and updated printable list of Places June 8 – this includes all the maybe’s – if you are in a place that I have only a maybe commitment, please get in touch!):

State City Or County
Alabama Birmingham
Georgia Allenhurst
Georgia Moultrie
Illinois Rockford
South Dakota Rapid City

Yes, it’s like a Kickstarter but instead of cash, it’s local objects being turned into jewels. A barter-kickstarter, if you will. Please pass this along, and lets come together and make some art!

 

Queries? Please email me: blog@melissacameron.net

BAM Biennial – last days

Last days to see my work at Bellevue Arts Museum as a part of Metalmorphosis

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…

New Class at Danaca Design

I’m teaching at Danaca Design in the U District of Seattle very soon. Get amongst it!

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?

I heart Asheville / Melissa does SNAGnext 2016

I’m speaking at SNAGnext, and I’ll be involved in a show at Penland, and I’ll be in the trunk show..!

Image of Shared Concerns artists by Mercedes Jelinek
Shared Concerns artists by current Penland resident Mercedes Jelnieck

Keen observers will have noted my name on the list of people speaking at SNAGneXt this year in Asheville. Even keener ones will have noted that a few weeks ago I was near (and briefly in) Asheville, NC, at Penland for a week. Asheville: the neodymium magnet of the Carolinas*…

At the modified and re-branded SNAG conference this year I’m very pleased to have been invited to speak in the SNAGspark portion of the program, where I will be giving a presentation entitled Holistic Thinking: Interconnection in Jewels and Practice. There, amongst a few other things, I’ll share my “tips for maintaining a sustainable creative practice, gleaned from sources near and far.” The basic premise of my talk is that I get around, and in all the places I go, I’ve noticed a few common threads that help make for robust communities (first hint) and economically sustainable jewellery practices.

For those of you who are currently looking into coming to SNAG this year, it would be a wasted opportunity if you didn’t also go and visit the famed and newly renovated Penland Galleries while you’re in town. And because I am always in service to you, beloved reader, I am happy to provide you with one more excuse to take the hour-long drive into the mountains to finally see Penland for yourself, as showing there during May and part of June will be the Shared Concerns exhibition, which was the reason for my first Asheville visit earlier this year.

So, #SharedConcerns? What’s that all about?

Shared Concerns is an exhibition documenting the meeting of a group of artists, brought together to work in the Penland studios in the mountains of North Carolina. As a group they shared the intimate ‘concerns’ of their practice, and each has created a small suite of works that interprets the ‘concern’ of another group member. Pieces were begun during their Winter Residency at Penland, and finished in studios across the United States as well as in Australia and Denmark, where this diverse group of jewelry artists call home.

Myself and Aran Galligan, my friend and fellow Seattle-based artist, are coordinating the Shared Concerns exhibition series. Between the two of us we pulled together this group of jewellery artists to join us in North Carolina, many of who met each other for the first time just weeks ago at Penland. Our other participants are: Lynn BatchelderVincent Pontillo-VerrastroJill HermansDaniel DiCaprioCatie Sellers, and Kaori Juzu.

We spent a very short week with one another as participants in the Penland Winter Residency where we shared a studio, traded concerns to work on and enjoyed some profoundly creative times (as well as some amazing food) all on the Penland campus. We don’t know when we will meet again, but what we do know is that the work we began together will be completed over the coming months, and will go on show in the Penland Galleries in May, just in time to be seen by anyone visiting Asheville for SNAGneXt. From there the works will head on to Velvet da Vinci gallery in San Francisco for the opening of Shared Concerns there on the 1st of July, and from there it will travel internationally in 2017.

So if you’re coming to Asheville for SNAGneXt, be sure to set aside some time to see the best of this beautiful and creative city, drink some coffee (or at one of the supposedly *9* microbreweries in town) and head to Penland to see our Shared Concerns exhibition.

 

* Now, you realise that my getting around doesn’t usually mean dropping into Asheville twice in a six-month period, but they served me the best cup of decaf soy I’ve had since I was last in Melbourne (Cafe Vue, Melbourne Airport, April 2015) while I was there with the #SharedConcerns crew, so you know I have to go back. (This will be hot on the heels of another Melbourne visit *spoiler alert*, so the comparison will be more robust. Suffice to say, if it holds its own again, I’m thinking of moving…)

Heating up

Melissa shares a work-in-progress for the Heat Exchange exhibition

Image of the work HEAT in stainless steel and vitreous enamel. Photograph by Melissa Cameron.
Image of the work-in-progress, HEAT, in stainless steel, titanium and vitreous enamel.

It’s been a hectic time in the office and the basement/studio, but I finally snapped some images of this finished neckpiece yesterday evening. I’m going to have another look at the panels that this work comes from later in the week – I need some time away from them before I make any more decisions. In the mean time, the brooch from this set is in pieces on the bench, and for that the next step is sandblasting.

Enamel on Steel – a weekend workshop

Enamel on Steel – weekend workshop at Pratt in Seattle, with ME!

Image of jewellery by Melissa Cameron. Photograph by Melissa Cameron.
Parallel Planes Brooch III, 2012. From the La Geometrie series

Come along to Pratt Fine Arts Center here in Seattle and learn how to use liquid enamel for steel and copper from one of the best in the north-west… ME!

“We’re surrounded by enamel fired onto steel, from enameled oven- and cook-wear in the kitchen, to whiteboards and signage in the school and street. But it’s not just an industrial process! Learn how to use liquid enamel on steel and copper, from metal surface preparation to enamel mixing, application, and firing. Extend your decorative palette with appealing textures and patterns using simple techniques, perfectly suited for items like jewelry and small objects. Also learn how to prepare and apply enamel to recycled steel and found objects.”

Want to know more about me and the two-day course I run? I recently led back-to-back two-day workshops in New York for The Enamel Guild North East annual conference, who just happens to maintain a great website with maker interviews from past conference speaker/instructors. See my recent profile here!

Class #: 5498
Date: Saturday the 13th + Sunday the 14th of June
Time: 9:30am – 5:30pm
Fees: $240
Master Member Fees: $216
Prerequisite: none
Supply fee: $20
Can’t make it this time? Send me an email and I’ll put you on the mailing list for the next one. Or you can read up on the process without even having to leave this blog!