Speaking Out: Art & Politics in Words
September 27, 2017 – November 10, 2017
Openings: 1-3pm and 5-7pm on Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Speaking Out highlights artists who use words as the basis of their work, creating pieces that inspire discussion around topics of political and social justice. What are the words necessary to start the discussion or argument, to pull people together or apart? How can language be used to share, to trivialize or to provoke? Can a word help you to see what it is like in the shoes of another? And how can a word of indifference end a discussion? We hope that you will see the work in the gallery as a starting place for conversation around topics that are highlighted in current events and contemporary activism.
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.
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.
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!
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?
Further to my last post – I’ve just found out thanks to the indomitable Harriette E-B via the lovely Sarah Holden that SNAG has a list of jewellery schools in the US and Canada [opens a PDF – allegedly only accessible if you’re a SNAG member but I wasn’t logged in when I checked…]. It’s pretty comprehensive, although a little old (it’s dated 2012 and even my untrained eye can see a few changes not marked as yet – mostly noticeable through staff movement.) But even more incredibly – (this will please you, Dr Kevin Murray 😉 ) it includes one Australian jewellery school. Design Centre, Enmore, take a bow!
The AJF twitter account did ask the pertinent question – what would the rest of the world look like? A very good question – and something I’d like to see. As is a visualisation all of the data contained in the SNAG listing, using separate layers for differing program outcomes, like certificate vs associate degree vs degree vs mfa programs, and community vs state vs private colleges. Or in Australia, Tafe vs university vs private schools. And not to forget (again!) the rest of the world.
In fact, I’m ready to appoint editors for the rest of the world. It’s pretty easy to add a layer and drop in points and type in all the relevant data. Does anyone want to take on their country? This kind of data mapped online would be an indispensable resource for students, job seekers and travellers alike. In fact as I’ve already learned the hard way once this week, it might already exist. Do you know of a map with any of this data on?
Also in the directories section of the SNAG website is links to other useful things like guilds, suppliers, photographers and the big one, galleries! Here the rest of the world, including Australia, is far better represented, though it’s harder to tell how recent it is. Lesley Craze is still listed, but then her gallery closure is only a few months old, while relative newcomer Atta Gallery (est. 2010) in Thailand is not. But then again, nor is Bilk Gallery, a stalwart of the Australian scene.
It’s great to see that SNAG has these resources, though as I have already commented elsewhere, it’s amazing that they never appeared in my numerous google searches over the years – which could be explained by the login wall (mental note, ask TurboNerd). There are, however, AJF and Metalcyberspace lists that are available (Metalcyberspace is slightly more comprehensive, so long as you’re in the northern hemisphere. AJF is only of member schools, and is very short.) And using another engine (DuckDuckGo) the Society of American Silversmiths list came up (which is even more out-of-date unfortunately), so always check your search engine since your browser may be tuned owing to google’s ‘personalised search‘.
BTW – thanks for the comments/emails, I’ll geto to adding them on my ‘housekeeping’ day 😉