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

5811
venn c (6130, 6132, 6134, 6136, 6138, 6145b, 6149, 6151)
5843b
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

ArtSound FM Interview

Melissa’s appearance on Arts Café on ArtSound FM

I forgot to mention that while in Canberra for the opening of Marfa, TX a couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by Neil Doody for the Arts Café program on Canberra’s ArtSound FM. I missed it, despite a week of rebroadcasts, but thankfully Neil has shared the radio interview with us so I can give you my 5 minutes of audio fame right here!

Upcoming talk

Talking about recent works at the JMGA monthly meeting in WA

this picture is just me showing off. it gets worse…

Next Tuesday, the 24th of September, I’m going to be talking to some of y’all at the JMGA WA monthly meeting. If you’re not across it but you’re in the WA area (visitors welcome, just let me know and I’ll look out for you) you’re hereby invited to come hear and see what I’ve been up to over the last couple of years, jewel-wise.

It’s on at 7:30 pm@ WA Lapidary and Rock-hunting Club 
31/35 Gladstone Road, Rivervale WA 6103 

As for the photo, this was taken by Helen Aitken-Kuhnen (*clang* first name drop) at last weekend’s masterclass with these legends of jewellery in Australia. For the finished product of David Walker’s endeavours (as you might expect, he put us all to shame with his work ethic and the quality of his output), and to hear me spill the tea about another jewellery-legend that I lunched with this week (*hint* he’s over from Europe [just…] and been at #RadPav and The Jam in the last week) you’d better get in on time to claim a seat.

In all honesty, I could fill my time just talking about the last two weeks. BTW, does anyone know how much time I have??

Toowoomba Contemporary Wearables

… and we celebrated with?

Image of corporate entity / corporeal entity in stainless steel, vitreous enamel and titanium. Photograph by Melissa Cameron.
Image of corporate entity / corporeal entity in stainless steel, vitreous enamel and titanium. Photograph by Melissa Cameron.

Thank you to Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery for the Contemporary Weatables ‘19 award. I got the call yesterday while showing my family all the work I’ve just finished making for Marfa, TX. My niece, 4 years old, told me very sternly that what she was seeing was not jewellery.

“What is jewellery then?” I asked?

“Jewellery is hearts.”


Sorry to disappoint! The acquired piece is a double-header – yes, one side is my red head 👩🏻‍🦰 – which is at least anatomy.

corporate entity / corporeal entity


A double-sided neckpiece with pixelated images on opposing sides, depicting; the US Federal Reserve building, and, my face as photographed for my last US visa. Decoded from ASCII/Binary, the Fed reads “corporate entity”, my face, “corporeal entity”. The Fed background reads “not-me, not-you, not-them, not-us.”, while the opposing background “I-you-him/her/them-we-you(pl)-they”.

In the US and Australia, and other countries I checked, maximizing employment is at the core of government monetary policy (in these cases, the three written rules supposed to dictate how governments will benefit their citizens). The difference between the US Federal Reserve and the Reserve Bank of Australia is “the economic prosperity and welfare of the people of Australia”, is the third of three government-mandated duties. In the US, the third objective of the Fed is moderating interest rates.

Thank you again to Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery for your long-term commitment to this artform, and to Sue Lostroh for your call, it was a highlight of a very proud day 🙂

See the exhibition at Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery until November 3.

Invitation to Marfa, TX

My new solo exhibition at Bilk Gallery in Canberra

Please join us and meet Melissa Cameron for her solo exhibition opening of Marfa, TX. 

My past is a foreign country. We do things differently t/here.

In 2017 I went on vacation to Marfa, TX, with Bruce and Elaine. A town put on the map as a railroad water stop, it’s three hours drive from El Paso and one hour from the Rio Grande. In the last century ranchers, rangers, POW’s, and refugees have all passed through. Since the 1970’s it’s been a permanent home to the works of artist/designer Donald Judd. Since his death these installations, and his preserved studios, have drawn visitors from all over the globe. 

Marfa is in the Chihuahuan desert; there, dropped steel has a long life on the ground. Seeing steel, and knowing I could geotag what I picked up using my phone’s camera, I started a solo scavenger hunt. It covered a campsite; a former US military base (now a part of the Chinati Foundation); the grounds of hotels, diners, galleries and museums; and the dusty streets and sidewalks of the town.

My time/space capsule of finds moved continent with me in 2018-2019. It was finally reopened in Perth. I printed the photos, matched and mapped the finds, researched, and drew. I used this data, and the found objects, to make jewellery.

Since childhood I have picked up bits of metal from the ground. In Marfa, recording and collecting felt instinctive, inevitable. In Perth, I struggled to understand my compulsion at that time and in that place. I had to be with the collection and contextualize it, almost archeologically, in order to reimagine it. 

Some finds have been altered significantly. Others minimally. All have travelled far. As have I.

Melissa Cameron

August 2019
 

Opening Friday 13 September August 6pm – 8pm

Exhibition dates 11 September – 13 October 2019.

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

Hours Wed-Fri 11-5  Sat 11-4

*images on the Bilk site by Melissa Cameron, Elaine Cheung and Bruce Cooper