Jewellery is meant to be worn. Please come wear these pieces for a few hours
55 places. 62 incidents. 66 guns. 73 people
It’s take one month of drawing, drilling, sawing and slicing to make a portrait of each of the 66 guns used in fatal incidents on January 1st, 2017. These gun outlines are made in metal, plastic, fabric and paper, from containers sourced from the 55 places in which these acts of violence occurred.
Now we are seeking 73 people to wear the outlines, small and large, while we take an image to help tell the story.
Please come and stand in for the people we lost to these guns on that day.
A huge thanks to everyone who has already signed up for the photo shoot on the 7/7/18. I’m back to tell those of you who haven’t that I need a lot more volunteers to help create a truly arresting image. I’ve made a poster (above, link) with all the details that I’d love for you to print and display in your shared studio, office or other place where cool people hang out! (FYI – I’ve already papered Equinox and Pratt Studios, and a big thanks to the others who have obliged me by posting it in their shared studios.)
AND in exciting news – I’ve managed to secure the services of local film-director Miri Stone, who thankfully has a lot more experience at this than me! She’s going to keep us all on task and motivated, and help us make the best image possible.
As far as volunteers go, I have just over a quarter of the sign-ups that I’m seeking. If you’ve been meaning to sign up please do so here, I’d really appreciate it, and if you’re going to be out of town you can do me a huge favor by forwarding on this email to someone who has yet to receive it.
And to those of you curious about progress on the artwork – my deadline for receiving containers was last week, and I’m currently at 49 pieces totally completed for the shoot, with 4 more awaiting cleanup on bench this morning. The last of the containers are still coming in too, so I’m on schedule to finish by the end of this week. Phew 😉
Photo shoot details at-a-glance:
– Meet at the parking lot under the Fremont Bridge (not near 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
This is going to be a fun and once in a lifetime experience, so please come join us!
Searching for containers from specific places in the USA – to be made into art!
*** UPDATED June 20th***
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.)
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.)
1/ Get in touch – email@example.com
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)
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 ofPlaces 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!):
City Or County
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!
More events from the 1st of Jan, 2017, from the Gun Violence Archive
No time for a deep dive today, so just a quick pair of guns:
Eighteen year old Kiara Tatum was killed when a man and a boy fired into a crowd standing outside in Memphis, TN, at about 8pm, from their vehicle. One report said that:
According to Memphis Police Department, 22-year-old Devante Robinson is accused of being one of two people inside a white car that fired shots at a crowd of people on Danville Circle. Kiara Tatum, 18, was killed in the shooting.
The other suspect was identified Tuesday as 17-year-old Jaylen Clayton.
Robinson is charged with first-degree murder, five counts of attempted first-degree murder, and using a gun during a felony.
Clayton is charged with first-degree murder, five counts of attempted first-degree murder, and using a firearm during a felony.
Robinson was out on bond for reckless endangerment at the time, having been in another vehicle from which shots were fired (at children playing outside,) less than a week earlier. And as for Clayton, one of the latest articles I found said that the 17 year old was to be tried as an adult.
Between everything I read, a lot of weapons and ammunition were mentioned, but none named. Amazingly with two guns fired, and reportedly up to five other victims, Tatum was the only one found dead from a gunshot wound. We’re up to DP 2 yet again, but I’ll add DP1 too, since the exact killer will probably go unidentified.
The Gun Day following the 2018 March For Our Lives in the USA
I went to the March For Our Lives in Seattle on Saturday. Here’s a few of the messages that I heard and saw:
A man, walking in arm with a woman, held a sign that read, ‘I never want to get another “We’re on lockdown” text from my wife again.’
A child carrying, ‘I don’t feel safe,’ another, ‘vote them out.’
A woman with a cane standing on the side of the street with a sign that read ‘respect for free’ saying loudly to the passersby: “Know you’re strong! Know you’re wonderful!”
A couple carrying a small child each, one of them also holding a sign, “NOT ONE MORE”.
An older woman with a sign ‘This is killing us’.
A pair of guys; ‘Guns are stupid’ and ‘The kids are all right’.
Two elementary-school aged boys, vigorously yelling “VOTE THEM OUT”.
Several signs held by US war veterans – men and women – promoting tighter gun controls.
A sign in the distance: ‘Australia fixed this, so will we’.
Girl with sign ‘2020 voter’. A younger boy, sleeping on his father’s hip, sign tacked to his back ‘I vote in 9 years’.
Several ‘I’m marching in memoriam’ signs.
Woman with sign; ‘Students, thank you for your strength. We got your backs’.
Chant: “Hey Hey Hey Hey, NRA; how many kids have you killed today?”
No one should die from gun violence in this country.
Now I’m going to get back to outing the gun manufacturers whose merchandise is designed and made to kill people.
This incident, #34 for the year on the Gun Violence Archive, is the first shootout I’ve come across. The Archive helpfully points out that a shootout is “where VENN diagram of shooters and victims overlap.” Maurice Delaney, 38, and Ali Mohamed, 31, killed one another around 4:25am on New Years Day 2017 in Chicago at a North Side Uptown neighborhood business. I found multiple sources to say that both guns disappeared from the crime scene before officers could take them in as evidence. DP 1 and 2
An 18 year old teen was killed in a brawl that spilled out into the car park of the 508 Nightclub in Des Moines, Iowa. Frederico Thompson, Jr, a father to a young girl, died around 3:30am at the scene. An article from 9th of January, 2017, remarks that there is no suspect named in the case, but the bar has had its liquor license suspended.
Another article in the Des Moines Register from the 1st of January, 2018, writes that police detectives claim to know who the killer is, but do not have the witnesses statements or photographs to back it up. There’s no information about the gun either. DP 1.
Nineteen year old college student Christian Dawson died in Azure Banquet Hall, in Dallas, Tx, from what was reported to be a stray bullet. Several other people were shot, but none had life-threatening injuries. One year later the killing was still reported to be unsolved by the Dallas Police Department. No gun known. DP 2
* * * T R I G G E R W A R N I N G * * *
Incident number 37 on the first of January involved Marissa Hope Reynoso (26), Elijah Chavez (4), Ezra Chavez (1) and Jorge Luis Chavez (25). Jorge Chavez and Reynoso had broken off their 5 year relationship in the preceding months, and members of the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department had responded to two other calls from Reynoso about Chavez in that time. The gun was reported as a 9mm hand gun that had been previously reported stolen, some years before. Reynoso is survived by another daughter from a different relationship.
I have drawn a lot of 9mm weapons so far; the two Default Pistols are both 9mm, and so was the Glock 17 drawn for the Chicago police, and a Sig Sauer P226 and P229, also used by me to represent guns fired by police. So I’ve decided to add a new one, to the, uh… arsenal. The Glock 19 has been mentioned before round these parts, is famed for being a lightweight version of the 17, and is apparently a very popular gun. In that post I wrote that it was one of the guns that would likely get featured round here, so I guess it’s about that time.
Why am I still ranting about guns? Explanation finally comes 16 episodes in.
**HERE LIVES THE MOTHER OF ALL TRIGGER WARNINGS**
There’s been a lot of news about guns in the last week. Last Tuesday I filed this article away for inclusion in today’s regular post; the Guardian reported that Remington was filing for bankruptcy, due at least in part to what they had termed “‘The Trump slump.'” A friendly administration for the gun lobby, and gun owners, has spelled radically decreased sales for gun manufacturers. But then on Wednesday, in a turn-around that would give you whiplash were you researching anything other than gun violence in the US, there was a mass shooting at a school in Florida on Valentine’s day. The cycle begins again.
My Monday – Gun Day series began on the 9th of October, 2017, a week and a day after the largest mass shooting involving a single perpetrator in US history had taken place in Las Vegas (all the modifiers are to remind us that there have been larger massacres in US history, usually racially motivated like that at Wounded Knee, or the Colfax Massacre, which was perpetrated by white Southern Democrats against about 150 black men.)
Since then, across 16 posts (including this one) made on Mondays (US Pacific time), I’ve been sharing my research about guns, and more specifically, the guns used in the 63 incidents in which people were killed on January 1st, 2017. But why? Well, firstly, some backstory that might help to explain.
I began the Monday – Gun Day series with an introduction to my work Gun from 2013/14. To design the work I replicated the AR-15 knock-off (made by Remington) used in the Sandy Hook mass shooting of 2012, into which I incorporated facts and figures I had researched about that days killings, which was, at that time, the second most deadly mass shooting perpetrated by a single person ever in the United States. I was making a series of pieces that used the tools of war to make a statement about humanity’s continuing poor relationship with itself, which I entitled The Escalation Series. My use of this gun, with all of its associations, pointed out an additional fact; the other tools of war I made pieces about were designed for, and were chiefly only accessible to, organised armies. This weapon, designed for and known as as the M-16 in the US armed forces, was and still is far too easily accessible to regular citizens of this country.
I thought after The Escalation series, in which I made jewellery pieces that depicted the following weapons of war:
cartridges with Minié ball bullets
Lapua Magnum shells (sniper rifle shells) from Combat Paper
as well as 3 versions of HEAT, a work (pictured below) that shows the molten metal spatter and penetration of a HEAT missile through armoured tank steel, that my association with weapons was done for a while. My focus had made a gentle pivot which saw me making mosaics out of enamelled laser cut steel, with which I could write by turns gentle, piercing and witty messages in binary.
Then two things happened. I had been recently juried into the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize, for which I am to make a work out of found materials, and on the 1st of October I decided to do a stock-take of all the found objects I have lying about in my study, the same day that the current most deadly mass shooting perpetrated in modern times (this seems to be accepted as anything since 1950,) by a single shooter, happened.
Having memorialised a single-person shooting before, I did not want to go down that route again. I’ve read a lot of stories about Sandy Hook, and will continue to do so the rest of my days (it’s reportage on unjustified killings of defenseless white children in a 1st world nation, and thanks to our social/political/class climate, we will find it in the media for the foreseeable future,) and it’s a lot. And I don’t want to have to repeat myself.
I have other things that horrify me just as much as 59 deaths by one person in a day. 59 deaths on any day is a pretty shit day by most of the world’s standards, and I wanted a way to make that point. So I picked a day, New Year’s Day 2017, and got to work.
We know the weapons of the mass shootings because they get so much publicity. (The Guardian already has 3 pages of articles about last week’s shooting.) [I’m getting cynical, which I usually try to banish from my writings, but it’s almost as if the amount of publicity is inverse to the amount of action that will be taken against the problem, despite the fact that I learned in another Guardian article linked to the Trump Slump article that, “Only 22 to 31% of Americans adults say they personally own a gun.” And what they call “gun super-ownership” is actually concentrated to 3% of the population.] Anyway, digressions aside. We know so little about the other gun deaths that happen in this country because everyone is so inured by the frequency of the killings that everyday gun violence doesn’t make it to the national news. But the weapons used by the mass murderer are studied ad nauseam, so of course we learn about the guns, the shells, the alternate weapons, the victims, the scene, the police department response, the slow and painful moving on.
But what about all the the other shootings? Which guns are responsible there?
Hopefully in just a few years time the gun lobby will face a shakedown that will be compared to that experienced by the tobacco lobby, and their unconscionable actions will be pored over in as much details as the lives of those involved in the Sandy Hook massacre. For right now, I’ve learned that there are great resources for finding out who was killed, when, and where, and more loosely, how. What’s becoming clear is that there is no focus put on the gun responsible, nor its manufacturer. In any other arena, should over 30,000 people get killed by any single type of object in a year, we, the public, would cry out for all the statistics on the make, model, age and condition of the thing responsible.
Thus my research project; for each person listed as killed on the Gun Violence Archive on the 1st of January, 2017, I am finding out what make and model of gun killed them, (or my best estimation thereof,) to draw a picture of what that gun looked like.
And when I have a picture of those weapons, I’m going to make a wearable piece of jewellery that incorporates every f*cking one of them.
The one in which I talk about going to the Smitten Forum in Jan of this year. It was ace. Reminiscing continues within, with pictures.
I talked up my participation in SmittenForum briefly before it happened. And then it happened from the 27th of December until the 3rd of January, at Ghost Ranch (yes, of Georgia O’Keffe fame) in New Mexico. And I’ve been meaning to share it ever since. So, what is it? Well, it’s the brain child of two jewellers Sarah Brown and Marissa Saneholtz, who, from what I can tell, are best buds with complimentary admin skills. They like to work and holiday together, so while they’re at it, they gather a group of wonderful beings at a different location each year to join in working and playing together for a week. This year’s crew was: Sarah Perkins, Melissa Cameron, Bryan Petersen, Cappy Counard, Cheryl Rydmark, Tanya Crane, Rebekah Frank, Anika Smulovitz, Don Friedlich, Laritza Garcia, Leslie LePere, Hannah Oatman and the two aforementioned heroes Marissa Saneholtz and Sara Brown.
Our rag-tag team of local legends and talented artists from all over the country (and, it has to be said, one random from Australia via the PNW,) got together, cooked up a storm and enjoyed a wonderful creative week – that is if you weren’t one of our number downed with the super-flu and confined to quarters for most of the week. There was relative isolation which added to the atmosphere, though there was the obligatory patchy wireless internet and cell/mobile phone reception and we were only a 15 minute drive from the local store. We weren’t completely slumming it, and we were just one hour or so from a fancy resort with hot springs… Of course we went! Well, some of us 😉
I took the opportunity to gather scraps from my studio (nails Turbo pulled from sundry pieces of furniture in the basement when disassembling obstacles to the team who put in the french drains last year, washers found on the street and offcuts from my latest chain series, for example,) and sandblast them before I left. Once there, when not hiking and photographing, I was able to enamel them thanks to Sarah who lugged her kiln across the country. With this strange array of bits and pieces I created a bunch of little meditations (or sketches if you’re feeling more generous) on a theme of realignment and repair. The parts formed new coalitions (in the coalescence sense of the root word), aided by their recently acquired visual uniformity. I have plans for all the metal I magpied (past participle of magpie, v: to pick up shiny [or often rusty] discarded objects in the street) while in Marfa, TX, last year, and this was my attempt at a trial run. I could not resist the local soil though, so that became a feature too, as did a few rocks “sampled” on a hike.
It’s a really special place. If you ever have the opportunity to go, leap at it. I believe it operates as a summer camp that has art and jewellery classes. And certainly don’t equivocate if the super-duo Marissa and Sara ever get in touch.
We were all smitten.
(You’ll have to ask Sara and Marissa who I stole that last line from 😉 )
The resistance is handmade – here’s where to get your hands on it.
And so too is my line of jewellery, entitled Resist.
The ÿ neckpiece is the latest addition to the series, and yes, it is the type of welded steel chain one might normally use to doubly secure one’s trailer to the hitch at the back of the car. I got it at my local hardware store (Shout out to 5 Corners Hardware – yes, not to be confused with the 5 Spot – a diner also in Queen Anne, or 5 Point Cafe, just down the road in Belltown. If you’ve not visited Seattle, and Queen Anne especially, the crosswalk motif is ‘at least 5 lanes of traffic, awkwardly conjoined’ and is somehow considered a whimsical feature. Shout out to Sydney, AU, I know you know this scene…) a year or so ago when contemplating chains for my piece for Boris Bally’s gun show Imagine. This length has thus been hanging on the door to my basement studio for long enough to leave semi-circular marks as the chain frequently arced across the door, tethered by a single nail.
I was gradually sandblasting every scrap of steel chain I could come up with in my studio, and one day I was sitting at my enamel bench when I realised there was one I hadn’t tried. Cut to 20 minutes later, after hand sawning a sacrificial link *twice* in order to separate it from the rest of the length (the chain is just too thick to try and bend to get away with one cut alone), I was hugging the sandblaster in my usual fashion. Because zinc is a neurotoxin at just about the same temperature that enamel fires, it pays to assiduously remove all traces of galvanisation. Once blasted, I painted on a pretty swatch of my favourite blue of the day, fired, and viola! I had a beautiful chain, that read ‘ÿ’ in binary, because, well, ÿ are we in this mess…?
And in case you’re new, ÿ binary, or even, ÿ blue?
In the Resist system of binary/ascii* communication, the 0’s and 1’s of binary code are switched from numbers to colors, gray and blue respectively. By individually enameling each part of a piece in the correct sequence, I encode words like ‘no’ onto earrings, or ‘resist’ onto pins and neckpieces.
So why blue? Because that color is the opposite of orange on the traditional color wheel.
These little messages in jewellery form are each hand-made and hand-enamelled in stainless steel, with titanium rivets and ear hooks on the ‘Resist tile’ pieces. They are very reasonably priced, and in some sort of seasonal coincidence, all of my stores have just been resupplied! What [in]credible timing!
Please go check out these pretties ‘in the real’ in Australia at:
And if you’re around Seattle’s U district this coming Friday, Danaca Design is having its first ever Black Friday Jewelry Sale!
Tis the season to buy into the beautifully handmade resistance.
As ever, 5% the artist’s price from this series goes to Islamic Relief USA, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit humanitarian agency, whose work includes domestic and international development and relief projects.
*gotta put ASCII in there or I’ll have to face a nerd uprising
Monday – gun day, 2. Click through to see what 33,636 guns looks like.
Wow, a whole week has rolled around without an intervening post – sorry team, that wasn’t mean to happen, but the Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium took over my focus late last week (from making works for Bilk Gallery in Canberra – more on that soon…) and the whole weekend, and what can I say, it was a CORKER! The best yet. If you’re ever in the area for the third weekend in October, you HAVE to head to it. And I can say this with unbiased hand to unbiased heart, as I’ve been off the organising committee a full two symposia now 😉
So, it’s Monday – gun day, part II.
I have a bunch of gun research that stretches back to 2012, which I’ve decided to start sharing, and lucky for y’all, this seems to be the obvious place. I’m not trying to trigger anyone, so if you’re not keen on following this line of thought, know that on Monday (Tuesday in some time-zones,) there will be posts generated as a result of my past and ongoing gun research.
The above images comes from a really interesting post that I first saw a couple of years ago, in 2015. I see it semi-regularly, as the post has been open in my web-browser since the day I came across it. I found it really arresting, but I didn’t know what to do with it. It’s so affecting, however, that I now count it amongst my always-open tabs (there are a random assortment of site alongside this, not just my mail client.) When I occasionally run across it, I’ll again scroll through to see what 33,636 guns looks like.
The author of this really unusual ‘article’, Matt Haughey writes; “According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2013 all deaths due to firearms in the US amounted to 33,636 people.” He found a unique and very compelling way to visualise this, which proves really ‘sticky’ (you know what I mean?), at least to my brain.
Melissa’s work from 2013/14 called The Gun has sold to the Museum of Art at the University of Iowa
In a not-so-happy coincidence, on the same day that many of us found out about the latest mass killing in the USA, I received the cheque for the sale of my Gun work to the University of Iowa Museum of Art.
So here’s a little about work, for which I began the research in December 2012, and finally finished the last part of about a year later, in early 2014.
The work Gun (a suite of three wearable pieces) is from the Escalation series. The works in Escalation are each made from domestic objects, taken out of their usual context and transformed into loaded jewels. Together the complete series reflects thousands of years of human history, the history we have of making weapons of war. The works (there is at least two wearable items for each ‘piece’) are loosely grouped into branches, based on the proximity to which the assailant would have to have to the victim (and vice versa) when used, which makes the whole Escalation project into a kind of family tree of tools for killing.
The Gun work is the Sword’s companion on one branch, as I see the gun as the successor to the sword in close combat situations. Rifles were the earliest effective firearms, so it was not a huge leap to use the Bushmaster XM15-E2S as my gun archetype. Sold as a hunting rifle in the USA, it is “a variant of the AR-15 first built by ArmaLite,”[i] “as an assault rifle for the United States armed forces.” (also known as the M16)[ii]. This Bushmaster is the weapon that was used for the Newtown massacre in 2012. If you see the whole series together, it becomes more obvious that this piece is the only one in my Escalation series that does not focus the wartime outcomes of a particular weapon. In making this exception, I wanted to make the point that these military grade weapons are available far too easily to the citizens of the US, and thus are in the homes and lives of ordinary people, which results in the premature deaths of this country’s most vulnerable citizens.
I made this piece from a strangely long and slightly medical-looking tray I bought new, at Daiso. I gave it 30 full-sized NATO shells (I chose there to depict the military round rather than the hunting round made by Remington), as 30 is the magazine’s capacity. I made 77 holes in the tray in the unfired bullet diameter, and strung the 77 cutouts on steel cable, which together add up to the 154 bullets expended within the school. The gun is made at 1:4 scale, making it very obvious to wear and more realistic than the miniature gun bling that is occasionally in fashion. The neckpiece with the 77 cutouts is 15m/40′ long, to represent, again at 1:4 scale (full scale being at least 60m/197′) the minimum distance that the shooter would have traversed inside of the school. I read the police report and literally plotted the shooter’s movements onto a floor plan of the school that I found online, to calculate the approximate length.
Finally, in all the pictures that accompany this series, I am wearing the works. They are photos I took of myself, by myself, and when these works are shown, they were a part of the display. It is important that the works, and the troubling histories that they represent, are on me. Like they are on all of humanity. And I for one am not at all happy about it.
[i] ‘AR-15’. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 26 April 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=AR-15&oldid=551188045.