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.

🙈

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

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

Master Makers and Toowoomba Contemporary Wearables open SOON!

East Coast of Australia exhibitions is where it’s at this week, and next.

I have works in two exhibitions starting Thursday and Friday of this week.

If you’re in Melbourne have a great time at #RadPav, I’ll see you at the next one for sure. If you’re in Toowoomba this is my first Contemporary Wearables for a few years (you have to be in Australia to apply). It’s great to be back!

MasterMakers has an invite-only opening on Thursday, with guest speaker Virginia Trioli (!)

Contemporary Wearables ’19 is open to all by RSVP, details on the invitation below. National treasure (and my mentor) Marian Hosking will be at the opening as the judge of the awards. If only I weren’t headed to Canberra the next day. I know the collection of jewellery there is very impressive, I hope to get to see it one day.

MasterMakers at RMIT Gallery:

RMIT Gallery, Building 16, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Since the 1970s, leading Australian and international Gold and Silversmithing artists have delivered and participated in masterclasses in the RMIT School of Art which has had a profound impact on the training of the craft in Australia.

This major exhibition explores the masterclass legacy, showcasing both recent works of the visiting ‘master makers’ and work produced at the master classes, as well as recording the cultural, artistic and technical shift in contemporary jewellery and object. 

Curator Mark Edgoose

Featuring artists: Ruby Aitchison, Helen Aitken-Kuhnen, Robert Baines, Nicholas Bastin, Peter Bauhuis, Dianne Beevers, Doris Betz, Renee Bevan, David Bielander, Julie Blyfield, Zoe Brand, Helen Britton, Sue Buchanan, Melissa Cameron, Bifei Cao, Pamela Chan, Yu Fang Chi, David Clarke, Anna Clynes, Katie Collins, Conversation Piece (Beatrice Brovia & Nicholas Cheng), Anna Davern, Helen Dilkes, Bin Dixon-Ward, Joungmee Do, Mark Edgoose, Sian Edwards, Ian Ferguson, Karl Fritsch, Emi Fukuda, Eli Giannini, Kiko Gianocca, Allona Goren, Rowena Gough, Wayne Guest, Caz Guiney, Marcos Guzman, Mary Hackett, Kirsten Haydon, Peter Hoogeboom, Marian Hosking, Katherine Hubble, Linda Hughes, David Huycke, Naoko Inuzuka, Kazuhiro Itoh, Nicole Jacquard, Tassia Joannides, Cara Johnson, Hermann Jünger, Jiro Kamata, Jung-Hoo Kim, Inari Kiuru, Wendy Korol, Daniel Kruger, Otto Künzli, Andrew Last, Benjamin Lignel, Sue Lorraine, Carlier Makigawa, Stefano Marchetti, Marion Marshall, Chris Massey, Claire McArdle, Kelly McDonald, Lindy McSwan, Sam Mertens, Karl Millard, Yutaka Minegishi, Marc Monzó, Shelley Norton, Michaela Pegum, Jana Roman, Lucy Sarneel, Elise Sheehan, Debbie Sheezel, Bettina Speckner, Michelle Stewart, Leah Teschendorff, Elizabeth Turrell, Renée Ugazio, Manon van Kouswijk, Michael Wong and Aurelia Yeomans.

Contemporary Wearables ’19

531 Ruthven St, Toowoomba.

We are honoured to have one of Australia’s most respected metalsmiths,  Marian Hosking, selecting this year’s Award Prize winners and making suggestions for collection acquisitions.

The selection panel this year was Simon Cottrell, Lecturer / Researcher, Gold and Silversmithing Workshop, ANU School of Art & Design, Claire Sourgnes CEO Artisan, and Chloë Powell Curator and Exhibitions Manager, Craft Victoria / Co-founder and Director, Radiant Pavilion: Melbourne Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial. The Gallery team is very grateful to them for their valuable contribution in selecting the exhibition.

Marfa, TX

mapping the places I picked up bits of discarded steel in Texas

In 2017 I went on vacation to Marfa, TX, with Bruce and Elaine. It’s 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.

This map shows what I found where, and when.

click on a point to see the find in that location

Melbourne and Perth and Sydney – events to get y’all out of the studio

Short films and a performance; crafting experience as well as the object

Last Friday night I went to the Real to Reel Craft Film Festival here in Perth and it was incredible! Presented by local craft heroes Maker & Smith (organisers of workshops, talks and other beautifully thought-out and executed events) it is screening again this Friday night in Perth at Camelot Cinema. The fest is then touring to Melbourne – end of this month – and Sydney – early next – so check out that first link for dates. I love a short film fest, and this was one for the ages.

Also in Melbourne you have the Su san Cohn performance Meaninglessness in the middle of this month. Please go, it looks to be another powerful presentation from one of Australia’s finest jewellery thinkers. I look forward to living vicariously.