Monday – Gun Day

There’s a non-hilarious anecdote to open the proceedings, before we get back to the horror at hand.

When I wrote about Sir Bob Geldof a few weeks back, I forgot to insert my infinitesimal anecdote. My family were celebrating the 21st birthday of the youngest of my siblings a few years back at an ever-popular riverside restaurant in my home town of Perth…

Quick aside: about a week or so back, on finding out that I came from the western-most Australian capital city, my Lyft driver said, “Most isolated city in the world!” It’s the achingly familiar catch-cry of residents and visitors alike, to which I’m not sure that I actually hold because there are plenty of other contenders, like Auckland, or Honolulu, or others that you can google. BTW, Lyft-er had been to my home town, and proceeded to tell me about happy times spent at The Court Hotel and Connections. As my fellow Perthlings can attest, they knew how to have a good time!

…Anyway, sitting outdoors at fancy restaurant surrounded by large family-of-origin and their spouses, and who walks in to also sit on the balcony, but the aforementioned knighted gentleman! “WTF is he doing in Perth?” was on the lips of the collected Cameron party. Til someone remembered that it was St Patrick’s Day. In our defense, we were all focused on other celebrations – the birthday dinner had been slightly delayed to coincide with Turbo and I coming to town in time for the impending nuptials of a couple also seated at that table. March is a big month for me and my people 😉

St Patrick’s Day is also the anniversary of my move to the US, which happened in 2012. Yup, six years this Saturday. A little while back I realised that I’ve practiced here longer than I have – in either of my careers – within Australia. Explains a few things..

Well, that was an unusually gentle introduction. Now the guns.

We start this week in Cobb County, Georgia, where a Canton resident, Chad Erik Roberts (35) was killed by two officers of the Woodstock Police Department, Matt Davis and William Vincent. Roberts had first contact with the police at 10:09pm on the 31st of December, when he was stopped in a parking lot next to a gas station. From the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News:

“The driver of the vehicle initially spoke to the officer but then fled in his vehicle, striking the officer,” Rich said. “Officers with the Canton Police Department pursued the vehicle into the Woodstock area.”

Woodstock Police and Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office deputies joined in on the chase and a tire deflation device was used to disable Roberts’ vehicle, which came to a stop in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 near the Wade Green Road exit, investigators said.

“The driver exited the vehicle and presented a gun during contact with law enforcement,” Rich said. “Two officers with the Woodstock Police Department fired their weapons during the incident. The driver sustained gunshot wounds and died as a result of his injuries.”

Later in the same article, it states that, “The Canton officer who was hit by the man’s car was transported to a local hospital, treated and released, Canton Police Chief Mark Mitchell said.” while the two officers who shot Roberts were put on administrative leave pending an investigation.

With initial contact between the police and Rogers around 10pm – where he apparently ran over the foot of an officer as he departed – my thought was to double-check that this shooting was not misfiled as a January 1 event. But it turns out that at 2am, around four hours later, the shooting took place on the blocked-off interstate highway, once the victim/”driver exited the vehicle and presented a gun during contact with law enforcement.” (From the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.) If you think it sounds odd, you’re not alone, and it being an officer-involved crime has given it a bit of extra attention.

I was unable to find out anything about the guns of any of the people involved. The Woodstock Police Department falls in Cherokee County, GA, and after much research I found out that they carry the Glock 23. It’s not the best reference, but the neighbouring Cobb County PD publish in their policy documents that they use a Glock 22, so this choice has a bit of weight behind it. Georgia’s law enforcement seem to have a lot of Glocks in their register, and they probably belong to a huge swathe of the rest of the population due to Georgia’s “Guns Everywhere” laws, (Al Jazeera) as well as a couple of cities who have managed to make owning guns mandatory. (I am not linking to that data.) The 23 is meant to have the same dimensions as the Glock 19, excepting weight, to account for the slightly bigger round you can fire in the 23. And the 19 is a slightly scaled-down version of the 17, which is the first officer-fired gun that I drew in this series.

So here’s my second Glock, but the first drawing of a Glock 23. There’s two, one each for Davis and Vincent, the officers who fired on Rogers.

Glock 23
Glock 23

A mentally ill man, James E Lewis, was shot by police near Silver Springs Park, Missouri, at around 3:20am after other forms of pacification had failed. Lewis made the 9-1-1 call to the police revealing his location, during which he threatened to kill his wife – actually his domestic partner, who family members later said were in the process of breaking up. Police revealed that there had been 60 – 65 interactions with Lewis over the course of his life – from burglary to other mental health issues.

Lewis was on a bicycle and had a prolonged – 11 minute – encounter during which he fired his weapon (the officers did not feel threatened at this point so continued with other negotiation methods) and refused to speak with the officers. Only when he pointed the weapon at the officers from a distance of about 10 feet, did three of them open fire at Lewis. Officers Joshua Brown, Daniel Carlson and Brandon Gonzales have been placed on leave pending an investigation.

By contrast with the first incident this week, the guns that officers in the Springfield Police Department were easy to find in their Standard Operating Guidelines. The Department Issued Handgun is a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun. There are a lot of Glocks that take a 9mm cartridge, so I’m going to go with the one I used for the Chicago PD earlier, the Glock 17. Three of them, because of the three police who fired at Lewis.

Glock 17
Glock 17
Glock 17


Smitten Forum

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 Smitten Forum 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 post where I earnestly protest the current US government and ask you to help (since my personal protest is futile against that of a registered US voter.)

The post where I earnestly protest the current US government and ask you, if you are an American citizen, for your help.

I’m in the USA on a work visa. in fact, I’m the hanger-on, listed as a ‘dependent spouse’ on all the forms, so I can live with my husband, a valuable member of the US working class and the reason why they continue to let us in. All fine, exactly what I signed up for. As a non-resident (but resident) alien I obviously don’t get to vote, so my protests, many of which are documented here, have come in other ways, and will continue to come.

For this particular issue, however, making a plea to a US citizen is more appropriate than making art jewellery, so here I am.

The FCC votes on Net Neutrality in two days. Needless to say, if they reverse the Open Internet Order there will be a lot of big media companies deciding how the internet runs in a pay-for-play fashion, meaning the internet in all its diverse, incredible and sometimes just plain commonplace glory, is under threat. The New York Times, Tech Crunch and Wired all explain it better, but suffice to say, the way I do business, research, shop, eat, relax and play are all affected by the way I connect to the internet, and I don’t need yet another corporation coming between me and free and open access to all of that, and TO MY OWN DATA. (Such as this site.)

So as not to bore you all any longer, I sincerely ask all of you US citizens who have recourse to a senator to click one of the links below to register your protest:

Battle for the

Electronic Frontier Foundation

And while you do that, I’ll get the rest of the world ready to help you in your next fight.

Thank you.

Nancy’s Sewing Basket is closing

The store with my favourite room in all of Seattle is as old as me, and it’s closing…

This is my favourite room in all of Seattle:

I’ve written about this place before, because I love it, and it’s chief inhabitant (at least in the hours that I visit), the dedicated 77 year old ribbon mistress Susan Pasco.

But now it’s closing. I’ve been in three times since I got the email, and no doubt I’ll sneak in one more time before it closes. In one of my missions I bought a yard of wool binding that I promptly used on a Halloween jewel (see instagram). On finishing that piece I quick-marched back up there to get some more. On the second trip I got 3 yards, then Susan, having remarked on liking the colour both times she measured it out for me, said she was “Going to deep six the rest of this.” and piled it behind her, then shuffled papers over it. I look forward to what she makes out of it – more likely a suit than jewellery.

Anyway, the ribbon room does not look like that photo (from 2015) any longer,  it’s been well depleted already, but if you do want to stock up on vintage grosgrain, this might be your last chance.

Goodbye, dear friend.


Monday – gun day

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.

Gun (2013/2014) consists of:
154 @ 30 rpm – scale 1:4
(scale 1:4)
AR-15 (bandolier)

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.

[ii] Ibid.


Enamel workshop and talk – next week

Melissa will be enameling and talking about enameling for all comers in Oakland next week. Come along!

HEAT II in stainless steel, vitreous enamel and titanium, 2016. Image of the wall work and brooch, as installed at Arrowmont.

There’s a day or so left to register for my upcoming workshop in Oakland next week:

Enameling Recycled Steel for Jewelry and Objects – a workshop with Melissa Cameron

I will be sticking around in Oakland to attend day one of a weekend of large scale enameling at KVO Industries on the 9th, which is super-exciting. Knowing that I have plans to make some more panel-based works in the next year or so for a show in the UK, I’m looking to up my large-format game, and since Judy Stone at the Center for Enamel Art – all-round champion of enamel and artists – suggested I do it, how could I refuse? Not that my moderate-panel game appears to be too shabby, as I recently won a prize for Wall Works (for the above) in the Enamelist Society Alchemy 4 Juried Exhibition!

I’ll also be giving a free public lecture next Wednesday night at California College of the Arts:

“From a tamper-proof fence to Body Politic – my enamel journey so far” 7:30pm, Nahl Hall, Oakland Campus, 5212 Broadway (map)

Looking forward to spending time in the heat after just finishing up my Aussie shenanigans of the past few weeks. Northern Summer, come at me!

social unit

Melissa is showing a collection of new works in the Drawing the Line exhibiiton at Facèré in Seattle, starting May 3rd.

social unit*

stainless steel, vitreous enamel, titanium

Introducing the ‘social unit’ pieces \/|- . Once again the binary sequence (rendered using enamel in different skin tones) in each neckpiece spells out the same two words, ‘social unit’. The unfurled pieces (in the image social unit *) give little hint to their original format.

These works will be on show at Facèré Jewelry Art in the exhibition Drawing the Line which opens on the 3rd of May in downtown Seattle. Come to the opening lecture from 4pm to hear me talk about these and their friends, the Body/Politic  and Drone works.

5 years

I moved to the USA. Everything changed. Nothing changed.

Australia and the USA from the Coat Hanger series, 2012. Recycled steel, steel, vitreous enamel.

St Patrick’s day; the middle day of 3 straight days of anniversaries, for me. From the image above I think it’s easy enough to guess what happened to me on the 17th of March 2012. My life, my work, everything changed. But, one can say that about every day that we get to share on this planet. For me, this last 5 years has been full of days like these.

Radical Jewelry Makeover

Radical Jewelry Makeover. It’s like a perpetual motion machine, which if you think about it really fits their mission, don’t you think?

The work made for our friends over at RJM is on tour again, and right now it’s stopped in New Mexico:
Radical Jewelry Makeover Artist Project
Through February 19
form & concept
There’s a great write up at the Santa Fe Arts Journal, as well as a short and informative artist talk given by Jenn Carroll Wilson, one of the exhibition artists, over at form and concept’s website.


The Imagine show featuring decommissioned weapons is on soon in Boston.

It feels as though it’s getting harder to imagine every day, but if you’re keen for a refresher on what’s at stake if we can’t find a way to work together, the IMAGINE show is a great start. And it’s not all doom and gloom, there’s a dark sense of humour driving several of these works. If you’re in the area please head to the newly relocated Society of Arts and Crafts at 100 Pier 4 Boulevarde, Suite 100, in Boston from 6-9pm on Thursday the 23rd of February for the opening.

This is the second stop for this exhibition, which is running for quite a time, so you have until June to see a sobering collection of metal art made from decommissioned weapons seized by the Pittsburgh Police Department. If you can’t get along, there is a pretty amazing catalogue in the works which I’m sure will be available in Boston, and I’ll post the details of where you can source it from elsewhere very soon.