If your answer to the above question is yes, come join me in my studio for the next six or so months. In this link (click on the Live Stream link – if it’s there, I’m in the studio) you can see live footage of me as I work on hand sawing a piece from a few 3m x 82cm sheets of custom orb steel.
So if you’re tired of all the usual options: a/ you have no need of boiled water b/ your grass is in hibernation c/ you can’t possibly bear witness to any more paint drying… come take a peek into my studio. And if you’re not in the mood now, don’t worry, this one will take some time (that’s kinda the point) so feel free to check in later.
My studio is finally back on line after a 5-month hiatus, during which time Bruce and I have moved country, sold a house in the USA, bought a house in Australia, made some minor renovations to the place and celebrated the closing of a year and the beginning of a new one. I did not stop working entirely but I did take advantage of the studio down-time to slow down a bit. The year proceeding the move was intense, but it was planned that way knowing that there would be some down-time immediately after our US exit, which in the end worked great. It has taken a month since the unpacking began to get my office and studio back in working order, and while I have a few tweaks left to do for full functionality in the studio (anyone have a drill press or air compressor going cheap?) the non-studio work on upcoming exhibitions and other events never really ceased. Which brings me to the latest news:
The Adorn exhibition and Driven to Adorn forum
The Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia – Western Australian (JMGAWA) branch is hosting a member exhibition at the City of Joondalup Art Gallery from 18 March-12 April 2019, and local craft thinker Carola Akindele-Obe of Maker and Smith is presenting a day of conversation with well-known local makers to coincide with the show on 24 March. And if that’s not enough, local legends Sarah Elson and Claire Townend will be teaching one-day classes of their respective specialties the following weekend; cuttlebone casting and enameling. I learned how to cast with Sarah in high school – in an uncharacteristic display I believe I drew and made a butterfly (in a surprise twist I was not actually influenced by Sarah’s superb Moth series as I believe they came later) – while Claire was my teacher when I went back to Curtin to dabble in jewellery in 2005. I’d not be where I am today without these two engaging instructors who are also thoughtful makers.
The Driven to Adorn conversation on March 24th will feature Katherine Kalaf, who in her Cottesloe gallery played host to significant international artist including – very memorably – the recent Loewe Prize shortlisted artist Giovanni Corvaja. Katherine’s space and the makers she attracted were an inspiration to me in my early career, and she was one of my first stockists. After Katherine’s presentation the Driven to Adorn forum will move into a 6×6 presentation, in which I will be one of the six local makers to present six minutes on an aspect of their practice. The full listing of ‘sixers’ for the afternoon is:
2-5pm 24 Mar 2019 (Includes afternoon tea and an invitation to a viewing of the Adorn exhibition after the forum)
Joondalup Reception Centre, Boas Avenue, Joondalup
Places are limited to 30 and there are 16 spots left (as of 15.2.19)
Checking the date stamps will tell you that this post has been a month in the making, so thankfully I do have something pretty special to share for the elapsed time. Last week we had an offer accepted on a new house – 6 weeks to the day after arriving in Perth. It settles in January, so then we’ll finally be able to unpack our shipping container (which is now in storage) and I’ll be able to set up my studio and get back to work in earnest. In the mean time I’ve been compelled and coerced into a couple of seasonal shows.
For my fellow West-Australians, I’m going to be at two exhibition openings/Christmas parties on the 7th of December, where I’ll be showcasing some enamel works that I brought back to the country with me. For my fellow Perthlings and the nearby Freo dwellers, this is the first time that my works have been on display west-side since 2014. Catch you early at:
Galvanise Artsource Member Exhibition
Opening 6pm – 8pm and running until January 5.
Old Customs House
8 Phillimore Street, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia
Open 10am – 4pm daily, excepting December 24-28, (these dates inclusive)
Select wonderful Christmas* gifts of hand-made jewellery by ContemporaryMetal practitioners and W.A. contemporary jewellers.
6pm-8:30pm, December 7th – one night only!
Unit 6 · 77-79 Howe Street
Osborne Park, WA 6019
In the first exhibition see some enamel pieces that have never been sighted on this side of the country, and in the Contemporary Metal show, some pieces never before seen on these shores.
(*why do Aussies, and I’d probably add Brits in there too, use Christmas as the all-encompassing seasonal word, often notwithstanding their own religious denomination, while the US and Canada say Holiday/s? All answers accepted. [Including – you’re clearly white trash, Melissa, we don’t use that Christian word here.])
This is it, folks, the last enamel class I’m scheduled to teach in the USA before I head back to Australia in October.
Come on down to Danaca Design in the U district of Seattle for the 16th-17th of June. We’re going to concentrate on Enameling Recycled Steel for Jewelry. Bring your hat and sun lotion, we’re going to walk the neighbourhood to find some of our materials on the street – basically duplicating how I tend to live my life – before we start on Saturday morning. There’s a construction site down the street right now, so who knows what riches we may find? I’ve been working up to taking a whole class for a walk like this for a while, so I hope I’ll have a few courageous souls who’ll be interested in trying it out with me.
And yes, we’ll do some enameling on steel chain. I’ll bring the chain 😉
I already put this news out on the socials (look at me, writing like the kids talk), so apologies for the duplication, and also I’m sorry if this is brand new to you, (it may not be the most sympathetic forum to tell y’all) but… We’re moving back to Australia in October.
Which makes this the second last opportunity that US folk have to join in a workshop with me while I’m still a full-time resident. I absolutely intend to come back and visit everyone, but getting working visas and employment authorization have only become more difficult the longer I have lived here, so who knows when I’ll be able to do this again.
The final weekend workshop I have scheduled is on the weekend of the 16th-17th of June at Danaca Design in the U district of Seattle. There we’re going to concentrate on Enameling Recycled Steel for Jewelry. That class will be some of the same, but also a little different since we’re going to walk the neighbourhood to find some of our materials on the street – basically duplicating how I tend to live my life. I’ve been working up the courage to take this risk with a whole class for a while, so I hope I’ll have a few courageous souls who’ll be interested in trying it out with me 😉
But same goes for this weekend! If you’re in the area and have ever thought “Hmm, an enamel class sounds good, but I have to do my Spring cleaning – I’ll get the next one”, maybe… you know..
*Enameling and firing steel chain has some quirks, so there’s a few tricks and tips that I’ve figured out in my practice that I’ll be sharing. And of course it comes along with all the usual info, much of which crosses over into all forms of enameling.
(I’m just repeating myself to the German speakers…)
The Enamelist Society (TES) would like to know what’s going on in the wider world of enamel, and somehow Anne Havel has roped me in to write a little something for their newsletter. That’s where you come in, with the whole email-me shenanigans.
If you in an upcoming enamel exhibition, or have enamel works in an upcoming show that you don’t think I’m familiar with; if you have you seen a cool collection that you’d like to share with the greater world of enamelists; or if you are leading a workshop, or doing a residency, or are in the know about some enamel event that needs more media coverage, then…
Drop me an email!
Include details, dates, images (with artist and photographer captions at the very least) and other relevant info, and I’ll personally add your secret spices to the gumbo that is the TES newsletter. And I’ll email you back, though probably not until within a week of the next first-of-the-month deadline.
enamel (at) melissacameron (dot) net
☝ add the @ and the . and lose the spaces. obviously.
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!
Got a hankering to try out some experimental enameling? Join us to find out how straightforward and un-fussy enameling can be. We’re going to work on all types of steel – including that which we find on the street – to make beautifully enamelled jewels and objects, with the addition of porcelain enamel that will be applied in its liquid form.
I always look forward to these classes because of the way people surprise themselves when confronted with a medium that can be used in such diverse ways; behaving like watercolor, spray paint or even sand. Its versatility enables each maker to leverage their mastery in traditional materials – say even pencil and markers – and then make permanent the results by literally baking them on.
And hey, it’s in “beautiful, downtown Oakland, California!”
(Thanks to Roman Mars of the 99% Invisible podcast for being the indelible voice in my head for that line 😉 )
Announcing more stuff! Here’s some other things that I’ll be doing over the coming months:
March: Starting March 18th I’ll be in an exhibition curated by the irrepressible Maggie Smith (not the dame, but a grande dame) called Tech in Craft. So far we have two dates, from the 18th-27th of March at Libbie Mill Library, Henrico Co Virginia, and then directly after at CodeVA’s Eureka Workshop, Richmond VA until May 5th. These are non-traditional exhibitions venues as this series of exhibits is focused on education, so I can’t wait to see what people have to say! More on this shortly.
Studio disruption – Also in March we’ll be having our basement – aka my studio space – waterproofed. On the place side I won’t have to navigate through the space on pontoons during the wet season (and being Seattle, it rains only a paltry nine months.) but on the down side I have to pack up the studio to keep the sensitive equipment – and the sandblaster – away from the dust. (It is well timed to sort out the taxes though…)
May: From the 9th of May I’ll have work in a show at the new Studio 2017 Project Space in Sydney organised by the impressive Sarah Heyward, entitled:
FORCES: Strength and Fluidity in contemporary jewellery and object practice using steel – the dirty metal
Also in May: Along with everyone else I’ll be at the SNAG Conference in New Orleans – come along to the Trunk Show where I’ll have my little collection (including some of the RESISTance) laid out and bag yourself a pretty.
July: I’ll be speaking at the Association for Contemporary Jewellery’s 20:20 Visions Conference in Sheffield in the UK. My presentation will be on my work, and the political turn it has taken which began at a residency I undertook at the University of the West of England in 2011.
August: It’s looking very likely that I’ll head over to Arrowmont for the Enamel Society Conference, where you can see my previously mentioned latest attempt at curating, the exhibition Plate Glass.
At Arrowmont I’ll also have works in the exhibition Alchemy4, the 16th Juried International Enamel Exhibition, sponsored by the Enamelist Society. So please come along to see that too! I plan to be there for the opening on the 4th of August. After Gatlinburg the show will tour, first to the Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus, OH and then beginning early in 2018 it will be exhibited at the National Ornamental Metals Museum, Memphis, TN.
September: In the first week of this month I’ll be teaching an enameling workshop as a part of the Radical Enameling Workshop series presented by the Center for Enamel Art at The Crucible in Oakland, California.