Going to Greenville

Sovereign Body/Contested Body. Stainless steel, titanium, vitreous enamel, 2017

That title sounds like a John Darnielle song…

I’m on my way to East Carolina University for the Material Topics Symposium which begins tomorrow. Eep! I’ve just checked out the action packed schedule, and Nadia, Adam and co. have given us a Sophie’s Choice for the breakout sessions on Saturday morning. Or maybe to keep up with the parlance of the kids, it’s a Hunger Games kind of scenario. Now I’ve said it, the idea of seeing Stone vs Cooperman in a battle does tickle me, but to the death might be going a bit far. Though something tells me that Matty Lambert could (albeit with a heavy conscience – which would make for a gripping finale,) take them all out. However, I’ve not met Kimberly Winkle, so she is the dark horse in this competition. From the few images I’ve googled, I feel like she could be an unassuming type (not necessarily a closet killer, but it’s always the quiet ones, y’know?), so I’m not ready to lay any bets…

Anyway, that bout of creative writing (I think I’ve been cooped up too long today…) has not helped me to triage the list at all, so it remains to be seen who I will end up learning from on Saturday. But there’s time to influence me if you have any intel on ways to break the Cooperman-Lambert-Stone-Winkle dead heat. What I do know is that I’m on last on Sat afternoon, so if you have been on the fence, you still have time to head on over and check out what has been manifesting in my basement since I got to the US in 2012. And to catch the infectious Mike Holmes, a literal treasure-trove of information and history about the industry.

Though you will have missed the slew of openings scheduled for tomorrow night, as well as the keynote slot by Andy. Yeah, you should probably leave now.

In case it wasn’t obvious, I’m really looking forward to this one.

Deconstruct/Reconstruct

It’s taking me a few years, but I’m finally going to the annual East Carolina University Material Topics Symposium – entitled Deconstruct/Reconstruct – in January. It’s going to be amazing – the list of speakers and break-out presenter list is incredible! Am I just saying that because a bunch of my friends are going to be talking and I’m really looking forward to catching up with them all?

Of course not!

Where else are you going to see Mike Holmes reveal what he learned at Velvet da Vinci, and Andy Cooperman lecture and deliver a break-out on tool tips, or have the beautiful Matt Lambert deliver a break-out session? And then back it up with the vivacious Jina Seo and Harlan W. Butt! And this is me cherry picking – I don’t want to leave out the inimitable Judy Stone… Or Lisa Klakulak! Seriously – look at the list and the exhibitions too. And, hey, if you’re lucky, I might also have a few things to say 🙂

See y’all in Greenville.

US Exhibitions: North & South

One half of Quatrefoil Trio by Melissa Cameron, pieces made for a work in collaboration with Sean Macmillan, 2015. On display at BAM

The Bellevue Arts Museum is hosting an enormous group exhibition Making our Mark: Art by Pratt Teaching Artists, which went live at a grand party for the artists (and there’s a tonne of us) at the start of November. There are too many local legends to name; jewellers, wood-workers, painters, sculptors and of course the Northwest’s favourite, glass artists, so I’ll just mention me, and the very famous glass artist who happens to live across the street from me (!) Preston Singletary. We’re finally in a show together! One day I’ll work up the courage to tell him 😉

Also just opened is a show at form & concept center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, called Smitten Forum. So what is Smitten Forum, then?

Call it a mobile artist colony, a colorful social experiment or a crafty piece of performance art. Each year since 2014, Sara Brown and Marissa Saneholtz have invited a new group of pioneering jewelers and metalsmiths to work side-by-side in a communal studio for 7 days. The initiative is called Smitten Forum, and invitees range from emerging to well-established makers who employ a staggering array of mediums and techniques. This year’s participants are headed to Abiquiu, New Mexico in late December, but they’ll also leave their mark on the nearby art center of Santa Fe. The form & concept shop is pleased to present the Smitten Forum exhibition, which features wearable artwork from all of this year’s artists.

And now it is also an exhibition, with this year’s Smitten cohort exhibiting: Sarah Perkins, Melissa Cameron, Bryan Petersen, Cappy Counard, Cheryl Rydmark, Tanya Crane, Rebekah Frank, Anika Smulovitz, Don Friedlich, Laritza Garcia, Leslie LePere, Hannah Oatman, Marissa Saneholtz and Sara Brown

It opened on the 24th of November and finishes on the 6th of January. And Smitten Forum itself? Yes, this year I’ll close out my year hanging with that awesome crew, at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Yes, the Ghost Ranch that Georgia O’Keffee lived and worked at.

Tales in the making.

A plethora

of exhibitions contain my work right now!

Social Unit, 2017

Beijing International Jewelry Exhibition 2017 has some of my enamel works, and it has a short run, from November 18-26, 2017 at Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology Park (BIFTPARK)

Itami International Jewellery Exhibition in Japan also began on November 18 and runs until December 24, 2017. I’m pleased to share that I was awarded one of the Judge’s Choice prizes for the Social Unit series (above) in this years Itami!

And finally, Bilk gallery has White Christmas, for which I made a few new goodies, like the ornament below, and some jewels to go along with them of course. Because who doesn’t want to match their decor this celebration season?

Wreath ornament, 2017

Monday – gun day

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
60m
(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. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=AR-15&oldid=551188045.

[ii] Ibid.

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Speaking Out Exhibition – opens Wednesday

Speaking Out: Art & Politics in Words
September 27, 2017 – November 10, 2017
Openings: 1-3pm and 5-7pm on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Speaking Out highlights artists who use words as the basis of their work, creating pieces that inspire discussion around topics of political and social justice. What are the words necessary to start the discussion or argument, to pull people together or apart? How can language be used to share, to trivialize or to provoke? Can a word help you to see what it is like in the shoes of another? And how can a word of indifference end a discussion? We hope that you will see the work in the gallery as a starting place for conversation around topics that are highlighted in current events and contemporary activism.

Participating Artists:
Antonius Bui
Melissa Cameron
Satpreet Kahlon
Deborah Faye Lawrence
Holly Martz
Hanako O’Leary
Spooky Boobs Collective
Chris Walla
Matthew Whitney

Please come meet us at the second opening on Wednesday!

Enamel Class – September

Coat hanger experiments, 2012. Steel, vitreous enamel, silver solder

The Center for Enamel Art in California has invited me to lead one of their Radical Enameling workshops, so I’m headed to The Crucible in Oakland from the 6th – 8th of September for:

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

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 😉 )

Forces now on in Sydney!

Forces –  10.5.17 – 27.5.17

Fluidity and strength in contemporary jewellery and object practice using steel – the dirty metal
Closing drinks and Artists Talk on Saturday 27th May 2-4pm

An exhibition of contemporary steel art by a selected range of jewellery and object makers, curated by Melbourne artist Sarah Heyward.

The use of steel in contemporary jewellery and object practice is intriguing.  Whilst traditionally used for manufacturing purposes, steel is seductive with a beautiful luster and sheen. Investigations into industrial landscapes, enamel on steel, heat treatment methods, and the repurposed object are all areas in which notable makers have been exploring and engaging with this material within their practice.

“This exhibition explores themes around fluidity and strength in our everyday lives. The push Melisse-Cameron-necklace-neckpeice-forcesand pull of our environment, both in the natural world and political sphere, the forces, which make us feel both fragile and insignificant but also powerful and resilient. At a time where we face potential environmental catastrophes, nature – in which many artists find inspiration – reminds us how merciless the earth’s forces can be. This exhibition hopes to act as a celebration of steel as a material and also the investigations we undertake to make the material speak.” – Sarah Heyward

On Saturday 27th May there will be an Artist Talk accompanied with celebratory drinks from 2-4pm. The artists speaking are Sarah Heyward, Susan Buchanan, and Lindy McSwan; all welcome.

Artists participating: Sarah Heyward, Jin ah Jo, Lindy McSwan, Melissa Cameron, Alicia Carriero, and Susan Buchanan, Inari Kiuru.

Check out the show here:

Studio 20/17 Project Space
53 Ridge Street, North Sydney
Open: 11 – 5 Tues – Sat
+61 411 808 274

or the rest of the images of work on the Studio 20/17 website. It’s a beauty, and I really wish I could be there for the talks, I want to know how the brains work on all three of the attending artists.

Drawing the Line @ Facèré in Seattle

“Attempts to kill…” 2016

I’m really pleased to share the Drone works (half of which is in the image above) will be showing alongside the the Drawing the Line exhibition at Facèré Jewelry Art when it opens this Wednesday, May 3rd, in downtown Seattle. Come to the opening lecture from 4pm to hear me talk about the works in the show – the new additions to the Body/Politic series, and their progenitor, the Drone series.

May 3, 2017 – May 23, 2017
Lecture: Wednesday, May 3 at 4:00 PM
Reception: Wednesday, May 3 at 5:00 PM

SMG and the Wawona

Wawona – Pixel by pixel, 2017. Wawona wood, titanium, stainless steel

Launched in 1897, the Wawona was the largest three-masted sailing schooner ever built in North America. The ship was used to haul lumber up and down the Pacific Coast and used in the Bering Sea codfishing trade. In 1970 the Wawona became a National Historic Site and she was the first ship in the nation to be listed on the National Register. In 2009 she was deemed too expensive to restore and was demolished.

Come and see what the Seattle Metals Guild have done with the pieces of the ship that were not made into the huge sculpture by John Grade at MOHAI (that’s the Museum of History and Industry for all y’all not in the PNW [Pacific North West – and yes, I did that one to be facetious 😉 .])

The exhibition opens at Northwind Arts Center May 6 – 5:30 pm

701 Water Street, Port Townsend, WA
Thursday – Monday, 11:30am-5:30pm
Tuesday – Wednesday, Noon-5pm
360-379-1086

May 4 – 29 | Opening and closing dates
May 6 – 5:30 pm – Opening Reception and Art Walk
May 7 – 1:00 pm – Art Talk
See Klimt02 for more teaser images, and the Northwind Arts Center page for extra info.