A couple of things to get close to your face and take in:
This is the last weekend for the Pratt Teaching Artists show Making Our Mark at the Bellevue Arts Museum. If you can’t get there in physical form, you can take this excellent online 3D tour. Now there’s some words I never thought I’d form into a sentence.. It’s a fun show, and the 3d-tour is a great way to experience it.
SNAG JaMS – the Society of North American Goldsmiths have put together a book of the best-of jewellery and metals for the ending September 2017. It’s really beautifully produced – kudos to the designers and Marissa Saneholtz, the editor, as well as the SNAG board who brought it into fruition. It’s an idea borrowed from the New Glass Review, made annually by the Corning Museum of Glass, that documents the most exceptional works in our field from the year just passed. Like that publication, it will hopefully grow into an indispensable record of the best and brightest in our field, and be read by generations to come. The production values certainly speak to that aspiration.
Check out this years edition via that first link above, and be sure to get prepared to make your submission later this year.
Missed our initial afternoon tea? Well you’re in luck, it’s Tea II – Electric Boogaloo
You might remember the invitation to Plate Glass, the enamel exhibition I recently curated, from a few weeks back. Well this is an invitation to the closing party. Yes, Sally at Fancy and I enjoyed our first Afternoon Tea so much that we’re doing it again!
Join us for closing shenanigans at Fancy;
1914 2nd Avenue, Seattle
any time between 2-5pm on Saturday the 10th of March. We’ll share some more apple crumble slice and another pot of tea 😉
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 to kill the 63 people who died in 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 63 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 😉 )
Afternoon tea at Fancy? Don’t mind if I do! Come for the plates, stay for the tea!
You are cordially invited to join me and Sally, staunch patron of the arts here in Seattle (and not to mention gallery owner), for afternoon tea tomorrow from 2pm. Come sip and munch delectable treats surrounded by beautiful art, in the freshly landscaped garden of delights that is Fancy, at 1914 2nd Ave, Seattle.
With exquisite treasures on show (such as the work by Nicolette Absil, pictured above and Steffi Götze, below) there will be something to surprise and impress even the most winter-weary residents of the Emerald City.
For those who simply can’t tomorrow, the exhibition closes March 10th.
(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.
Another Monday with more guns, more people dead. Researching a new work, online.
There’s been a bit more time for research today, and have been trying to get to stop at a point with a new gun introduced into the chain (beyond my alternating default pistols), but we’ll see if I make it that far.
First up, 31 year old Gregory Clark was killed by a “handgun” at 1:52am on January 1, 2017. A person named Charles Hundley (47) was arrested over the incident, which occurred at a New Year’s Eve house party. I could find nothing beyond handgun, so this shooting will be attributed to Default Pistol 1.
Kyle Androsky, 21, was shot and killed outside Third Base Bar in Superior, Wisconsin. His brother, David (27), was also shot in the chest but survived. A man has been taken into custody with having a firearm whilst on probation, but was not charged with the murder. With no information about this gun, aside from the bullets being found, this one is going to Default Pistol 2.
Jeffrey Gooden (60) was killed just before 1pm when attempting to break up an argument over a girl, identified as his daughter, not wearing shoes while outdoors. The matter escalated quickly with gunfire exchanged. He and a fellow resident of Riverview Park Apartments were shot. The other victim drove herself to hospital and was expected to make a full recovery, one of his daughter administer CPR, but he was pronounced dead at St John Medical Center. I found no gun details, while the police were making pleas for two men involved to hand themselves in for questioning. Default Pistol 1, again.
Here’s one that I’m just not sure should be on the list, but since the gun Violence Archive deems it so, I’m going to stick with it.
The bayonet is a tried and tested weapon, but is gradually falling out of favour owing to the fact that its original purpose was in infantry attacks, but it has become “a weapon of last resort” since World War II. From my research it seems they really are mostly a weapon for the military, though classic versions are traded by military enthusiasts. I’m going to use a drawing of the M9, which affixes to the ever-popular M-16 rifle. Given the M-16 is a version of the AR-15 by Armalite, made for the US armed forces, and I just happen to already have a drawing of another version of this weapon, the Bushmaster XM15-E2S, I’m going to reuse that image and affix to it the bayonet. Next week…
It’s been a long day of staring at weapons already.
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.
East Carolina University Material Topics Symposium – entitled Deconstruct/Reconstruct – is going to be a blast. See you there!
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 🙂