Going to Greenville

Going to Greenville, NC. Flight got delayed, so I’ve got a little more time on my hands than originally expected…

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

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 🙂

See y’all in Greenville.

US Exhibitions: North & South

Shows at Bellevue Arts Museum and at form & concept. Jewellery is just bouncing around this great big country.

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.

Monday – Gun day

Monday – gun day, 2. Click through to see what 33,636 guns looks like.

Wow, a whole week has rolled around without an intervening post – sorry team, that wasn’t mean to happen, but the Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium took over my focus late last week (from making works for Bilk Gallery in Canberra – more on that soon…) and the whole weekend, and what can I say, it was a CORKER! The best yet. If you’re ever in the area for the third weekend in October, you HAVE to head to it. And I can say this with unbiased hand to unbiased heart, as I’ve been off the organising committee a full two symposia now 😉

So, it’s Monday – gun day, part II.

I have a bunch of gun research that stretches back to 2012, which I’ve decided to start sharing, and lucky for y’all, this seems to be the obvious place. I’m not trying to trigger anyone, so if you’re not keen on following this line of thought, know that on Monday (Tuesday in some time-zones,) there will be posts generated as a result of my past and ongoing gun research.

The above images comes from a really interesting post that I first saw a couple of years ago, in 2015. I see it semi-regularly, as the post has been open in my web-browser since the day I came across it. I found it really arresting, but I didn’t know what to do with it. It’s so affecting, however, that I now count it amongst my always-open tabs (there are a random assortment of site alongside this, not just my mail client.) When I occasionally run across it, I’ll again scroll through to see what 33,636 guns looks like.

The author of this really unusual ‘article’, Matt Haughey writes; “According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2013 all deaths due to firearms in the US amounted to 33,636 people.” He found a unique and very compelling way to visualise this, which proves really ‘sticky’ (you know what I mean?), at least to my brain.

I hope you take a look.

Heat Exchange: Symposium at St. Andrews Museum

Heat Exchange Symposium in Scotland! Go see the immense superpower Elizabeth Turrell talk about enamel. Register NOW!

HEsymposium-blog

 

The Heat Exchange Exhibition is in Scotland at St Andrews Museum, Fife, and to coincide with the final weeks that it is there on display, there is a symposium on Friday the 19th of February:

“The event will begin at St Andrews Museum (Kinburn Park, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, KY16 9DP) with registration and an informal tour of the exhibition, Heat Exchange II.  The remaining part of the event then takes place at the Byre Theatre (Abbey Street, St Andrews, KY16 9LA)

I’d encourage you to hit the link above to get along but the event is now fully booked, but you can get in touch via that link in order to be put on the wait list.

If you’re no where near the show you can see images of all the works installed at the first Cardiff incarnation of the exhibition on the Heat Exchange website here and here. My favourite at the moment is the collaboration between partners Cath Fairgrieve and Andy Griffiths.

20th Annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium!

20 years of symposium shenanigans in Seattle. It’s a minor miracle (trust me, I’d know..!)

Nervous System - Kinematics Dress
Nervous System – Kinematics Dress

Saturday, October 17th
Broadway Performance Hall
1625 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122

Register Here!

The Seattle Metal Guild’s Symposium Committee are pleased to present the 20th Anniversary Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium!

This year’s stellar lineup includes the dynamic designer-creator partnership of Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg – better known as Nervous System, who together will present Growing Objects about their unique working methods, their title a nod to 3D printing jargon as well as the growth systems of flora and fauna that they replicate. Jewelry artist and writer Jillian Moore will talk Big Time, Small Potatoes about how the facets of her practice – making, writing, teaching and selling – are delicately fused together to form her creative career, while object maker and educator Christine Clark will expand on her love of craft and humanity and how these twin loves meet in her installations, and the residencies that have helped her in her artistic journey. Blacksmith John Rais will present The Process of Design, Large And Small, charting his career through his works, including the collaborations that have especially helped his larger objects. Finally, artist Jennifer Trask’s talk, Vestige: Written in Bone will expand on her practice, from the influence of archaeology, anthropology and biology to her metalsmith training, and her passion for the decorative arts.

The 2015 edition sees us back on Broadway in Capitol Hill and ready to rock with all the Symposium classics, but as ever there is more than just one day of action. This year the weekend prior to the Symposium will host a Jillian Moore Workshop: New Surface Techniques with Resin, proudly presented by Seattle Metals Guild’s Workshop Committee. You’ll have to get in quick for this one as Jillian has previously hosted sold-out workshops in Seattle!

While regular attendees will know that the Symposium includes not one but two silent auctions, the news is that this year we have already secured works of eminently collectable handmade jewelry by famous local artisans, so check out the donations link for more details on these unique pieces, or if you have something to donate. And if you’re in the market for a bargain we have already started amassing many other treats! As usual there is also Charon Kransen’s book sale, which specializes in hard-to-find titles from the realms of jewelry and metalsmithing, and the Resource Table with High School Teachers’ Meet and Greet, a wonderful space to share knowledge and expertise about the industry.

If this is your first Symposium we welcome you too! We have planned a day that is carefully balanced between the formal and informal, the informative and the playful, between knowledgeable scholars and gifted makers, each of whom has a unique story to share. We welcome everyone who is interested in the craft and art of jewelry and metalsmithing, and trust that you will be embraced by a warm and open community of fellow enthusiasts, hobbyists, educators, technicians and full-time artisans and artists.

For the first time we have the added excitement of a pop-up exhibition right after the Symposium. Organized by local maker Everett Hoffman and featuring Northwest talent, it will be on view in the time between the last speaker and the now-customary speakers reception. Entitled Home Ties: An Intimate Study of Adornment for the Body and Home, it is an “exhibition of jewelry and adornment that questions and redefines the idea of home,” and will aptly take place inside a house located within walking distance of the Broadway Performance Hall.

Which brings us, finally, to our closing number! In honor of our 20th year we’ve added a few special flourishes across the day to celebrate, with an extra special finale at our now-traditional close-of-day speakers’ reception, this year at Rhein Haus in Capitol Hill. Everyone is invited to continue the festivities and join the speakers and current and past committee members in a toast to our 20-year milestone!

WHO
Founded in 1989, The Seattle Metals Guild is a non-profit community dedicated to promoting educational and networking opportunities for metals artists at all career levels and skill sets through lectures, workshops, social gatherings, and other enrichment opportunities, in order to strengthen our creative community.

Symposium 2014

The Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium 2014 was a great event. Were you there? Then share!

I live-tweeted the 2014 Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium yesterday, presented by our hardworking committee, on behalf of the Seattle Metals Guild. It was a great event! (And I’m not just saying that because I was on the committee.. ;P )Check it out in my little Storify below. Or you can also check it out on the web!

19th Annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium

Announcing the 19th Annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium – I’m going to be there, so get amongst it!

Something for the Table, 2013. Myra Mimlitsch-Gray Hand wrought silver. 2.5x12x8"
Something for the Table, 2013. Myra Mimlitsch-Gray Hand wrought silver. 2.5x12x8″ Reproduced with permission.

Announcing the 19th Annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium

Saturday, October 18th

Washington State History Museum

1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402

The volunteer members of the Seattle Metal Guild’s Symposium Committee are pleased to announce this year’s lineup of speakers for the annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium. Working to the theme of Continuum, we have selected six speakers – curator Suzanne Ramljak, historian Stephen Fliegel, metalsmith Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, artist Jennifer Trask, jeweler Todd Pownell and sculptor Vivian Beer to share their expertise and wisdom with our audience.

This year the event coincides with the unveiling of the exhibition Protective Ornament: Contemporary Armor to Amulets at the Tacoma Art Museum. Speaker Suzanne Ramljak, editor of the prestigious Metalsmith magazine has curated this exhibition, which also features many Northwest artists. She will be on hand to celebrate the opening along with its initiator Carissa Hussong, of the Metal Museum in Memphis.

The beautiful Washington State History Museum, located a short stroll from TAM, will play host to this incarnation of the Symposium. The date also coincides with the annual Tacoma Arts Month, which this year will again feature Metal-Urge, a celebration of metal arts with multiple events planned for locations throughout the city during October.

The close-of-day speakers’ reception will also double as the opening celebration for the Protective Ornament exhibition, meaning Symposium attendees will be among the first to see this beautiful collection of wearable objects.

WHO

Founded in 1989, The Seattle Metals Guild is a non-profit community dedicated to promoting educational and networking opportunities for metals artists at all career levels and skill sets through lectures, workshops, social gatherings, and other enrichment opportunities, in order to strengthen our creative community.

CONTACT

http://www.seattlemetalsguild.org/

Bookings via the SMG website

Mexico City – The forum

Melissa is still in Coyoacán, Mexico. This is the 2nd of 3 posts on the subject, so if you’re already getting sleepy… TOO BAD!

Image of speakers at the 2014 Joyaviva forum in Mexico City.
Image of speakers at the 2014 Joyaviva forum in Mexico City, at the National Museum of Popular Culture.

In the evening of my second full day in Mexico City, I was invited to be one of a panel of speakers presenting different thoughts on the subject of charms and amulets. This presentation took place in a covered outdoor space at the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares.

Our speakers in order were:

  • Dr. Carlos Zolla Luque: coordinador del Programa Universitario de Estudios de la Diversidad Cultural y la Interculturalidad (PUIC-UNAM)
  • Martacarmela Sotelo: (Mexican artist in Amuleto) Conceptualising ideas for their materialisation 
  • Melissa Cameron: (Australian artist in Amuleto) Contemporary jewellery in the streets of Melbourne 
  • Hanna Hedman: (Swedish artist) Amulet or talisman?
  • Kevin Murray: (Curator of Amuleto) Luck by design: The challenge of the contemporary amulet

The opening presentation was on the history and specific uses of amulets and the different motifs that crop up in their design. The most eye-opening part of Dr Zolla Luque’s presentation for me was an interesting set of statistics; reasons why people presented to their doctor/GP, in Mexico. The effects of the ‘evil eye‘ featured prominently in the shortlist, in fact was at the top, while other ailments like headaches followed.

Martacarmela spoke about her own work and her project in the exhibition, as well as about some of the others I think (perhaps also on participating in the Charm School), while I spoke about the C3 project. I talked about the idea behind it, the implementation process and the influence that being members of a collective like Part B had on the design of the project – specifically the large community of makers and recipients of charms that the Charged Charm Card project was attempting to assemble. (I’ll put my presentation up in the Symposia section of this site very shortly.)

Then Hanna spoke about her introduction to charms and amulets – she was a professional sportsperson up until her early 20’s – so she shared some personal superstitions about performance in the context of a great many other athletes that she had researched, and then the effect of Mexico on her already talisman-appearing pieces. She also spoke about her work in partnership with Otro Diseño in Mexico, the Amulet workshops that she has been presenting.

She has developed a program for her students with a relational focus. She has her students approaching unknown people in the street, in their own communities, in order to find specific things out about them. This is followed by making a piece based on the responses, that caters to their specific fears and interests. It is a lesson in both collaborative creativity as well as expansion of the network of people interested in artist-made jewellery, as they are the recipient of some works that have distinct meaning and references for them. I liked the idea as I think it a powerful way to engage the greater community – and the need to engage people outside our milieu was something that we both spoke at length on.

Finally Kevin spoke about the progress of the exhibition from his perspective, from the very first Charm Schools he conducted to the mounting of the exhibition and the shows so far.

Now hopefully I have these all figured out, since the only talk that was in English was Hanna’s (and she and I shared a very impressive translator to turn our words into Spanish) but if you were there and have anything to add or to correct me on, please send me an email or pull me up in the comments. Please!

This is post 2 of 3 of my activities in Coyoacán, so stay tuned for the next installment…

Monash Visit 2013

Monash University – a tour of the new jewellery studios from July 2013.

I’m finally tying up all the loose ends around here from my trip to Australia in July. After my previous post on the Bodywork exhibition, my last mission is to tell you all about my tour through the newly relocated Monash jewellery workshops. I promised to fill y’all in at the end of this post about the Seams Seems Symposium in early October so apologies for you who’ve been waiting with bated breath, I hope you can breathe normally now!

First up, if the pictures of the jewellery studio below are not quite as convincing as they could be, as far as I am aware (and the photos were taken in July mind you) the jewellery/metals program at Monash has not been shut down. There have been large changes to it, and in part those are due to the change in the way the Department of Fine Art is now administering its units, as it is currently undergoing significant changes to the way courses are offered and delivered. It was rumoured that the course was to close at the end of Marian Hosking’s tenure, but as this coincided with the beginning of these changes it’s hard to say that the lack of first-year intake is from either the process of shutting or the process of changing the course offerings. The current head is supportive of these arts/crafts, as the previously-threatened glass studios also remain and course offerings are available for both streams in 2014.

Marian Hosking’s role as studio coordinator of metals and jewellery has been taken over by Manon van Kouswijk, and Vito Bila is still the jewellery/metals technician. I believe that additional teaching will be done by Roseanne Bartley, effectively she’ll be taking the role that Simon Cottrell vacated when he moved to Canberra.

As you may or may not be able to tell, the studio is now located in the fine arts building, right next to the glass studios and across from the sculpture studio, and overlooking some of the independent studios spaces allocated to postgraduate fine arts candidates. It also overlooks Caulfield Race Track, so there are no buildings in the way to stop quite generous views that purportedly can reach Port Philip Bay. Nice…

As I understand it, the fine arts stream has changed all round, with course offerings being more open and generalised to begin with, giving students the opportunity to choose their areas of concentration as they progress along the timeline of their fine arts degree. Vito Bila described it to us on his tour as a really exciting, because it is integrating jewellery into arts more holistically, and with that comes the potential to create a really dynamic arts-focused jewellery course, something that he believes is unique, with nothing quite like it in the whole country. I tend to agree with him, because I think that if jewellery wants to be part of the arts conversation then the training is one obvious segment that should reflect that. I’m also fan of Manon van Kouswijk’s work (I wrote about her and Ben Lignel in my MFA thesis) and I think the kind of broad thinking that she applies to her jewellery practice will be indicative of what she will bring to the course and the arts department, which has the potential to be of great benefit not just to her students – those in jewellery and those not – but obviously to the department as a whole.

The system of having a generic first year and signing up for individual courses can be seen as adopting a more American style, but having said that, it is a system that was in place in my time at Curtin University in Perth. I studied a common first year with all of architecture and interior architecture, (before we were split into separate studios in 2nd year.) A similar open policy was available in the fine arts, where I opted not to do jewellery as an undergrad out of a fear of having to mix it with the general arts population before I could concentrate solely on jewellery in 2nd and 3rd years, (albeit that my reticence was combined with a stronger desire to actually study architecture.) I now realise that the option of having a generic first year is an amazing resource, and if I had bothered to consult anybody about my fear-based-decision I might have seen the wisdom in the mixed programme earlier. Not a day goes by that I don’t use my interior architecture training, and if I had some printmaking or glass or even painting skills behind me I’m guessing I could argue the same for those. That and I know plenty of people who changed major mid-stream, as they came to the realisation that what they had signed up for was not really what they were passionate about.

I realise that not all students have that issue nor want a broad base, they might want to come in and get straight down to their career-course on day one of studies, and I don’t blame them. Getting mastery of any skill is going to take all the time you can give it. But for those of us who walked into university a little more reticent that they had made the right decision, a few more options – not to mention a chance to play with a myriad of creative techniques and technologies – is a good thing.

OK, that has ended up a bit ranty, so I’ll go away now, and you can look at the pictures. I’m not going to explain them much, in part because as Vito mentioned the transition from the deign building to the arts one was still taking place, so they were missing walls and doors and venting and the like. I imagine that more changes have been made by now, but here’s what was there in July.