Hammer time

Point Line Plane brooch iv, 2013

You can touch this. If you go to the Artist Trust auction (Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the Fisher Pavilion, Seattle Center) you could even win it! The menu is up and the artist works already online look good. Just sayin…

And on now:

I am very pleased to have my work Ruchnoy Protivotankovy Granatomyot (or RPG) in this exhibition, which, as the exhibition media tells it, “drew over 1,000 submissions from 8 countries around the world. Juror Perry A. Price selected 70 works for exhibition at the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center including works from 27 states in varying media including metal, wood, plastic, ceramic, fiber, glass, and mixed media.”

31st annual Materials: Hard + Soft International Contemporary Craft Competition & Exhibition
Meadows Gallery, Patterson-Appleton Arts Center
Opening Reception | Friday, February 2, 6 – 8 PM (Artist Awards at 7 PM)
February 3 – May 5, 2018

Recognized as one of the premier craft exhibitions in the country, Materials: Hard + Soft began in 1987 and was originally initiated by area artist Georgia Leach Gough. Now in its 31st year, the exhibition opens to international artists as we celebrate the evolving field of contemporary craft and the remarkable creativity and innovation of artists who push the boundaries of their chosen media.

Yep, pleased as punch!

Laser Cutting

Clouds - One Design

In response to a pretty consistent question, I’m going to share with you my laser cutters. I know, it’s either a very brave or completely overdue move…

OBLIGATORY CAVEAT: both of these companies will only deal with you if you have a drawing capable of being machine-read. Which means, you need to have a drawing in vector format (Autocad .dxf or .dwg is most common, [if in, say, Rhino, I’d imagine that’s a ‘save as’ option] or perhaps an Illustrator file saved to .eps – I have had some cutters deal very well with Corel Draw [and if you remember playing/working with that program, you’re older than you look!]) before they will look at the file to quote you a price. Real talk: if you need help with that, I’m not your person. I dream in AutoCad (*not actually true, but admit it, I almost had you?!) so I’ve never had to outsource that part of the process.

The drawing part is essential as the quote that either of these companies will want to give you is based on the machining time – which is a calculation on how long it will take the laser to trace the lines you have drawn. Part of that calculation is an allowance made for the thickness/hardness the material. For instance, working in wood is normally faster, ergo cheaper, while working in 1.5mm/0.59″ stainless steel is going to challenge some lasers, and therefore be more expensive.

These two cutters are best for very low tolerance work; they are precise, as I like to be able to put a .5mm hole in the middle of a 1.5mm channel (see above). If you’re looking for less precision, take a look at other options, as it’s likely that there are cheaper local people who can do your thang. TBH, that might even be a challenge for one of these people to do neatly, but I know their machine is more or less capable.

One Design - #07 Ring 01Image of Melissa Cameron, 2014


Ok, no more pfaffing:

Starting at the top – and I mean in terms of price, and from the image at top: expensive, great quality, medium turn time, will source and cut low carbon steel (for enameling)and titanium along with their regular lineup of metals: Laser Services USA

My preference for wood and mass production:
Cheap, medium quality (some deburring required with metal, depending on the cut), stainless steel and a huge array of default non-metal materials and with the option of very, very fast: Pololu

Please be nice to them, y’all, I want to be able to show my face at either of their establishments (or rather, web portals) well into the future 😉

Heating up

Image of the work HEAT in stainless steel and vitreous enamel. Photograph by Melissa Cameron.
Image of the work-in-progress, HEAT, in stainless steel, titanium and vitreous enamel.

It’s been a hectic time in the office and the basement/studio, but I finally snapped some images of this finished neckpiece yesterday evening. I’m going to have another look at the panels that this work comes from later in the week – I need some time away from them before I make any more decisions. In the mean time, the brooch from this set is in pieces on the bench, and for that the next step is sandblasting.


Image courtesy Platforma
Image courtesy Platforma

Going to be in Boston for the SNAG conference this week? Come say hi! Not going to be there? Follow along with the shenanigans on Instagram or Twitter by following @thejewellist (t) or @thejewellist (i).

Don’t know/care what I’m talking about with all that #@ nonsense? Then stay with me here on the blog and I’ll wrap it up at the end of the weekend. But for those of you needing a hit beforehand, here’s the skinny on where I’m going to be…

1/ OK, first up, permit me one more hashtag while I explain what I’m going to be doing on Friday:

Collect- from our Artist-Agents (announced soon)
Photograph- on yourself or a friend
Hashtag- #stickitsnag
Post (fb/insta/twitter)

It’s a secret no more! I’m an Artist-Agent (always wanted to be agent melissa!) for Platforma’s 2015 #‎STICKITSNAG‬ SNAG adventure. Come get yourself a sticker from me any time on Friday, put it on, snap a pic and post it – oh and hashtag yourself and the gorgeous work/non-work. And might I add, one of those images is actually a work from me… It’s simultaneously the most/least effort I’ve ever put into a pin-swap 😉

2/ My video (need I remind you?!) is IN COMPETITION! I’m keen to get it played in front of a whole auditorium of my peers – am I? Well, lets say I am, and let’s say you could be a decisive figure in actioning my wish.

I know, actioning?

3/ Trunk Show!!

The Sieve Pattern of 2010, lasercut in Arches watercolour paper, 2015 along with a work from The Sieve series, Layered Window, 2010-2015
The Sieve Pattern of 2010, lasercut in Arches watercolour paper, 2015, along with a work from The Sieve series, Layered Window, 2010-2015, stainless steel.

I have amassed a beautiful collection of my Sieve series works – including some rare 2015 jewels that I recently made made from parts that I had been holding on to for a rainy day –  and today I’ve taken delivery of a limited edition set of full-sized laser-engraved prints of the Sieve pattern from my laser-cutter, all of which will be for sale at the Trunk Show this coming Saturday! The laser-engraved prints pictured are full size and in miniature, with the smaller versions to be packaged with works sold at SNAG only!

(I had a copy of this pattern pasted on my wall over my computer in Australia, under which I had written and signed “When I die I want this pattern etched onto my casket.” That’s how proud I was of this work/how much I love this pattern.)

All of these, along with some pieces from the One Design Series (yup – as shown in the video above) as well as a few earrings and pieces from the La Geometrie Series will be on display this Saturday, so if you’ve every wanted to check out an array of my all stainless and titanium works, Saturday is the day.

The Trunk Show will be held on the 23rd of May in the Plaza Ballroom with VIP entry from 3:30 pm and open to all from 4:30pm – 6:30pm. Not at the conference? No worries! Come along – we’re at the The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Tower, 50 Park Plaza at Arlington St. Boston, MA 02116

And for those of you who are nowhere near the conference – let’s talk. Email me for a price list.

Upcoming lecture: Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

Melissa Cameron - Infinity Affinity II

Hello America! Yes, I’m back in Seattle, and just in time too. I’ve got a little over two weeks to prepare for my upcoming lecture at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, (known to locals as BIMA.)

I’m going to be talking about my art, my heritage, my moves across OZ and to the US, my inspirations and my work – the laser cut pieces and the hand-cut object series, and I’ll include a sneak peak of the Escalation Series that I’ve been working on for the last two years. Don’t know what I mean and live within a 25 mile radius of Seattle? I encourage you to come along and listen to my tale. We can take the ferry-ride across to BIMA together!

Tickets are free but you do have to reserve a seat and there will be light refreshments served. Fancy!

Looking forward to seeing some of you there.

Co:operation Garnish – sample works

I sizzled in the last post; the Co:operation Garnish experiment between Melissa + Sean Macmillan has already netted 2 neckpieces, in stainless steel and vitreous enamel with titanium hinge pins. These are the test pieces – a sort of proof of concept. The actual part that will allow Sean to work his magic was sent to the laser cutter earlier today.

Cooperation GARNISH neckpiece- tests Cooperation GARNISH neckpiece- tests Cooperation GARNISH neckpiece- tests Cooperation GARNISH neckpiece- tests

Only a couple of places left!!

Image of the main workshop material, a laser cut pattern in 1.5mm thick timber
Image of the main workshop material, a laser cut pattern in 1.5mm thick timber

I have designed a workshop to coincide with the launch of my One Design collection at Studio 20/17 in Sydney. It’s on this weekend and there are still a couple of places left. Get along!

Workshop details and booking info

Taking place from 10am on 23rd August, 2014 at Studio 20/17 in Waterloo, NSW.

But what is it exactly? Well…

How many different objects can you create from one pattern? Be part of a fun DIY collaborative workshop to create unique works from a suite of pre-cut forms designed by jewellery artist Melissa Cameron. The class will be held in the gallery space to ensure that the new works do not duplicate any pieces in the exhibition. The results will be shown alongside the artist’s work for the duration of the exhibition and can then be taken home by the participants.

The pieces will be joined by silk thread and I have hand-made a bunch of fixings – brooch pins, earring posts and the like – to attach the pieces to the body. That leaves you to concentrate on the main challenge – making something completely new from the pieces of the pattern. It’s up to you to challenge the material and the design in any way you can!

Sydney Design link to Exhibition and Workshop

Heat Exchange 2

This week I’ve been blogging over at the Heat Exchange website. That’s because I’m in Erfurt, Germany for two weeks with several artists from the project, and a couple of extra friends of the Künstlerwerkstätten thrown in for good measure, experimenting and making works (hopefully!) for the forthcoming exhibition.

Check out my first posts, on our first weekend Erfurt and a little photo diary of our week so far in the studio. More images and video from me as well as posts by my esteemed colleagues to come!

Lasers and welders and sanders, oh my!

A couple of things. I’m working hard on pieces for the One Design exhibition – I’m just about done with the titanium pieces, and I’ll be starting on the stainless cut possibly as early as this Friday, so long as my new (cheap) orbital sander arrives on time.

Orbital sander on stainless steel? Are you nuts, Melissa?

Probably, but that’s of no consequence to the matter at hand. (Or perhaps I should replace ‘no’ with ‘little’…)

The cuts I have been working on have a bit of laser spatter over the surface, which, I might add, is quite normal. The job shop I used in Australia would either dunk the finished cuts in acid to clean them, or linish them if they were of a suitable size (or cuts in titanium.) Not owning a lishishing machine, and having been subject to a spatter (perhaps not even – there’s a weird shadow on my cuts that seem to have gone into the metal – see the photo – though once I start cleaning I might find that I’m just not seeing them right and it’s still atop the sheet) or something that’s being a little more persistent, I’ve decided to try sanding them before sandblasting them with fine glass beads.

Ripe for sanding -spatter  'shadows' after holes - upside of lasercut
Ripe for sanding -spatter ‘shadows’ after holes – upside of lasercut
shadows and colouring of side profiles
shadows and colouring of side profiles
Shadows around lines - underside of stainless steel lasercut
Shadows around lines – underside of stainless steel lasercut

If this is not more time effective than changing out the glass beads to aluminium oxide for a first pass then switching back for the finale – ie blasting all of the pieces twice (necessary in some recent earrings) – then that’s what I’ll end up doing instead. Preliminary attempts to grind back the offending marks on the titanium cut, using my diamond abrasive pads (normally reserved for working on enamelled surfaces), were not bad, so I’m crossing fingers that a little more elbow grease (in the form of a machine to actually do most of the grunt work) will be quicker than a double-blasted finish. Which is what I must have done in previous situations. Though I think the more-matte Al-Ox finish was predominant in my earlier works. It makes heat-colouring look more vibrant, but is a little less resilient when worn.

OK, to be less confusing in this next paragraph is a new goal. I’ve already failed… I do backwards sentences well, in case you hadn’t noticed. I’m like Yoda.

I have also been testing out a new laser cutter called Pololu, specifically for the timber cut that I’ve had done more recently. They actually specialise in electronics and seem to have picked up laser cutting to help build the robots they were supplying all the electronics for, and happily they were super fast and super good. And they advertise timber as a preferred medium, so they had what I wanted in stock. The one big caveat? Their site says the thickest stainless steel or spring steel that they can work with is .060″, which comes out at about 1.5mm in my native tongue. Luckily I work in 1mm, so I am going to test them when I next have a cut to do, and I’ll see if they might do titanium for me – I’m guessing I’ll have to provide the sheet, but I’ve done that before.

PUK welded titanium - posts and lasercut Ti
PUK welded titanium – posts and lasercut Ti

Finally, I mentioned welding. Just today I slipped out to my buddy Kirk Lang‘s studio to have a demo of and a play on his super-awesome Lampert PUK welding machine. And what can I say? It’s love. It is a very pretty machine and it welded these titanium posts to these old Sieve parts soooo easily. The reason I still have Sieve parts lying around is because I didn’t have a machine like this to weld titanium back in 2010 (or 2011, or ’12 for that matter). In fact the titanium welding shown at the JMGA conference I went to in 2010 was in a sealed argon environment (looking quite like my a sandblast chamber it necessitated doing the job in gloves whereas the PUK allows one TO USE HER BARE HANDS) that had me thinking that I’d be lucky to play with one in my lifetime. Incidentally, excitement about this technology is why you might have noticed me barking on about the Orion Pulse Arc Welder in previous posts, and I finally saw one at SNAG a month ago and I liked it a lot, but now I’ve seen then Lampert… There’s something about precision German engineering, y’know? And did I mention that it’s pretty..?

It’s a design thing.


We interrupt this blog-post-stream on Brisbane and the JMGA conference, to feature a delightful lasercutting demonstration by the affable nerd Adam Savage.

It’s super awesome, as it shows how the whole laser system works (the part with Adam drawing in Rhino is pretty much how I design my pieces, right down to the removable guidelines and layer manipulation, and you will note after his demo that I am clearly also in love with polar arrays) alongside the drafting of the object, and how quick it is to have a part versus how long it takes to draw one.

And if you, like me, now have Georgie Girl stuck your head, here’s the complete track;

With thanks to Arthur Hash for posting up the first link on his blog. On a side note, I’ve seen a few YouTubes of late that feature Adam getting around his private workshop, and I’ve found them pretty good viewing.

Categorized as Cad, lasers!