A huge thanks to everyone who has already signed up for the photo shoot on the 7/7/18. I’m back to tell those of you who haven’t that I need a lot more volunteers to help create a truly arresting image. I’ve made a poster (above, link) with all the details that I’d love for you to print and display in your shared studio, office or other place where cool people hang out! (FYI – I’ve already papered Equinox and Pratt Studios, and a big thanks to the others who have obliged me by posting it in their shared studios.)
AND in exciting news – I’ve managed to secure the services of local film-director Miri Stone, who thankfully has a lot more experience at this than me! She’s going to keep us all on task and motivated, and help us make the best image possible.
As far as volunteers go, I have just over a quarter of the sign-ups that I’m seeking. If you’ve been meaning to sign up please do so here, I’d really appreciate it, and if you’re going to be out of town you can do me a huge favor by forwarding on this email to someone who has yet to receive it.
And to those of you curious about progress on the artwork – my deadline for receiving containers was last week, and I’m currently at 49 pieces totally completed for the shoot, with 4 more awaiting cleanup on bench this morning. The last of the containers are still coming in too, so I’m on schedule to finish by the end of this week. Phew 😉
Photo shoot details at-a-glance:
– Meet at the parking lot under the Fremont Bridge (not near the Troll – the one that opens 😉 )
– 8am-9am sign in
– 9am-12pm all 73 people in 73 different gun-shaped pendants stand together for the shoot (if we finish early we all go home early!)
– You wear something comfortable with dark top-half and no logos, I loan you a pendant to wear for the morning
– Drinks and snacks provided
This is going to be a fun and once in a lifetime experience, so please come join us!
To come help me photograph my new artwork that charts one day of gun violence in the USA.
Hello dear Seattle friends and colleagues,
Many of you have already had an email from me seeking containers to realize an upcoming artwork. I’ve been hitting the studio hard, and now it’s time to reveal the work and make a beautiful photograph of the finished piece!
I’m looking for a big number of volunteers – 73 to be exact – to be the talent in group photo, with everyone wearing one work. No experience necessary! All you have to do is come to the location, sign a release form and be given a pendant on a chain to wear. Then you’ll stand alongside 72 other pendant-wearers, while I take an epic group photo.
The shoot will take place from 8am – 12pm on Saturday July 7th, in Fremont. We will meet in the parking lot under the Fremont Bridge – (obvs on the north side – and please don’t plan to park there!) The first hour will be sign-in and jewelry put-on, and then down to business. We will be under cover and have coolers of water and snacks on hand. There will be a few simple stage directions – stand there, look here, straighten the jewel, that kind of thing.
Do invite your friends and family, and children are of course welcome (just remember to sign up each person individually), and feel free to pass this email along to anyone who might be interested. But please no pets.
Fashion tip – smart casual, logo-free with a darker shade single-color on the top-half. A plain dark top and jeans works great, as does anything that you’ll be comfortable in for a few hours.
Questions? Please email me email@example.com and I’ll get you in touch with the lovely Natascha, my photo shoot admin hero.
The vibe is going to be fun – somewhere between flash-mob and principal photography shoot – so please come along, enjoy the camaraderie and help me make a really memorable image of my biggest artwork to date!
It’s been a while but it was inevitable. I’m back after a month off, and with a lot to tell you!
My last jewellery works for 2016 were very… striking?
There’s a few things already on the agenda for 2017, so here, in an attempt at chronological order:
In March I’m headed to Munich for Jewellery Week, as I got into Schmuck with The Drone work! (Full listing of participants on Klimt02) Let me know if you’re heading over so I can look out for you, eh? (Unless you already have, and tbh, you probably did…)
The Shared Concerns exhibition hits Bilk in Canberra in April/May
I’m in an exhibition called Drawing the Line at Facèré here in Seattle, also starting in April.
I’m curating an exhibition for the Enamelist Society conference at Arrowmont this year. Emerging enamelists beware, I’ll be getting on contact with a tight deadline very, very soon.
I have preliminary plans to hit Radiant Pavilion in August/September in Melbourne, where I’m hoping to bring some United States of America-ns to town with me. We’ll be opening/showing Shared Concerns at Bini.
I hope you all had joyful solstice and New Year celebrations too 😉
Body/Politic is getting some enamelled sistren, and I’m having a trunk show!
Dunno about you, but I woke up with all the nerve endings firing in my gut on Wednesday morning, just before 3am. After nigh on an hour of bleary-eyed semi-consciousness, and after the hopes that sleep would take me back into her embrace had been dashed (such a temperamental lover) I caved in and checked my phone. My sisters in Australia had offered condolences that I didn’t need to swipe through to see, especially the one from Courtenay that ran thusly:
That was the entire message, but it told me that counting had finished and the map had been painted orange. Finally having the early predictions confirmed (I’d gone to bed early, both to avoid the anxiety of waiting and to read a good book – Mary Beard’s recent SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome – which turns out to be quite an apt companion for right now,) was definitely not going to help me sleep.
So I did some thinking. And a bit of googling. And at around 5:30am I placed an enamel order. I’ve never had much call for blue enamel before, so my stocks are paltry. Once this was done, around 6am, I went back to sleep reading about an ancient fallen empire.
My early morning thoughts ran something like this; I already have a body of work that is about putting encoded messages into the world, like this piece:
Body/Politic is a series of jewels where the medium is part of the message. The two-toned grids of pixels represent lines of binary code. Each piece literally spells out a message on the body of the wearer; readable to those who can interpret binary, the language that is the foundation of our digital culture. (These borrow from the visual language set up for the Drone works.) The messages reflect on the human condition, on how we are embodied, and what that means. The words/phrases that became works in the first series exhibited in March include your body is your vote (above), body, vote, unrepresented body, power and recently (just last week, for an upcoming show in May) I completed intensely embodied.
These are pieces are personal and political. They are words that reflect on my own physical body and its position in the world, and on the bodies of others who are in significantly more compromising situations, most particularly those bodies in combat areas, migrating bodies and those bodies who are suffering with illness.
Now before this gets too heavy, lets get back to the quality thinking time that my sleepless hours gifted me. So I have a trunk show booked for next week, and while I’ve been making the measured and politically/socially reflexive jewels like the work above over the last few years, none of those pieces are slated to be on the table next week. My plans for this week were to spend some time reorganising my stash of jewels to find some things that the good folks of Seattle haven’t seen before, and to make a few last pieces from the leftover parts of my La Geometrie laser-cuts to take along with me.
But then y’all had to go and elect an orange for a president.
I very purposely chose a blue top to wear yesterday, in protest (stay with me, this is relevant). And I’m in blue jeans today. Why? Because in my waking hours I was fixating on the fact that blue is the complimentary colour to orange on the colour wheel. Yep, this means it’s the opposite. So I’ve taken all this care dressing because I want to be the opposite of orange (yeah, despite my red hair.) But blue doesn’t just stand in opposition. It is the colour of the tears being shed for this and other depressing and alarming recent political events.
Blue is the colour of that soon-to-be pendant at the top of this (very long) blog post. It is the colour of the stockings on the women fighting to inform, enlighten and protect themselves, and it is the colour that HRC used to paint her campaign, and Bernie Sanders his. It’s the colour of the sky, of steel, and a bloody nice colour for an absolute shit-tonne of enamelled earrings.
And lets reiterate here, in RYB colour theory it’s the colour diametrically opposed to orange.
My search to find the opposite of an orange charity also began in the wee hours of Wednesday, and I’ve selected this one to give 10% of the purchase price of each pair of my brand new line of Resist earrings (pictured above) sold anywhere in the world. They’re going to retail for $30 US, and orders will be direct through me. (For anyone outside of Seattle, my postage price is being confirmed – please see below.)
About my blue charity:
Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), based in Alexandria, Virginia, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) humanitarian agency and member of the Islamic Relief Worldwide group of organizations. IRUSA was founded in California in 1993. In addition to international relief and development initiatives, Islamic Relief USA also sponsors and funds domestic projects ranging from emergency disaster responses to assisting the American homeless population and supporting those who cannot afford basic healthcare.
Resist Earrings, $30 (US dollars) a pair.
stainless steel + blue enamel.
For your set you can mix and match or play it straight, or even buy an extra one so you can decide what kind of (blue) day you’re having. More colours (yup, all blue*) coming soon. How to get yours? See below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re in Seattle, please come along next week if you’re keen to check out my rainbow of blue earrings* or if you just need a shoulder. Together we can chat about resistance. It’s on at:
5619 University Way NE, Seattle, Washington 98105
Thursday, November 17 at 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
(Facebook event – do them a favour for catering and let them know if you can 😉 )
Australia: you can count on Bilk and Bini Galleries getting a stack of these in the next week also, and for my sistren in Perth, I’ll see y’all in December and I’ll be sure to carry a few of these in my pocket.
USA: If you’re not in the PNW keep a look out, I’ll be posting the postage details ASAP
Canada– OK, BC: I’m heading up to Vancouver in a couple of weeks (no, not seeking asylum, though did I tell you the one about my grandparent who was born 12 miles south of Tisdale??) so let me know and I’ll bring them with me. The rest of you? Let me figure something out. We’re family!
Everywhere else: If you’re keen please get in contact and I’ll figure out your shipping rate. (I will be in Munich for the second week of March, and might even head to the UK for a hot minute, so if you can hold out that long…)
In the mean time, know that while my heart is blue, my gaze is steely.
*My Dad bought me my first car, back in the day. While we were looking around at listings he told me, “You can have any colour you like, so long as it’s blue.” I gratefully received a Corolla in midnight blue, despite preferring the burgundy…
Laser cutters. I know you want them, well here they are. Be kind to them, they are pretty great.
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.
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 😉
The 2016 exhibiotn of Body Politic closes at Bilk Gallery in Canberra on the 30th of April. Get along quick!
…so last week when I said that Saturday the 23rd of April would be the last day that the exhibition Body Politic would be visible at Bilk Gallery? Well I spoke too soon! The latest from Gallery Bilk, or more specifically, their Instagram, is that the show will close on the 30th of April. That’s right – there’s one more week to get along to see the show 😉
(I know, most of you can’t get to Canberra, so please enjoy the new images above!)
Yup, our house was burgled. Here’s some photos of the missing jewels.
We arrived home from tour trip on Monday night at about 8pm to find out that our house had been burgled in our 1-month absence. I guess I should have enlisted a house sitter as we rushed off to Australia..
My dresser drawers were pretty extensively ransacked but the thieves were pretty choosy, tossing aside some pieces (my beloved Brenda Ridgewell brooches for instance), with their eyes alighting on my work particularly, and a few beautiful vintage and antique finds from my mum, nan and grandmother. These were not photographed, though one piece is a silver version of this little guy (if anyone wants to hazard an approximate price for replacement of this 1970’s piece, I’d be happy to know it. Having researched the genre, it’s more delicate than others of its kind, and is, as far as I can tell, somewhat rare) and another very similar to this stag brooch, though a little older and more refined, with an amethyst in place of the citrine.
I also lost assorted rings, gold and silver, and silver chains – one a Prince of Wales vintage piece, and the earrings I made that I was married in. One distinctive cast gold ring has Tutankhamen’s mask on a very wide band that tapers towards the rear, with the face flanked by 4 bezel-set diamonds, kept within top and bottom bordering bands of twisted metal. There is also an 1800’s rose gold, engraved and hinged (with security chain) bangle in its original slimline flip-topped leather box that had journeyed from England to Canada, to Australia and then back north with me to Seattle, from my grandmother. These I might just have to sketch.
Anyway, for those of you in the area – and as you well know, there’s a lot of jewellers around Seattle – if you happen upon one of these items around the traps, please get in touch.
The pieces pictured below were all made by me, circa 2005-2006, in sterling silver with some gold as indicated. I did not makers mark them, so there are no marks to look for, though I trust that you’ll agree that the shapes are generally distinctive.
The Seattle police are dealing with the issue, though as with most jewelry thefts of this nature, I’m not holding out much hope of seeing these pieces again. We are insured, and in light of recent events in Australia, I’m more annoyed at having more paperwork to do than losing a few items of jewellery, especially the ones I could remake. I include photos of what I can as they may lead to the rest of the stash, which in themselves were probably taken for their ease of recycling. If you are commissioned to melt some silver in the next little while, please look out!
I thank you in advance for spreading the word, and encourage you go and photograph all of your treasures, or sell them off or even melt them before someone else has the chance to!
What’s a good internet citizen to do? Update her blog, that’s what.
Thus, I bring you @thejewellist 2.0. It was about time, really, after 5.5 years on the default 2009 WordPress theme (albeit with a couple of hard-won tweaks.) So now I’ve brought us all the way up to 2013. Baby steps.
What am I saying? Well, for those of y’all who visit the site at its address (rather than have content scraped and sent to you via an RSS feed or email) you will notice a few little changes. Right at the minute the big one is the shemozzle that is the Monthly Deadlines Calendar tab (nope, I’m not even going to link to it…) Suffice to say, I’m working on it.*
Aside from that, there’s been a small modification to the header image. Yup, all go here…
*26 April – I fixed it! With a little help from my friend Turbo.. A very little – intuitive programming FTW!
I’s been tight in the studio – Melissa hasn’t been able to move for deadlines!
Wow. Well team, the reason it’s been a little quiet around this blog is because I haven’t been able to move of late without bumping into a deadline. This is made all the more incredible by the fact that the only thought I had towards making a resolution this year was to cut down on the amount of shows that I apply for. If I’m honest, though, two of the three major deadlines this month were destined to collide from the outset (and yes, I signed up to both last year), and only really met so sharply owing to a bit of misfortune. Read on!
I had spent a couple of weeks working diligently in my studio on a new piece, getting it ready for a photography deadline. Having squared it away finally – after going to Nancy’s Sewing Basket and buying only about 1/3 of the cotton and linen ribbons in the store – I was taking photographs of it and some other pieces that I had finished a while back for the same application, which were due via email the following day.
In order to take photos of these bigger works I had, for the second time, transplanted my photography setup to a corner of the basement, taking advantage of the fact that we had brought inside our outdoor table for the winter. Down there I can sprawl out across the walls and of course the table, and position the lights more easily. Incidentally the setup remains downstairs; I’ve now built an overhead light-bouncer that doubles as a slightly more efficient way of hanging works than sticking pins into the sandalwood-paneled ceiling in the wardrobe that I was using as my photography booth before. (The wardrobe also acts as my storage/packing room, so it’s still getting plenty of action.)
I had promised myself that after photographing the recently completed and particularly tricky to arrange piece, I would be able pack it in for the night. It was about 8pm on Friday and Turbo was kindly preparing dinner for probably the 5th time that week. I was jubilant! I was literally clapping and jumping around the basement as I tidied and turned off lights. I had finally finished the work and captured it, marking the end of what had been a grueling couple of weeks of making, and the agonising decision making that sometimes attaches itself to a work when one is inventing a new thing and then figuring out how that thing is going to operate as a jewel in the world.
I had been checking in my images on the computer as I went, so I knew that I had some suitable sample images to go through that night, to figure out if there was anything that needed to be re-shot in the morning. The tricky piece I decided to leave on the table but I wanted to cover it (our basement ceiling is not the finest example of the art; dust and cobwebs occasionally drift down), so I grabbed the big shoebox that was slightly over-full of work and stopped past the table with the one piece left out in the open to cover it with tissue. Having done that I picked up the box, making a sharp right turn to head towards the staircase, and simultaneously sent the work on top of the overstuffed box to the ground, upon which it landed with a sharp “Crack!”
The work in question was wrapped in tissue and then put into a plastic self-locking bag, on top of a bunch of other similarly wrapped works. Plastic on plastic is slippery and when a person makes a sharp turn with a bunch of horizontally stacked bags, they’d wanna have a good hold on all of them…
At first I thought that the smacking sound was probably right for the wood-meeting-concrete scenario that had played out so effortlessly, that I didn’t think to worry. I put the box down on the floor, carefully, and then turned back to the dropped work. The noise was replaying in my head as I reached for it, and despite the packaging surrounding it so I couldn’t see in, I knew that what I had made was gone. My hand told me the truth, which echoed my thought. The tension had dropped, the work felt mushy. Before this, the wood had been hard and the tension of threads weaving inside and around the piece felt rigid.
This was not good. It’s one of those moments that had happened so innocuously that I almost felt that I should simply be able to access some sort of ‘undo’ button, where I could rewind the time and get my work back, whole. I think I was in that state of shock for a couple of minutes, long enough to make some regretful ‘arrgh’ noises and to wonder why I wasn’t yet crying. Then Turbo came down the stairs to see me huddled on the floor as I slowly re-wrapped the work and put it back into its plastic shroud. He dutifully claimed that I could fix it, of course I could, and that’s when the tears came. I had seen it. The tension that made the piece from ‘object’ into ‘wearable’ had also accelerated its demise. It was made from a turned wood bowl, which had itself been made from laminated timber, which I had gutted by sawing a pattern into its body and drilling holes and stringing waxed linen around and through it, rejoining some of the released sections to the bowl’s interior.
The wood, vintage if not antique, had been in use for a long time and joined for a longer one. Despite its considerable thickness – I gauged it at around 1cm thick all over, thinner with some shallow carving and thicker in the corners – it cracked at the lamination faces and at any point that I had created extra stress, and there were lots of those. Plenty of 90° angles next to thinner sections of material that I had left behind and holes in line with even sharper points, laying along the same line of grain. There were largish pieces, yes, but bits and pieces of splinter-size too.
Now, thanks to my style of resourcefully making several jewels out of a single found object, I had not one broken work, but three. The other jewels made from the same bowl, two neckpieces, were now context-less. And that’s not to mention another two works that are locked into a narrative with this piece. I was doomed.
The only thing that I could think to do that night was submit the work as it had been photographed and then apologise if it was chosen, presenting in its stead a replacement that had followed much the same plan. (That was if I didn’t quit the industry all together, or just give up on making this application that I had toiled so hard toward, as I didn’t think I could, in good conscience, throw my unfettered support behind a lost work.) The revision/remake is eventually what happened; I found a replacement object within my collection (incidentally, bought at the same time, from the same now-closed antique importers down in South Lake Union, and more importantly made of m e t a l ), altering the plan to fit its slightly different dimensions.
To be honest, I think it’s the better version. Some parts were improved upon in the design and others in the making, but of course the metal made a big difference to the aesthetic. After the experiments that went to making its older sibling, the manufacturing was more linear and went quicker. The final result, for better or worse, is less chunky, more refined.
The morning after my mishap, I was slowly coming to terms with the idea that I would have to finish fine-tuning an application to include what I knew was a destroyed work, whilst lying in bed checking my twitter feed. And of all the things… Out of nowhere came my reprieve! On twitter I read, right from the source, that the deadline for that night had been extended. By a week. I had a whole seven days to get the new work together. What was there left to decide? That day I took a well-earned rest day, and got back work the following morning.
And re-making that piece instead of moving on to new works as planned is how I sent my next two deadlines crashing into one another. Thankfully I’ve now dug myself out, and my reward is to catch up on paperwork…