Part B

Part B is off to Gallery Funaki. Come along!

This Saturday, November  5th, Part B heads to see the about-to-close exhibition by David Bielander, entitled Ripsnorter, at Gallery Funaki. Having seen David speak about the show on Thursday at RMIT, and having snuck off to Perth over the weekend where I saw another show of his at the Midland Atelier, I’m looking forward to the chance to chat about his work.

Not a jewellist

Art. It’s beautiful. Chloe makes it. She’s beautiful too.

But an artist. My friend and sometimes collaborator, Chloe Vallance, is up to her amazing tricks again. I got sent the best invitation to an exhibition ever this week – I’ll have to photograph it for you some time. It was literally a piece of timber. Partially painted. Pure inspiration.

An invitation, you say? Well yes, her latest show opens tonight at Brunswick Arts Space. It’s on til the 13th of November.

I’ve switched to DraftSight

Melissa is testing her reserves of intestinal fortitude by switching to a new Cad program after 7 years…

And it’s driving me batty… Recently AutoCad LT was released for Mac, but against a free CAD package (the aforementioned yet craziness-inducing DraftSight), and despite my 7 whole years of loyalty to the smallest little program in the AutoDesk family, it’s finally lost me†.

But if AutoDesk decide to include some parametric capabilities in their next release of AutoCad LT, I’m willing to fork out for it (so long as the Australia dollar keeps up its end of the bargain.)

†For the moment, unless my grouping issues get to be too big to handle…

Currently on the bench

What’s on Mel’s bench? Bits of this plate… In fact almost all of it, except the lemel, which is under it…

An 800 silver platter/plate

This is the plate that now lies in pieces on my bench in the studio. It is stamped 800 and was bought from an antique store in Melbourne earlier this year. In fact, I bought it at the same time as the pieces I bought for my Buda entries.

I walked out of the store, after deliberating on all three pieces for some time, with the two plates that ended up making up The Raven and The Fishes. I got into my car, and realised before I’d finished sitting down, that I had to have the other plate as well. For some reason, right then, I thought it was going to be the Buda work, so obviously I had to go back and get it.

In the end, I couldn’t work with it. I had chosen specific themes for the Buda piece, and that plate just didn’t want to play with those motifs. The border, now the frame to the new work, was busy saying something that was conflicting with the message that I was attempting to impose on it. So I went back to using two separate plates for the Buda work, and tucked this plate away with my small stash of other objects awaiting destruction.

It’s interesting that I always refer to them as being sliced or destroyed, they are always coming into harms way, rather than being referred to as renovated, say, or rejuvenated. Maybe reanimated, as if the works were some sort of Frankenstein’s Monster would be a reasonable lexical compromise?

recent works 3

Melissa shares a couple more works, this time with added enamel!

Enamelled Wreath Brooch Large - black, Melissa Cameron, 2011. Stainless steel, vitreous enamel, 925 silver fixings
Enamelled Wreath Small - Blue, Melissa Cameron, 2011. Stainless Steel, vitreous enamel, 925 silver fixings

The top brooch used transparent enamel over the steel, thus the cloudiness of the finish on some pieces. The bottom piece was an irregular coat (of a newly acquired enamel – I’m still fine tuning its consistency), thus the blackened metal coming through on some of the pieces.

These are tough little guys to enamel, owing to the tiny size of the inserts; they’re about 5mm in diameter. I now wear a silk cord tied with two leftovers from the top work. In each of these ‘spares’, one of the two 0.5mm holes was completely sealed by enamel, rendering them useless for the brooch. Lucky I have a few spares around the place, as I have to always enamel more than I need, to insure against the inevitable failures.

Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize

Melissa’s work Three From Three goes on display in Double Bay, in NSW. Ritzy, eh?

Three From Three, Melissa Cameron, 2011. Stainless steel, titanium, vitreous enamel.

The exhibition of the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize begins tonight night in Sydney. Above is my work, entitled Three From Three, which is one of the 40 finalists. The exhibition will run from the 22nd of October – 6th of November (9:00am – 6:00pm weekdays, 10:00am – 4:00pm weekends,) at the Redleaf Council Chambers, 536 New South Head Road, Double Bay.

The finalists page has been updated on the website, so you can now see all the works up there, and this year, vote for your favourite piece. [Don’t worry, I’m done with rallying votes for these things.]

These works are made from thirteen repetitions of the same three-tiered pattern. Their structure relies on the tension achieved in the 0.45mm stainless steel cable, between the layers of the 1mm stainless steel and titanium pieces.

The base three-tiered pattern that makes up the horizontal members is both iterative and radial. Iterative, in that the three sections while different, fit into one another perfectly like puzzle pieces; and radial, as they repeat a single segment eight times to create a full circuit.

The enamelled vessel was completed in Bristol during my residency at UWE earlier this year, while the stainless steel and titanium vessels were made upon my return.

craft news

Melissa + Craft = ?

In my own head, I don’t define my works as craft.

There, I said it.

I know that jewellery practice can be described as a craft practice, and I am more than happy to appear in craft dialogue as a jeweller, but in my mind neither of these holds much sway. I struggle to reconcile what are seemingly fast barriers between the genres, that purport to define what I make and how I go about their making, and while I don’t think of my works as design objects, they don’t appear much like craft to me either.

I go with terms ‘artist jeweller’, ‘jewellery artist’ or ‘research jeweller’, (though the term ‘research’ is hard to use outside of the industry, given that at this early stage in its usage it seems to require a manifesto to explain its relevance to jewellery. You know, that stuff people wear)

When caught off guard and really pressed, I retreat while throwing in the word ‘design’, which confuses my inquisitor (and often myself too,) as it is then generally assumed that the designer is not the maker. So I have to backtrack a little, to say that I do make, and then I might add that it’s really more like art. I make what I want, when I want, and I work generally in series, making pieces that are connected to one another. Some people then compare it to haute couture, which I don’t deny, since that shows a reasonable understanding of the different approaches to creativity, and the connection that exists between high and low fashion, with the inference that it also applies between mine and ‘normal’ jewellery.

But this is not at all what I was planning to talk about.

On hearing the news that Craft Australia is being de-funded by the federal government, I didn’t know what to think. What would be gained, and what would be lost, by closing it down?

My first thoughts were that I have newly acquired friends over there who will no longer be employed, and that it would mean the closure of the website, which has been my primary point of, and motive for, contact with the organisation. To be honest, I can’t remember if I spent much time on the site before I found I was going to be published on it, I’m sure I would have seen it in passing, reading the odd linked article in their library.

I then realised that in losing the site, and the blog, I will lose an incoming source of information to my RSS feed, about Australia-wide events. Thoughts of losing the site itself also put the focus on my own work – research work – since I have had a couple of articles published on their website and blog, (one of which I know does reasonable trade, as it consistently appears in the top 10 list of most viewed articles for the month.) That made me think of the other practitioners of whom I had read on the site, and the recent exhibition articles (such as on the Tinker Tailor… exhibition) that have appeared there, and that I thought were deserving of the wider audience.

And I guess that’s the crux of it. Of the over eighty (80) blogs/sites that I subscribe to, there are only five others that could be termed ‘aggregators’ relevant to my jewellery practice, that is, blogs that showcase a wide variety of jewellery news and events. Of them, only three regularly have details of more than one city, and then one of those regularly feature news from Australia. So now this single feed, which relies on its membership to post updates, invitations and blogs of upcoming competitions and events from around Australia, will have to suffice alone.

I understand that no single-author blog is exhaustive, in part because blogs generally rely on the goodwill of an unpaid blogger/author to find (and be sent) the local happenings to publish them. I obviously subscribe to a bunch of them to get my full array of jewellery news, which I view as an important adjunct to my practice. (And I subscribe to a design aggregator too, thought it is rarely updated.)

Between these single-author blogs, the email updates of several galleries as well as Klimt02, and the Craft Australia news stream (which while I praise it, I am still known to curse due to the lack of geograpic detail in their summaries, which makes me click through to many an irrelevant item) I like to think I get a relatively accurate picture of what is going on in the world of jewellery, throughout Australia.


In the Australia Council PDF (linked on the Craft Unbound article above) it says:

“As a response to the decisions it made, the Board agreed to develop two new initiatives: a National Craft Strategic Initiative with a total budget of $400,000 over four years that will build advocacy and strategic opportunities for the Australian craft sector; and a four year National Media Arts Strategic Initiative to give new direction and strategic opportunities for the Australian media arts sector with a total investment of $340,000 over the next four years.”

I wonder what that will be?