For your ears

Melissa on the radio. On the internetz. Fo realz

I am currently at the SNAG conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. As a part of the conference Jay Whaley has been doing his MetalSmith BenchTalk radio program from a spot inside the conference venue. For some reason they asked to speak to me, so starting about half an hour from the end you can have a listen to me speaking about the Heat Exchange show, amongst other things. (Ignore the listing, I ended up just after Loring for reasons unknown to me.)

Check it out

The New MCA

The extension to the MCA in Sydney has finally been finished and the architect has been out spruiking the green credentials of the building. The architects have put into place many new green products and strategies, but the biggest saver is in the water bill, primarily because of their heat exchange system, which uses Sydney Harbour water to cool the museum building.

Given our current Heat Exchange exhibition in Arizona, I thought it an opportune time to share the importance of efficient thermal transfer 😉

Thanks to Butterpaper for the heads up.


Space, the final frontier. Melissa is still exploring it and will no doubt continue til she’s well old.

My impromptu workbench, set up on the kitchen bench of an apartment in Dexter St, Seattle, using my photography lamps as task lighting. Melissa Cameron 2012.

As I mentioned previously, we have just moved again, this time into a two story family home with a basement. In the short time we have been here, the marked increase in space has had a profound effect on my mood and my thinking. Spatial dynamics, compositions and the mechanics of space creation are chief interests of my artistic practice, so I understand my susceptibility, or perhaps vulnerability, to the influence of spatial relations in my practice.  Having left the confines of a spatially dictated career – interior architecture – to begin another that allowed me to interrogate my awareness of space in a less explicit and practically focused way, I had begun to forget the effect that these recent changes would affect on my person.

I have cited already that my spatial awareness of Melbourne, a very different city to that of my childhood and early career, Perth, subtly infiltrated my thinking and resulted in very different jewellery forms from those I had been making in my home-town. The architecture that surrounds me, the space that it demarcates and encloses, is very influential on my thinking. And now I realise, on my being.

I find my awareness of my new situation being given form in spatial terms. Before moving into a house, but after coming to Seattle, my personal space contracted, shifting my awareness firmly onto the politics of space. I was keenly aware that in this great land mass, I, and my housemates, were set adrift. We had very little buffer zone, literal and figural. As political, social and monetary objects, our rights, and the personal space to which we had each become accustomed ‘back home’, had been eroded. Without title, our ‘land’ was a shared and precarious hold on less than 900 square feet of space. We were practically non-entities. We were without claim like any travellers, yet we were/are permanent residents. We were surrounded. My rights were and remain small and tenuous, my responsibilities to an unforgiving state a cause for fear, and a burden.

Being given access to a huge space, and myself personally to my own office and enormous studio, has once again altered my sense of self, and with that altered my sense of entitlement. Without space, I was a small little something. A commentator, maybe, but not a participant in the society in which we had chosen to live. With space comes rights, and responsibilities. With it I am back to being able to set my own agenda. I am also back to being myself, an artist. I feel empowered, that my opinion will once again matter, that my work is worthy of the effort.

The spaces I have, or have been allocated, are largely empty. But they speak of possibility. They are full of promise. Right now I feel keenly aware that my spatial turmoil was a fleeting circumstance. I feel for those for whom it is more permanent.

All over the shop

Melissa gets around. As does her jewellery.

Over this past week I’ve been ducking and diving like a boxerciser!

Last Friday the Oh Opal exhibition started at Redox Jewellery Studio in Geelong. There’s several updates on Melbourne Jeweller about her pieces in the exhibition, as well as on the show, and on the Part B blog Christine has put up some images of the opening. I was a little disappointed in my piece, as I broke my final raw opal while setting it. The design of my work was an extrapolation of the stones that were set into it, so if you change the geometry of the stone, the geometry of the piece should also shift. Needless to say, by the time I was setting the stone, it was a little too late for that…

I spent most of last week in Arizona, at the Shemer Art Centre and Museum, installing the Heat Exchange exhibition with my co-curators Elizabeth Turrell and Beate Gegenwart, and with the assistance of Cath Fairgrieve, one of our artists. We also had the help of the Shemer team, including the indomitable Anne Schutte. After a marathon effort the show went up and thanks to all involved it looks amazing. Now we await the final judgement of this year’s SNAG conference participants, who will all trundle out there towards the end of the month. For more about the work, the hanging, the Shemer and the opening head over to the Heat Exchange website.

After a quick dip in our rented house pool on Friday morning, I arrived back to cold and rainy Seattle on Friday afternoon, to be whisked away, in a large van, from the light rail in the city directly to our new (rented) house in Queen Anne. We offloaded my luggage and the first round of boxes and continued repeating same late into the night, waking the next morning to continue the process. Somewhere in the middle of Saturday we had to make a detour to Best Buy where we chose for ourselves a new washer, dryer and microwave.

So now I have a new house, with studio, and a permanent address. After nigh on two months in a tiny apartment with no studio, the feeling of space is almost overwhelming.