and a Happy New Year!

Happy Festival of over-eating and gift-giving!

Well, I’ve missed out on wishing you well on all the seasonal occasions thus far, but I hope you’ve had a relaxing and enjoyable time. Here at the Australian Embassy for Queen Anne and South Lake Union we’ve welcomed many guests from afar and have been busy with feeding and watering them all and showing them Seattle’s sight.

Now, back to the jewellery.

Jasmine Matus – recently mentioned on these pages in connection with the My Australia exhibition she’s curating in the far north of Australia – has been on a mission to make a brooch a day all throughout December, and has been documenting her efforts on her blog. She put a call out early in the month for materials from her blog readers, and I answered with a meagre selection of things that came immediately to hand, as I knew that I had to act fast what with the US/Aussie postal systems to negotiate. The goods did eventually reach her and she has just posted the results of her efforts. I’m incredibly impressed! Especially given the pile of oddments she had to work with. No knowing the scope of the project I didn’t know if she would put them into a single work or spread the objects amongst several. I have to say she chose what I think was the harder option, making a piece out of two pieces of cardboard, a 1m length of ribbon, some silk cord and other thread. Yes it’s a strange collection, but look at the post and all is explained 😉

Will the ingenuity and creativity of artists jewellers ever cease to bewilder and amaze?!

Workshop News

Melissa is teaching a workshop at Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh in March.

Yes, I’m still teaching a workshop in March at Society for Contemporary Craft. And to publicise the fact, I’m now featured working in my studio on the cover of the Winter/Spring classes catalog.

“Working” – with huge air quotes – is a more correct term. I was painting enamel onto steel on a Saturday afternoon without actually having turned the kiln on, just so Turbo could take a photo of me looking busy. I know, I know, I shouldn’t destroy the magic…

But since I’ve started, I’ll also add that I don’t usually have so much, if any, of my finished work surrounding me on the bench. When I’m at that desk it’s mostly enamels, brushes and half-enamelled pieces on trivets. Except that right now on that desk is a bunch of stuff including a small set of drawers, keeping dry away from the damp floor.

Did I mention it snowed yesterday? Frozen water isn’t a problem. Until it thaws…

Call for Papers: Participation and Exchange – 2013 JMGA Conference

The call for papers for the 2013 JMGA conference has just gone out. Will you apply?

From the Participation and Exchange website:

“We want papers that explore, investigate, uncover or expose participation and or exchange in practice within the fields of jewellery and metalsmithing.  Approaches for this may include but are not limited to:

1. Individuals and communities facilitating exchange of ideas, innovative models of interaction, cross cultural collaboration, experimentation and the development of strong networks.

2. Participation through dialogue, action and initiatives, activities to motivate change, to shift ideas or ideals.

3. The increasing relevance (or irrelevance) of online communities for contemporary practice. Do online communities enhance practice possibilities or do they take us away from real time in the studio?

4. Historical, contemporary or future contexts of practice. What has changed, what is new?”

For more info, hit the link above. 300-400 word abstracts due January 31st, 2013.

Jewellery in motion

I made a video. Actually, I made two. They are not very interesting, but they have me playing with my work.

I made two videos a couple of months back in an attempt to explain how to right a few of my Recycled Object works. I photograph every work that I make, taking care to show what I hope is an ideal view of the piece. When doing this I want to accurately capture the piece, yes, but also to show it in the best light. Unfortunately the best view is not necessarily what will turn up in the box at the gallery, especially should the pieces happen to shift around in transit.

Since I can’t guarantee what any work will look like once it hits the gallery doorstep, I wanted to preempt any queries about the works while I still had them with me. Thus these videos are designed to show how to prepare the works for installation at a gallery. While I don’t think that they’re overly complex little beasties, they do have a tendency to look wonky (especially some of the earlier pieces where I was still getting used to how the metal and cable parts of the works interacted) if the many planes aren’t lined up when they are displayed.

The easiest way to describe what I do to correct the works was through a visual medium, thus the videos. I can’t claim that these instructions are particularly interesting, and as video works they are definitely not technically interesting (I was using my stills camera to make them so they are firmly fixed focus) but they do show the movement of the works. So if you’ve never been able to play with one of these pieces and see how it reacts, these might be interesting to watch?

Red Radial Pattern (Pin) – Righting the layers from Melissa Cameron on Vimeo.

Cold Handle – Assembly tips from Melissa Cameron on Vimeo.

Deadlines December 2012

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. Git into it!

Upcoming opportunities to exhibit, learn or perhaps even teach, from all over the place (but mostly in Australia and the USA.) ** = New additions **** Very New Additions (Dec 19th)

Preziosa Young 2013. Must be under the age of 35 for all of 2013. Eight finalists are selection for exhibition in Florence, Italy, in 2013. Due December 15th.

Ketel One – The Modern Craft Project. Australia only. In concert with Wallpaper* magazine, a bunch of exhibition opportunities as well as the chance to win $100,000. Entries online for ppl 25 years or older, and due 5pm December 31st.

** Maker/wearer/matchmaker. NSW people only. I stand corrected! Also open to jewellers who live outside NSW if they’re a JMGA-NSW member at time of submission (as per the curator, Bridget Kennedy’s comment below.) Make a work for a Danks St Studios  gallerist to wear for a month. Entries due Jan 14th 2013.

** My Australia Exhibition. (Australian artists) Curator Jasmine Matus is planning a long-running show for a very particular kind of space. (Details via the linked PDF). Expressions of interest due Jan 15 2013.

Snag Exhibition In Print 2013 – Call for images of jewellery. Guest Curator Susan Cohn wants your images. One smart, one casual and one… well… your choice. Due Jan 15 2013.

** Graduate Metal. For new Australian metal graduates since the 2010 JMGA Perth conference, to be shown at the 2013 JMGA conference in Brisbane. Due Jan 15 2013.

SNAG 2014 Conference Presenters. Want to speak at SNAG? Due Jan 15th 2013.

** HDR Awards International Diamond Jewellery Competition. Within the theme of Trompe l’oeil they’re inviting you to get your diamond on. Entries due Jan 15th 2013.

** Residency at Studio Rian de Jong. Sponsored by the Francoise van den Bosch foundation. Entries due Jan 18 2013

Australia Council Early Career Residencies. They are what they say, and they offer up to $30K for artists and/or organisations. Due Jan 29th 2013.

La Frontera (trans. the borderlands). Exhibition about the US/Mexico border at Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City and Velvet da Vinci gallery, San Francisco. Submission deadline Jan 30 2013.

**** Participation and Exchange 2013 Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia conference Call for Papers. Submissions due 31st Jan 2013.

Contemporary Australian Silver and Metalwork Award, the award/exhibition formerly known as Buda. This year it’s headed to the Bendigo Art Gallery after many years being hosted by the Buda historic home and garden in Castlemaine. Deadline Feb 1 2013.

National Humanities Award – Medal Design Competition. For artists in the USA, chaps. Deadline Feb 1st 2013.

Amberif Design Award. Polish competition to produce a ring in amber. Deadline Feb 10th, 2013

Haystack’s Open Studio Residency. Open to anyone who can get themselves there. Deadline March 1 2013.

Building Jewelry from Found Objects. I’m teaching a class in Pittsburgh at the SCC (I know, I know, how sneaky…) on the 2nd and 3rd of March, 2013.

Design Sans Frontières: Metal Artists In Collaboration. Two designers, one vision. One major clause – one of your pair must be a member of the Metal Arts Guild of Canada. Due March 15th 2013.

** Society for Contemporary Craft Studio apprenticeship and Judy Cheteyan summer scholarship. For college students and recent grads (presumably from US schools). Both opportunities due March 15th, 2013.

Artist Blacksmith Association of North America – first ever convention. Lumpkin and Columbus, Georgia. March 15-17 2013.

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**disclaimer – please check all dates for veracity, and watch out for time zone shenanigans**

A weekend spent jewelerizing

The Seattle Metals Guild takes over the weekend.

I’ve been jewellery socializing (as the Americans spell it). Saturday night was the Seattle Metals Guild (SMG) annual Christmas Potluck Party with Ornament Swap. I made the ornament below out of the lid of a tin can which I enamelled, which went to one of the the party hosts Cynthia Toops. (And yes, I forgot to photograph it before I took it to the party but luckily Cynthia put it straight onto her tree so I could surreptitiously snap a pic.) I then picked Dana Cassara’s name out of the hat, and cheerfully wore home (and then decorated my tree with) a work by the current head of the SMG and owner of local open studio Danaca Design. Well played, universe!

Sunday morning, rather bleary-eyed (though less so than some others who stayed longer at the party than me and Turbo) around a table at Micki Lippi‘s house there was another, smaller SMG gathering, this time consisting of the Committee for the next SMG Symposium. Somehow (OK, via the forces of Micki, that’s how) I have ended up on the committee, and in charge of the book stall at the next symposium next fall. And in being around for all the other job assignments on Sunday I’ve ended up with some promotional duties as well. Like everyone else around the table, I also get to add my 2 cents worth on who the speakers might be. Given the list of potential candidates was as long as my arm, and was reduced to maybe a third of that amount over the course of most of the 2 hour meeting, I think the final list is still a way off. I’ll keep you posted!

Dropping in on the Bridge show

One of my colouring (or coloring) in sheets created for the Bridge 12 Drop In activity at the Society for Contemporary Craft. Feel free to print one up for yourself! © Melissa Cameron, 2012.

The Bridge exhibition continues, and with it the Drop In activity I created for the SCC. Sarah Loch-Test, a Pittsburgh resident and current “Studio Apprentice at the Society of Contemporary Craft where I work with the Studio/education department” has posted about her experience doing – and watching others have a go at – the Drop In activity over on her personal blog, as well as put an image of the whole studio setup on Crafthaus.

The activity doers.. erm, the activity crafters..? the activists?! OK, the craftivists! The craftivists have the option of making jewellery as illustrated or colouring in some drawings of my work that I have also provided. Thanks to one of Loch-Test’s images I have seen that at least one bright craftivist has thrown the rule book to the four winds and made a neckpiece by cutting out and joining up the motifs from the coloured in sheets. What a genius! Give that emerging talent a grant!

Now, back to the show itself. Over on the SCC site is links to image portfolios by each of the participating artists, so you can see the show even if you aren’t in Pittsburgh. I also have the media release for the show (also available for each of the artists under the Read More link on the individual artist page on the SCC site) so I’ve included a link to it below.

Melissa Cameron PR.Final

Website weevils

Melissa has been weevling about on her website. Is weevling a verb? Probably not…

Melissa Cameron. Point Line Plane Object I, 2012, from the La Geometrie series. Stainless steel, vitreous enamel. Image © Melissa Cameron, 2012.

Over on my main website the paucity of ‘Upcoming’ information had been noted by onlookers and insiders and brought to the attention of management. Gradually some of my shortcomings in the photo editing department had been corrected, leaving me to avoid viewing whole sections of my own damn website simply for my own sanity. There have been recent outings of a number of new works, of which I am quite proud and of which I had as yet unseen images. And the printer broke, leaving design work at a standstill (don’t worry, it’s not terminal, it turned out to have a bad batch of yellow ink).

The prevailing conditions were just about right… All that was needed was a shirtload of time and a backlog of podcasts to listen to.

Thus I’ve put down the tools this past week to weevil about on my website. To be perfectly honest, I got back from Australia with a tenacious strain of The Plague and so settling into the increasingly damp basement (despite the probability of needing to turn on the enamelling kiln which might help alleviate that problem) didn’t seem like the best decision for my health. And so, once I made if off the couch and back upstairs to my mean machine in the study, it was GAME ON!

Et voilà! I present to you the annual subtle overhaul of my virtual home. Despite first impressions which may lead one to believing that it’s just business as usual, there’s been quite the renovation; many existing images were fixed, images from older series that were held back awaiting exhibition/book publishing have now been added, as have many new works, including just about the whole La Geometrie series from this year. And yes, it is about a year since I last did this. Perhaps I should think about trying it biannually?

And finally, to explain myself. The first category, the ‘Exemplar’ group is there to bring works of all sections together in a single unique rainbow. This is mostly for applications in which the overseers have requested a single website link to images by the artist. It will be staying, for the time being.

Hey, you gots to leave some room for improvement, eh? 😉

Jewel Book 12 – 13

Jewel Book! [to be said in a booming tone, befitting of the weight of the tome and the imposing/pretentious nature of the title]

Jewel Book! New from the publisher Stichting Kunstboak. Image © Melissa Cameron, 2012.

The new jewellery book, Jewel Book 12-13 from Belgian publishers Stichting Kunstboek is now out. Given that applications were still being taken right up until April of this year, this has been a pretty quick turnaround for the artists who were chosen, myself included, from submitting their digital pictures to seeing their works in print.

The book consists of images gathered by submission from individual artists, enabling whole-page spreads of a single work, with up to five images featured from each artist (though most commonly each person gets a single page or double page spread). At the front three artists have been selected for the honour of receiving an ‘Oyster Award’ in gold, silver or bronze, but I’ll leave it up to you to come upon these heroes in your own time.

Page 122 from Jewel Book. It’s like being baptised, or perhaps launched. “I now claim you. Melissa Cameron, for the United States of America! May all who sail upon you…” Hmm, let’s leave it, shall we? Image © Melissa Cameron, 2012.

There was also an interesting editorial decision made in listing the country of each artist alongside their name on their featured page – and not the country of birth, but the country of residence. This means, amongst other things, that I’m a freshly minted American. For me personally that makes very little sense, but perhaps for others it’s more accurate? It does mean that the lions share of inclusions by country as ever goes to Germany, but when they’re taking in Helen Britton, Sam Ho Duong and Jiro Kamata it does become a less-than-level playing field. Of course there is the reverse – a little nation like Australia stacks up well against a bigger one like the USA – twelve entries to fifteen, but when they’ve have access to the likes of Jacquie Chan, Jeongmee Do and Daehoon Kang then there’s been a bit of a helping hand there too. Which is about where I start to think it’s a pity. South Korea and New Zealand, both with strong jewellery cultures don’t have any entries chalked up, while Japan and China share a handful between them. And the rest of the world – and The UK I’m looking at you with your fifteen inclusions – gets to look good off the borrowed talent.  Still, maybe it’s only fair that countries that support the jewel arts should get more recognition. Though in this context (and despite the fact that the entries chosen were whittled down from 2000 applicants) maybe other factors like advertising, or whether English is commonly spoken, were also influential. And home field advantage? Yup, Belgium definitely punch well above their weight, but then again, who you gonna call if not your kinsfolk?

As for my inclusion, I managed a double-page spread. I can’t say they chose my favourite of the works I sent, but then again, I looked back at my images and I made a very interesting decision while photo editing vis-à-vis cropping one of the works (I can’t remember the required file sizes, but perhaps my choices at that time reflect the pixel ratios required by the publisher.) My two pieces are both neckpieces and are 2012 works, and until recently had only been seen in one exhibition.

With 276 artists of 35 nationalities (hmm, really?) and over 540 pages I heartily recommend reading this fairly hefty tome. There’s quite a few artists I had not heard of, and some very beautiful photography of some really outstanding works (and some reasonable photography of a couple of my pieces too…)

The books is available via Amazon of course, and hopefully at your local retailers as well.

Jewel Book, P 122 + 123, featuring new works from the La Geometrie series of 2012. Left: ‘Point, Line, Plane Pendant I’ Stainless steel, 925 silver. Right: 2 Axis Neckpiece, Stainless steel, vitreous enamel, 925 silver. Image © Melissa Cameron, 2012.