Seams, Seems

Seams Seems is an exhibition at Monash University featuring alumni from that institution and the Rhode Island School of Design. It is also the title of a symposium being held to coincide with the opening of the exhibition on the 19th of July. The keynote speaker is Dr Robert Bell AM from The National Gallery of Australia who is the Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design there, and a person who I am very keen to hear speak. The rest of the lineup for the day is equally impressive.

Check out the flyer below for more details;


I’m amongst the alumni who will have new works on display, and I will definitely be attending the symposium. Hope to see you there!

JMGA 2013 Participation and Exchange – Toowoomba Road Trip!

Going to BrisVegas for the JMGA conference? Go see the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery’s collection of jewellery works.

Here’s a good opportunity for some pre-conference exchange. The organisers of the conference have just posted on their blog that “We have been offered a great opportunity to view the collection of acquired works from the Biennial Contemporary Wearables Exhibition, held at Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery.” So it’s off to Toowoomba to check out the collection in its natural habitat! I know (part of?) the collection toured a little while ago, though it never came past Melbourne which was a huge shame, so I for one never got to see it.

The Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery were the first public collection to purchase one of my works (you can see an image of the piece, Marian’s compact – radial pattern through the first link above) as a part of the biennial competition a few years ago. They acquire the winners of the competition as well as other pieces (like mine) each time the competition is held, and they have a few other older (as in 100 years or so older) pieces of significance. Thanks to their steady collecting of ‘Wearables‘ winners since 1989, they have gradually collected works by a big bunch of Australian jewellers. If you’re going to be in town (unfortunately I arrive in Brisbane later that day so I’m going to miss it) I would strongly urge you to go check it out if you haven’t already. It’s our history!


Alloy at Touchstone

Melissa alloys with the Alloy group.

“Alloy is a collective of metalsmiths and jewelers who work in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, and surrounding areas. Alloy consists of established and emerging makers whose work encompasses the broad range of skills, techniques, and concepts in the metals field. This exhibition includes jewelry, furniture, objects, and small sculpture from a selection of Alloy members. The Alloy Group Exhibition runs from June 22 through August 11, 2013, in the Bea Campbell Gallery.”

Text taken from the description in the June issue of the Touchstone e-newsletter.

Coming up on the 29th of June is an opening celebration for the Alloy collective exhibition at Touchstone Centre for Crafts in Farmington, Pennsylvania. Owing to my repeated trips there, and the wonderful collection of friends I have made from within the Alloy collective I have been invited into their group show 🙂

I hope if you’re in western PA you get a chance to check it out.

Jewellery in Korea

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea is currently playing host to a big jewellery show. Yeah!

So thanks to a post on Heejoo Kim’s The Fifth Season blog I see that there is an exhibition of jewellery from over forty local artists currently on show at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA). As Kim has worded it, the exhibition has been planned by Yong-il Jeon, Professor at Kookmin University, and the gallery itself on their website nominates the curator as Sooyoun Lee.

The exhibition, entitled Ornament and Illusion – Spectrum of Contemporary Jewelry has over 200 works on display, and runs for over six months from the 12th June, 2013 til the 28th February, 2014.

More jewellery in a contemporary art museum. That’s very exciting stuff!

JMGA conference 2013

Melissa is presenting a paper entitled How to become an Artist jeweller: a community Case Study at the JMGA conference in Brisbane, which runs from the 12th-14th of July, 2013.

The speakers list for the Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia conference Participation and Exchange has been finalised and it looks like a very interesting lineup, (and that is despite my bias of actually being on it.)

My buddies Mary Hackett and Christine Scott Young are going to talk about a couple of Melbourne-based organisations that are very close to my heart, Part B particularly so. Going from the title alone I’m also guessing that Helena Bogucki is also going to tug on my heartstrings, as she talks about her work that both comes from and engages with my home-state, Western Australia.

And I’m presenting a paper entitled How to become an Artist jeweller: a community Case Study (which probably should have ‘in the US‘ appended after jeweller), about the options available for training wannabe artists and metal smiths in Seattle. This is not as straightforward as it sounds given the closure of the approx 90 year-old local university program at the University of Washington a few years ago. Mary Lee Hu was the head there for many years, and when she finally decided to retire the university took the opportunity to close down the course. Sound like a recipe for disaster that could only happen in the US? Well, for a while there it looked as though my alma mater, Monash University, might be facing the same fate, so it’s a topic that I have more than a passing interest in. Lucky for Melbourne the program there still exists, but my investigation on Seattle unearthed a few more reasons as to why the loss of this college program was a tough blow to artists and school leavers in this city.

I was also hoping to carry on from this discussion to some more details of the other side of the industry – how to make it in the world once you have graduated from uni. There are a few different ideas on that here in the North America, but I had to cut that section owing to time constraints. What I’m saying is, if you manage to corner me in a bar some time, there’s plenty more of the tale to tell…

Hope to see you there, it’s going to be a great conference!


‘Are you a Mod, or a Rocker?’… “I’m a mocker” – Ringo Starr, Hard Day’s Night, 1964.

Nope, not the subculture that rose to prominence in London in the swinging 60’s, I’m afraid. Not quite (but at least a little closer to) case modding practiced by our brethren, the computer geeks. What I’m talking about is modding tools.

You know, how you put emery paper into the clasps of your saw-frame to sand the inside of enclosed rings. Or this. How you use an adjustable spanner (you US peeps will know this one as a wrench) as a vice.

01 Mod 02 Mod 03 Mod


I’ve been using this for some very awkwardly-shaped pieces of wood of late, but they’re all drilled now so this chopstick end (which I would admittedly drill without the tool…) is a stand-in.

I was talking about this to Michelle Kelly while she was visiting Seattle from Adelaide just yesterday (before she began the arduous journey back home) and how we thought the modding tricks performed by jewellers say so much about their practice, and can be really valuable when shared. So, what are yours? Comment or send me a pic/email describing them and I’ll put them up here. Probably un-modded…

Deadlines June 2013

Deadlines for artist jewellers all over the place. Get amongst it!

Upcoming opportunities to exhibit, learn, earn or perhaps even teach, from all over the world, including the internetz.  ** New additions ** (since last month’s post.) It’s a bit early this month but there are a couple of new additions closing next week.

Undated Opportunities

** Studio 20/17 seeks guest curators. How often does a well established gallery invite people to play inside their walls? Get amongst it!

Patina Gallery seeks Master International Artists. Make ‘Soul-Stirring’ works? Wanna be one of 3 artists added to their stable? No deadline, but post went up Jan 23rd, so perhaps sooner rather than later?

Tributaries: Call for entries. The Metal Museum, in Memphis, has an ongoing call for exhibitions from emerging and mid-career artists. First deadline Feb 2013, for upcoming shows, and they keep applications on file for 2 years.

The Imperial Centre for the Arts + Sciences in North Carolina have a permanent exhibition call out, with shows booked 2-3 years in advance.

Lord Coconut in Melbourne has outdone himself by publishing this listing of opportunities for artists in his gallery. As ever, this is to exhibit jewellery for men. Thanks to Karen at Melbourne Jeweller for the heads up.

Opportunities with deadlines

** New book on enameling in the making! CALL for Artists! Deadline June 10th.

Cheongju International Craft Biennale. South Korean competition and exhibition. This year’s theme: Something old, something new. Prize money amounts, and amount of awards being made have changed since 2011, with more money for less artists being the general trend (this info is available under the 첨부파일 (2) link which appears just below the ‘Attach Entry Form’ link, which is all on the landing page from my link above). June 13, 2013.

** UBI Top Young 2013 Graduation Series for Contemporary Asian Jewellery. Were you born and educated in Asia? Then here’s an award for you! Deadline June 15th 2013.

** 10x10x10xTieton. Mighty Tieton International Art Exhibition 2013 . Deadline June 17, 2013.

Making Jewelry Magic with the Orion Pulse Arc Welders: OK, so it’s just a class at the Southern Highland Craft Center in Asheville, NC, but I really want to go. I’ve been stopping into Orion’s page a lot of late (Tony Price – whoever that is – still keeps on trying to engage me with chat each time I open the window…) so when I saw this I was already primed to go. Anyway, it’s only $110, and on June 22nd and 23rd 2013.

Craft and Design Enquiry have a call for papers for their OPEN section, for Issue 6, 2014. Deadline for submission June 30 2013.

AJF Emerging Artist Award. The 2013 edition of this competition closes midnight on June 30th.

Play for Display. Open call out for jewellery to be displayed and ‘played’ – worn by gallery visitors. In conjunction with Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, it will go on show at gallery Four. Deadline June 30th 2013.

Lewton-Brain Foldform Competition 2013. Competition with a $25 entry fee, judged by the man himself – with others. Deadline: Midnight U.S. ET on Monday July 1, 2013.

** Enjoia’t 2013. Prize for Contemporary Jewellery Making. First deadline July 12th 1013.

Participation and Exchange – 2013 Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia conference in Brisbane, Australia. Conference dates: 12-14 July 2013, with early-bird registrations open now!

Enamel Surfaces – Add and Subtract. Workshop with enamel artist Elizabeth Turrell @ RMIT University in Melbourne. (more) Dates 17th of July – 21st July 2013.

** Itami International Craft Competition. The Museum of Arts and Crafts, Itami, Japan host this competition exhibition, an this year we’re back to the theme of jewellery. Entries due (by mail) July 31st, 2013

** 2013 Beijing International Jewelry Art Biennial. Jewellery competition, deadline for entries September 1st, 2013.

** Materials Hard and Soft. Juried craft exhibition, open to people in the US only. Deadline 6th September 2013.

** Leap Awards for emerging craft artists, courtesy of the Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh. Deadline October 1, 2013.


a quote from Esther Knobel from her book ‘The mind in the Hand’, 2008.

I read Ester Knobel’s book The Mind in the Hand whilst in the enamel studio at the University of the West of England in 2011 (Elizabeth left what I knew was a copy gifted to her by the artist on my desk one morning, so I read it without delay to give it back to her, unenamelled), and wrote down a quote in my (then) new sketchbook. I’m currently reading Lisbeth den Besten’s On Jewellery, and yesterday wrote down what I just confirmed was the first part of the same quote, in another new sketchbook.

“I’m bothered by the fact that theoretical commentary is left to theoreticians who control the words, whereas the artists themselves tend to be inarticulate, locking themselves up in their mute fortresses. But despite the muteness embedded in us, I feel that we have a duty and a responsibility to think, to formulate, to teach. In this series, I am attempting to clarify the [Hebrew] term milekhet mahshevet (work of craftsmanship), which actually has a poetic equivalent in English, namely ‘the mind in the hand.'”

Apart from the ideological issues, perhaps I also had to address my own need to define that evasive and obsessive mental state of the creative process, wherein your thoughts drive you to act, and the act pushes you to think.”

Esther Knobel (in conversation with Tamar Manor-Freidman) The Mind in the Hand, Carmel Publishing House, Jerusalem 2008, p xxiii


I’m in a book, I’m in a book, I’m in a book hey hey, hey hey!

So last year, or perhaps even the one before, I was contacted by editor-at-large Narelle Yabuka about having my works in a publication that she was getting together, to be called Up\Cycle.

It finally came out, and I finally got my hands on a copy.

c Upcycle 1


c Upcycle 2













Included are a bunch if different artists, designers and makers of all stripes whose work is ingeniously solving humanity’s landfill issues by working with recycled materials. It’s a beautifully designed and put-together book and I’m very pleased to have been included with such impressive talent. You can check it out (and even buy it if you like!) here.