Joyaviva Mexico

Joya Viva Mexico. Get amongst it!


I’m heading on down to the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares in Mexico in a little over a week for the opening of Amuleto Joya Viva: A Través Del Pacífico, otherwise known as Joyaviva: Live Jewellery Across the Pacific. I’ll be at the opening on the 9th as well as the forum on the 10th of April, where I’m going to be speaking about the C3 project in the context of the Melbourne jewellery scene at the time of its inception.

The exhibition has been touring a while now (since opening in Melbourne in 2012) and this is my first opportunity to see it since saying goodbye in Melbourne a day or so before I left there for the Pacific Northwest. Knowing that many of the charms that Jill and I fabricated ready for action had not yet been ‘implemented’ at that stage, I’m actually keen to see what our display looks like with our new images and feedback cards.

Of course our blog entries that documented our charms movements has been updated during this time, which I encourage you to check out – especially if this talk is all a mystery to you… (And there’s more info in previous posts around here too.)

See you in Mexico!

Deadlines March 2014

Deadlines. The deadliest.

A few less this month – now we’ve passed the Ides of March ‘hump day’ which seemed to be a central vortex for a bunch of deadlines. Let me know if you’ve seen any others about.

And if you’re keen on more recent CaFE entries I encourage you to see what is being offered by checking out their site and even signing up for the email updates.

Are you in The Britain? Sign up to the benchpeg newsletter, whydoncha? They’ll send you a much more professional newsletter with this kind of material, weekly.

*** This month’s new additions*** Super new as of 2nd of April ***

Opportunities with deadlines

23rd Legnica International Jewellery Competition ‘CLASSIC’. Work to the theme, prizes ahoy! Deadline for sending works:  30th March 2014.

*** Cominelli Foundation Award 2014. Deadline 31.Mar.2014.

*** Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts, juriedexhibition. Deadline – 1st April 2014.

Workshop: Liquid Enamel for Steel and Copper. Come learn to enamel on steel with ME! Weekend class takes place on the 5th and 6th of April, 2014 at the Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. Enroll here! Cancelled!! We’ll try again later in the year…

TOP Jewels – National Jewelry Design Exhibition, “A showcase featuring the very best artists working in the medium of jewelry design to educate the public about their craft.” USA only exhibition opportunity, entries through CaFE. Deadline April 11th 2014.

*** Uniques 2014. SNAG is doing a second volume of their Uniques sale on Etsy, this time in tandem with writers. Entries accepted until April 12, 2014.

*** 2014 Neddy at Cornish Call for Applications Now Open. Seattle – greater Puget Sound region. Deadline 20th April  2014.

*** Curator of Fine Metalwork and Exhibitions Manager, The Metal Museum, Memphis. MA’s or PhD’s required. No deadline – sooner rather than later though I’d say.

*** Harpo Foundation Grants for under-recognised Visual Artists. (Nope, not THAT Harpo…) Americans only. Deadline May 6, 2014.

BKV Prize for Young Applied Arts. 9th May 2014.

New Traditional Jewellery 2014. As a part of the SIERAAD arts fair in Amsterdam, this competition has taken ‘ CONFRONTATIONS’ as the 2014 theme. Registration due 1st June 2014.

The Halstead Grant Call for Entries. “The Halstead Grant is awarded each year to a promising new jewelry designer working primarily in silver.” Deadline June 9, 2014.

*** Mari Funaki Award for Contemporary Jewellery. Applications close 18 June 2014 (11:59pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time. That’s a day ahead of you US peeps.)

Call for papers for c+de#7 (2015) NOW OPEN:“Landscape, Place and Identity in Craft and Design”. Guest Edited by Kay Lawrence. (c+de#7 = Craft and Design enquiry issue 7). The Call for Papers for this issue is now open and will close on 30 June 2014.

*** Harpo Foundation Grants – Emerging Artist Fellowship (residency). (Still not THAT Harpo…) Americans only. Deadline July 5, 2014.

*** Koru 5. Triennial event organized by Finnish Jewellery Art Association. DEADLINE for applications is 1.8.2014. (That’s the 1st of August for you Americans 😉 )

Rolling + Undated Opportunities

Assistantships, Residencies, Volunteering & Employment at Touchstone Center for Crafts, Farmington, PA.

PORTFOLIO AND EXHIBITION PROPOSALS FOR LINCOLN CENTER ART GALLERIES – entry via CaFE, but instructions on the linked site (hint, scroll down).

The Peoria Art Guild. “Currently accepting submissions, and are sending out a call to artists, around the world and at all stages in their careers, to submit their portfolios for consideration.”

Commissioners’ Choice Invitational Lone Tree Arts Center.– entry via CaFE, but instructions on the linked site (hint, scroll down).

Contemporary Metal in Perth have updated their class timetable and there is some great stuff on offer. Check it!

Dallas County Community College District – Visiting Artist for our Art Metals Summer Workshop in Summer 2014.

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.

And finally

There’s this Art Prize Website for Aussie artists, where you can sign up for regular updates.

Put a pod on it

Quatrefoils. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

I don’t know if I have mentioned my love of podcasts here before? I don’t think I have. It’s what I do. I make jewellery in the afternoons, and listen to people talk.

I was listening to a favourite today, 99% Invisible with Roman Mars. It’s a design podcast, and it’s chock full of ‘aha’ moments – you know, that point when someone links two phenomena that you were already familiar with and explains how they’re interrelated or interdependent?  I love those moments. It’s the awe of pure learning.

This latest episode though really spoke to my heart, as it echoed back what I found out about the quatrefoil during my MFA research. One at a time, I’ve probably strung over a thousand of these shapes in my jewellery works. And hell, any podcast that name-checks Owen Jones gets two thumbs up.

Middle Ages #5 from The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones, 1856. Scan from, 2006. Sourced 2009
Middle Ages #5 from The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones, 1856. Scan from, 2006. Sourced 2009 (notice how he even arranged his crosses into a cross shape? Attention to detail, y’all!)

And then Alex Sandifer (@Refidnas) in the comments section of that page has linked a clip to Sesame Street; because of the connection to Jones’ works by the ‘Street animators. See what I mean about the ‘aha’?

I went to: Richmond!

Richmond, VA, not Richmond, VIC. I like ’em both, but I still prefer VIC. Don’t tell anyone, we can keep this between you and me, right…?

So I shipped out of Asheville on Tuesday evening and flew into Richmond. I was invited to Virginia Commonwealth University by metals professor Susie Ganch to be an artist-in-residence for the beginning of the ten-year anniversary edition of the Radical Jewelry Makeover project. Again this entailed a lecture and one-on-one meetings, (as a guest of the Craft and Material Studies area of VCU Arts I spoke with artists from across the crafts – admittedly though mostly metals folks) and this time some studio time too.

After some crit sessions on Thursday morning I gave my new lecture. I was a lot more confident than the first time, which improved my volume – a problem in Kent. I then joined the students in Susie’s afternoon class to make some jewellery for the Radical Jewelry Makeover project, after a brief lecture on my process and material choices to this class.

Susie’s right-hand-man in Richmond was Windgate Fellowship recipient and resident artist Jaydan Moore. I was surprised to meet him there, but really chuffed since I had been introduced to his work by a friend who told me to look out for him at Penland, as there he’s an incoming resident. I was way too early too catch him at Penland – but won the jackpot by getting to hang out with him at VCU, where we chatted as he worked on one of his prints.

Since we were all working on RJM pieces it was a good opportunity to work in amongst the group, so while I roamed a little talking to students, I also got down to business. I spent my first afternoon drafting in AutoCad, as I hadn’t done any work on my intended piece, aside from photograph and dismantle it back home. (If you’re unfamiliar, RJM was the parent of the Once More With Love exhibition, and has borrowed the latter’s idea of sending out bags of recycled jewels to invited artists to make their work from.) Like all the students, I had one of my (hopefully) future exhibition pieces to work with. Yup, we were all playing for keeps.

Working in Cad is normally a concentrated and quiet solo process, so it was a challenge to come up with something I was happy with in a busy environment. I had a great time talking to students, doing a demo of capping steel cable with solder and helping sort more donations of materials then identifying the gold and silver amongst the piles and piles of random metal, but I learned that when it comes to drawing I really am used to that cone of silence. But when I finally printed my plan on Saturday morning and began drilling and sawing, I just about finished up my piece that day. Having said that, I finished the piece last week and photographed it before working on it again this week, finishing it for a second time. And I’m still not content with it. I now plan to take parts off and enamel them before restringing. I’ll let you know how that goes….

While in the studios surrounded by a huge bounty of jewels to recycle I succumbed to the allure of a couple of new things, which I was encouraged to take with me to work with. I’m now fixated on the (very flimsy) base of a sterling silver candlestick that Susie gave me. As a consequence, the objects that I formerly thought were going to be my focus, (see them on the RJM website) have lost favour. Though that badge still has my attention…

My jewels for the RJM show at the Richmond Center for Crafts have to be in Susie’s hands by next week, so I’d best get off the internetz and get on with them.



All those boxes have donated jewellery in them. They have been sorted into material and shape categories
All those boxes along the wall have donated jewellery in them. They have been sorted into material and shape categories
Sorting more silver - the pile in the middle is to be melted down, but chains and some wire is kept as is.
Sorting more silver – the pile in the middle is to be melted down, but chains and some wire is kept as is.
RJM Gold. These ingots tested at around 12-14 karat
RJM Gold. These ingots tested at around 12-14 karat
RJM silver
RJM silver
Jaydan printing from silver plated serving platters. One of those ideas you instantly wish you'd thought of.
Jaydan printing from silver plated serving platters. One of those ideas you instantly wish you’d thought of.
In the Studio
In the studio
My drawing and pieces finished, ready to saw
My drawing and pieces finished, already starting to saw
At the end of the day; just about ready to assemble.
At the end of the day; just about ready to assemble.


I went to: Asheville and Penland!

Melissa goes to: Asheville and Penland. This is her report.

So I left Ohio behind via Cleveland airport and headed down to Asheville, North Carolina, from where I had booked a car to go check out Penland School of Crafts. Why? Well, good question. I had time to kill, and I have accumulated a long list of friends who have been involved with Penland as both residents and teachers, so being an inquisitive type I’ve been looking for an opportunity to go and check it out for myself. When I met Elizabeth Brim in October last year we talked about Penland since she lives in the surrounding hills. Finding out that I had never been, she kindly volunteered herself as tour guide if I wanted to head over sometime. I knew I had the Richmond trip on the horizon, and despite it being the off-season down there, she said that it was worth the trip at any time. So off I went!

After taking suggestions from another friend of what to do and where to go in Asheville I stayed the night with the remarkable Gwynne Rukenbrod, and had dinner with her and the irrepressible Marthe Le Van. Before dinner we called in to Mora – Marthe’s jewellery gallery downtown. It’s a huge space with some impressive glass cabinets in the centre of the space and lit painted wooden ones lining the walls. There’s a lot of work in there, with the potential for more, so Marthe’s considerable curating expertise is being utilised as she slowly acquires more artists.

It was a glorious day to be in Asheville, which was happily repeated the following for my day at Penland. I’m not big on driving in show so the well-above-freezing temperatures and full sunlight were much appreciated. I hit Elizabeth’s place, just a few miles from Penland, around 10 am and I followed her further into the hills for a tour of the school. We went all around, through the studios and into the store and coffee shop, as well as a quick visit into some of the resident artist studios including that of glass artist Micah Evans, who welcomed us in for a chat.

It’s a picturesque sprawling campus, much of which overlooks a grassy valley, where, I was told, just a couple of weeks earlier many of the Penland and local residents had been tobogganing and snow-tubing down the hill. Elizabeth is very knowledgeable about the history of the place, and its former inhabitants, so she was the consummate tour guide. I was taken through all of the studios. They are uniformly beautifully set up and maintained. To be honest, they looked better than their counterparts in most of the universities I have seen. I don’t know if this is a maintenance thing (which everyone seems to take pride in) or the age, but just, well, wow.

Over lunch in the small cafe,  a guy who I had met earlier in the blacksmithing studios told me that it’s simply the best place to learn. He said something like; ‘You learn more here in 8 weeks than a semester, hell probably more, in college.’ It was then that I finally ‘got’ what the system of craft schools here is all about. It’s uninterrupted vocational training by people from industry, in a near-to-perfect learning environment. No distractions, good facilities, classmates equally keen to suck up knowledge.

Given this example of the form – and might I add, Penland is considered one of the originators and its schedule is rumoured to fill the quickest – (check out my paper that discusses these schools for some of the other examples) this education system makes a compelling use case. Mind you, this is coming from someone who is yet to fully experience such a place as a learning environment…

Blacksmith studio
Blacksmith studio
Blacksmith studio
Blacksmith studio
Elizabeth in the blacksmith studio
Elizabeth in the blacksmith studio
Jewelry studio
Jewelry studio
Jewelry studio
Jewelry studio
One of the historically significant buildings on the campus
One of the historically significant buildings on the campus
in Micah Evans' studio
in Micah Evans’ studio



I went to: Kent State!

Oh hi, I went to Ohio 😉

So on the 12th of February I spent the day flying to Cleveland, Ohio, where I met up with Kathleen Browne, the Jewelry/Metals professor at Kent State University’s School of Art who took me out to Kent, about an hour out from Cleveland.

Owing to the recent weather patterns on the east coast and inland I was wary of cutting it too fine, so my arrival was the day before the opening of The Digital Hand on the 13th. The exhibition, as the name implies, was of jewellery works by artists who use digital technologies in their practices. The opening went really well, as did the opening of the student show upstairs. While at our show I got to have a great chat with some local artists who were involved, including Matthew Hollern and partner Pam Argentieri. (Check out the catalogue below to see their work.)

The following day I gave a lecture on my practice for the department of art, which went pretty well. It’s a tough thing to practice, talking in public, since rehearsing in front of an audience is not really workable. It’s like stand-up comedy in a way, the only way to get good at it is to do it. Hopefully, with all the practice I’m getting, I’ll someday get really good at it!

While I was there I also spent some time with some students, mostly graduates (what we in Aus would call postgraduate students – students undertaking their MFA’s), talking with them about their work. And I got a tour of the enamelling studio, which included the great big new enamelling kiln.

On the Saturday we trekked back into Cleveland where Kathleen and I met up with Gretchen Goss, another enamel artist, whose work I was familiar with after installing it for first Heat Exchange exhibition in 2012. Together we toured the recently fully-reopened and pretty ah-maz-ing Cleveland Museum of Art for the afternoon. The collections and the architecture are incredible, I really recommend a visit.

While in town I stayed with Kathleen and partner Stephen, also an impressive artist. They were fantastic hosts, and the time with them allowed me to tour both of their studios which is always a fascinating peek behind the curtains of an artist’s process.

The Digital Hand – Catalogue

The Digital Hand exhibition
The Digital Hand exhibition
My work
My work
3D printer on site
3D printer on site
The grad studio - Kathleen
The grad studio – Kathleen
Ravenna - dusk
Ravenna – dusk
Ravenna - morning
Ravenna – morning