Writing about jewellery

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture

Martin Mull, and about a million others.

You’ve noticed that writing about jewellery is a big thing right at the minute? Yeah, I’ve been seeing it too. There’s the posts that are being cooperatively published by the AJF and Klimt02 websites on criticism (we’re up to post #4 by Garth Clark, which has links back to the other 3) and then there’s a few awards and competitions that are trying to get writers writing and submitting jewellery analysis and criticism. I’m going to mention them first because one is possibly self-serving and the other is really interesting.

The first on is the annual 2 Danks Street Award for Contemporary Art Criticism. Thanks to a heads up in the Studio 20/17 newsletter, I’m now aware that my collection of works currently on display in the gallery, One Design, is an eligible exhibition to write about for the award. So if you’re an aspiring critical writer in Sydney, you’ve got a couple of days to go see my show and write about it to submit it to the award by the 15th of October. And let me be plain, I’m happy to answer any questions, and approve use of/furnish you with images for you to use alongside your essay.

Secondly, Sienna Gallery have just announced that alongside their biannual emerging artist award (you get a show in the gallery – for goodness sakes apply, American residents!) they will also be sponsoring an emerging writer platform award. This is a chance for an emerging writer to write about the emerging artist show, and be published, with editorial help provided.

This is all good. And a little hopeful. Possibly towards being overly optimistic.

I want people to write about jewellery, and I want jewellery artists to write about jewellery. But I also want the writing to be good. And when people are not practiced at it, when they have not been trained as writers, or have even chosen a profession because they know that they will be able to avoid structuring sentences for perhaps even months at a time, then the ramp-up to reasonable communication, let alone useful criticism, is going to require the endurance of a Tour de France type of  ascent, rather than the gentle up and over of mounting a kerb (or curb) in an SUV. So while I’m all for the idea of getting more writers, I’m also a realist. One who recognises that the writing needs criticism, just as much as the work being written about.

(And before y’all come after me with your burning soldering picks – I know I’ve written some bland dross on here on occasion, but I set up this blog as a practice forum. One of the two main reasons I’m here is to try to get my writing in tune for the kind of scrutiny I should reasonably expect as a working artist. [The other being to share my experiences with my colleagues, so that we all might learn from what I do right and what I do wrong.])

I’m keen for a renaissance of critical writing for art jewellery, as much for the development of individual works of jewellery as the raised standard of critical thought it will encourage, and also for the improvements in writing that it will undoubtedly foster.


What I’m reading:

Deutsche Kunst – Catalogue on artist Moritz Götze (also works in large scale enamel)
Gender and Jewelry: A Feminist Analysis  – Rebecca Ross Russell
Mies – Detlef Mertins
On Jewellery: A Compendium of international contemporary art jewellery – Liesbeth den Besten (Yes, still – I’m just about done, but when you underline, write down and research something on just about every page, it’s slow going!)
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World Mark Miodownik

On Order:

A History of Contemporary Jewellery in Australia & New Zealand – Damian Skinner and Kevin Murray


The AJF Blog and a feed of their Articles

Unmaking Things –

Unmaking Things is an online creative platform, edited and run by History of Design students at the Victoria and Albert Museum / Royal College of Art. It is a space in which questions can be raised, work can be published, and reflected on critically. Whilst the site is operated in connection with the MA course, we encourage connections between all those engaged in the field of design history, and so we welcome a diverse range of submissions – whether from students, practitioners, or professionals.

Group Exhibitions

Tis still the season for coinciding exhibitions!

Late next week, two exhibitions will open in which I will have on display several of my recycled object works. One is here in the US at Taboo Studio in San Diego, and the other in Italy as a part of the Cominelli Foundation Award for 2014. They both feature grand casts of luminaries – check them out if you’re in the area, and feel free to send me a selfie of you and my work if you happen to get along! I’d really love to see these shows in person, but I’ll settle for seeing them any way I can, including as a hazy background 😉

And before I again claim that wish I got to travel as much as my work does; I got back from Germany earlier this week where I went for close to three weeks for the HE project, and I’m more than happy to be grounded in sunny Seattle for a few weeks at the very least.. Lets see how long this lasts, eh?!


30 August Invito per web agc 10-00-21 LOCANDINA 2014 senza loghi

Deadlines August 2014

The timing is a little off on this one, but it’s still August, right? 

*** Added since first publication ***

Other places to find yourself some deadly deadline action:

  • CaFE – Call For Entry site: check out the site and sign up for email updates. America focused.
  • Sign up to the benchpeg newsletter,  professional jewellery news, delivered weekly. Britain focused.
  • Klimt02. Newsletter. Epic site. Enough said.
  • Snag’s Springboard – you can get that in an RSS feed, so each new entry will come straight to you. America focused.

*** This month’s new additions ***

Mesa Arts Center – various opportunities from juried craft shows to solo exhibitions. Various deadlines from August 2014 onwards.

*** Revere Academy Student Scholarships – check the site, several available, like: “New Student Scholarship. Scholarship for any 3-day class includes tuition, transportation, and lodging in San Francisco. Deadline: September 1, 2014″

*** Materials: Hard & Soft call for entries. Deadline September 5, 2014

*** CRAFT EMERGENCY 2014. International exhibition opportunity for anyone who considers themselves to be an emerging artist. Deadline For Submissions: Friday 5 September 2014

Stables Gallery run by Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham: Lacemakers. Call due Friday 5th September 2014.

*** 2015 AGTA Spectrum Awards & Cutting Edge Awards. Deadline September 19, 2014

*** Shanghai International Metalsmithing & Jewelry Art Exhibition. From what I can tell it’s like the Beijing one before it, you just send paperwork and send artwork, no jurying time. “[P]lease submit the artwork photos and application form to committee before 10th September, and send the artwork to committee from 20th September. The deadline of the receiving time for exhibits is 30th September.” 2014.

Wayne Arts Center juried exhibition Craft Forms 2014. Entries due September 20th, 2014.

*** IDEAS 14 Art Exhibition & Student Showcase. “iDEAS_14 is an international exhibition of innovative digital art, design, and new media.” Entry Deadline: 26 Sept. 14.

The Metal Arts Guild of Canada, CONCEAL/REVEAL: Exhibition in Print 2014. Submission Deadline: 30 September 2014

Jewelry Forum (AJF) is accepting applications for its 2014 Artist Award [Formerly their Emerging Artist award – I think…] NEW RULES THIS YEAR! – eg. you must be 35 years or under. Deadline for submission is September 30, 2014.

*** 2015 Saul Bell Award Competition. “There are seven categories in the 2015 competition: gold/platinum, silver/Argentium® silver, metal clay, enamel, hollowware/art objects, alternative metals/materials, and emerging jewelry artist.” Entries are due October 3, 2014. Emerging jewelry artists must submit entries by November 28, 2014.

*** Seattle Metals Guild 19th Annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium: Continuum. Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA. Saturday Oct 18 2014, 9:00am. I’ll be there – get amongst it!

Gallery 110 CALL FOR ART – International! 5th Annual Juried Exhibition February 5 – 28, 2015. Deadline for entries October 22, 2014.

GIA is accepting scholarship applications online for its 2015 Gemology and Jewelry Manufacturing Arts programs” (Quote from SNAG Springboard). Deadline October 31st, 2014

Preziosa Young 2015. “Worldwide goldsmiths, silversmiths, designers, artists, professionals, students, may submit their candidature, provided that they are not older than 35 years at the end of 2014. The selected artists (6 to 10) will be invited to take part to PREZIOSA Exhibition in Florence.” Deadline: 15 Nov 2014.

*** Art Jewelry Today 4. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. is calling for images for their new publication. Email me for the address to contact them for a submission form. Submission deadline for all materials is December 1, 2014.

*** CAST: “We are seeking high quality images of cast jewelry and objects.” Authors Jen Townsend and Renee Zettle-Sterling (SNAG President Renee and board member Jen) are calling for images of cast pieces, as well as the casting process. Application dates: Aug 1, 2014 – Feb 1, 2015.

*** Cooperation Garnish. “Metalsmith and jewelry artists are asked to form two-person working partnerships.  Each pairing should consist of a maker who self-describes as “traditional,” the other self-describing as using nontraditional materials and/or decidedly current techniques. In essence: 2 diverse approaches should be clearly evident in the resulting work.” Deadline: Feb 15, 2015. 

*** American Society of Jewelry Historians, scholarship award competition, for current and recent graduate students. Deadline June 15, 2015

Rolling + Undated Opportunities

* Job Opportunity * Curator of Fine Metalwork – Exhibitions Manager
Metal Museum, Memphis, TN. Please email or mail resume, letter of interest and three references to Carissa Hussong, Metal Museum, 374 Metal Museum Drive, Memphis, TN 38106, carissa@metalmuseum.org.

Artist in Residence in the Industrial Monument Jakob Bengel – Idar-Oberstein, Germany. 1-3 month residency for jewellers in the factory, including stipend and accommodation! Looks amazing.

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!

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.

19th Annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium

Something for the Table, 2013. Myra Mimlitsch-Gray Hand wrought silver. 2.5x12x8"
Something for the Table, 2013. Myra Mimlitsch-Gray Hand wrought silver. 2.5x12x8″ Reproduced with permission.

Announcing the 19th Annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium

Saturday, October 18th

Washington State History Museum

1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402

The volunteer members of the Seattle Metal Guild’s Symposium Committee are pleased to announce this year’s lineup of speakers for the annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium. Working to the theme of Continuum, we have selected six speakers – curator Suzanne Ramljak, historian Stephen Fliegel, metalsmith Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, artist Jennifer Trask, jeweler Todd Pownell and sculptor Vivian Beer to share their expertise and wisdom with our audience.

This year the event coincides with the unveiling of the exhibition Protective Ornament: Contemporary Armor to Amulets at the Tacoma Art Museum. Speaker Suzanne Ramljak, editor of the prestigious Metalsmith magazine has curated this exhibition, which also features many Northwest artists. She will be on hand to celebrate the opening along with its initiator Carissa Hussong, of the Metal Museum in Memphis.

The beautiful Washington State History Museum, located a short stroll from TAM, will play host to this incarnation of the Symposium. The date also coincides with the annual Tacoma Arts Month, which this year will again feature Metal-Urge, a celebration of metal arts with multiple events planned for locations throughout the city during October.

The close-of-day speakers’ reception will also double as the opening celebration for the Protective Ornament exhibition, meaning Symposium attendees will be among the first to see this beautiful collection of wearable objects.


Founded in 1989, The Seattle Metals Guild is a non-profit community dedicated to promoting educational and networking opportunities for metals artists at all career levels and skill sets through lectures, workshops, social gatherings, and other enrichment opportunities, in order to strengthen our creative community.



Bookings via the SMG website

Only a couple of places left!!

Image of the main workshop material, a laser cut pattern in 1.5mm thick timber
Image of the main workshop material, a laser cut pattern in 1.5mm thick timber

I have designed a workshop to coincide with the launch of my One Design collection at Studio 20/17 in Sydney. It’s on this weekend and there are still a couple of places left. Get along!

Workshop details and booking info

Taking place from 10am on 23rd August, 2014 at Studio 20/17 in Waterloo, NSW.

But what is it exactly? Well…

How many different objects can you create from one pattern? Be part of a fun DIY collaborative workshop to create unique works from a suite of pre-cut forms designed by jewellery artist Melissa Cameron. The class will be held in the gallery space to ensure that the new works do not duplicate any pieces in the exhibition. The results will be shown alongside the artist’s work for the duration of the exhibition and can then be taken home by the participants.

The pieces will be joined by silk thread and I have hand-made a bunch of fixings – brooch pins, earring posts and the like – to attach the pieces to the body. That leaves you to concentrate on the main challenge – making something completely new from the pieces of the pattern. It’s up to you to challenge the material and the design in any way you can!

Sydney Design link to Exhibition and Workshop

Heat Exchange 2

This week I’ve been blogging over at the Heat Exchange website. That’s because I’m in Erfurt, Germany for two weeks with several artists from the project, and a couple of extra friends of the Künstlerwerkstätten thrown in for good measure, experimenting and making works (hopefully!) for the forthcoming exhibition.

Check out my first posts, on our first weekend Erfurt and a little photo diary of our week so far in the studio. More images and video from me as well as posts by my esteemed colleagues to come!