Enamel time!

It’s enamel time!

Jewel for a wall - brooches, wall work

Yes folks, it’s getting close to enamel time. If you’re in New York State in the middle of next month, you can come take a two-day class with me at the Enamel Guild North East annual workshops, and see me give a presentation about my work at the conference on Sunday the 22nd of March. And if you’re not anywhere the US let alone Upstate NY, you can read about the impending shenanigans in an interview I did, as well as see some pictures of my new work there, or up on the EGNE facebook page. Go on, like me, you know you want to 😉

The coda to Pheeew-weee!

The coda to Pheeew-weee! from yesterday. Swings and roundabouts, folks, swings and roundabouts.

White linen thread. Comes in Ecru and Black too ;)
White linen thread. Comes in Ecru and Black too 😉

Then there’s this little coda: that week of horror was also how I came to receive the monthly prize at Nancy’s Sewing Basket, my local fabric store (and yes, it is about as quaint as it sounds). Their system is this: when you shop there you enter a draw to receive a gift voucher, the sum of which equals the amount you have just spent at the store. I don’t go in there unless I need something to make jewellery out of, so I rarely go in at all, and when I do my purchase is usually a couple of meters (or yards) of ribbon.

The ‘tricky’ work from the last blog post? I had bought several versions of what I thought would be the perfect ingredients for the neckpiece, making two or three options in metal and plastic to no avail, so in a last ditch effort I decided to try fabric. Thanks to my insecurity about which ribbon to use after my other unsuccessful attempts, I saw no alternative but to buy my way out of the problem – which in the short term actually worked. I took home something that I ended up using. Not what I was intending to use when I left the store, but hell, it worked. The week after I remade the ‘mishap’ work I found out that I won Nancy’s monthly shopping spree, having just spent the most on ribbon I have ever done in my life! It has already come in handy, as the very next pieces I made – for the Comments exhibition – feature silk and linen threads from Germany and Mexico, which I now own in about 15 different colours 😉


I’s been tight in the studio – Melissa hasn’t been able to move for deadlines!

Wow. Well team, the reason it’s been a little quiet around this blog is because I haven’t been able to move of late without bumping into a deadline. This is made all the more incredible by the fact that the only thought I had towards making a resolution this year was to cut down on the amount of shows that I apply for. If I’m honest, though, two of the three major deadlines this month were destined to collide from the outset (and yes, I signed up to both last year), and only really met so sharply owing to a bit of misfortune. Read on!

I had spent a couple of weeks working diligently in my studio on a new piece, getting it ready for a photography deadline. Having squared it away finally – after going to Nancy’s Sewing Basket and buying only about 1/3 of the cotton and linen ribbons in the store – I was taking photographs of it and some other pieces that I had finished a while back for the same application, which were due via email the following day.

In order to take photos of these bigger works I had, for the second time, transplanted my photography setup to a corner of the basement, taking advantage of the fact that we had brought inside our outdoor table for the winter. Down there I can sprawl out across the walls and of course the table, and position the lights more easily. Incidentally the setup remains downstairs; I’ve now built an overhead light-bouncer that doubles as a slightly more efficient way of hanging works than sticking pins into the sandalwood-paneled ceiling in the wardrobe that I was using as my photography booth before. (The wardrobe also acts as my storage/packing room, so it’s still getting plenty of action.)

I had promised myself that after photographing the recently completed and particularly tricky to arrange piece, I would be able pack it in for the night. It was about 8pm on Friday and Turbo was kindly preparing dinner for probably the 5th time that week. I was jubilant! I was literally clapping and jumping around the basement as I tidied and turned off lights. I had finally finished the work and captured it, marking the end of what had been a grueling couple of weeks of making, and the agonising decision making that sometimes attaches itself to a work when one is inventing a new thing and then figuring out how that thing is going to operate as a jewel in the world.

I had been checking in my images on the computer as I went, so I knew that I had some suitable sample images to go through that night, to figure out if there was anything that needed to be re-shot in the morning. The tricky piece I decided to leave on the table but I wanted to cover it (our basement ceiling is not the finest example of the art; dust and cobwebs occasionally drift down), so I grabbed the big shoebox that was slightly over-full of work and stopped past the table with the one piece left out in the open to cover it with tissue. Having done that I picked up the box, making a sharp right turn to head towards the staircase, and simultaneously sent the work on top of the overstuffed box to the ground, upon which it landed with a sharp “Crack!”

The work in question was wrapped in tissue and then put into a plastic self-locking bag, on top of a bunch of other similarly wrapped works. Plastic on plastic is slippery and when a person makes a sharp turn with a bunch of horizontally stacked bags, they’d wanna have a good hold on all of them…

At first I thought that the smacking sound was probably right for the wood-meeting-concrete scenario that had played out so effortlessly, that I didn’t think to worry. I put the box down on the floor, carefully, and then turned back to the dropped work. The noise was replaying in my head as I reached for it, and despite the packaging surrounding it so I couldn’t see in, I knew that what I had made was gone. My hand told me the truth, which echoed my thought. The tension had dropped, the work felt mushy. Before this, the wood had been hard and the tension of threads weaving inside and around the piece felt rigid.

This was not good. It’s one of those moments that had happened so innocuously that I almost felt that I should simply be able to access some sort of ‘undo’ button, where I could rewind the time and get my work back, whole. I think I was in that state of shock for a couple of minutes, long enough to make some regretful ‘arrgh’ noises and to wonder why I wasn’t yet crying. Then Turbo came down the stairs to see me huddled on the floor as I slowly re-wrapped the work and put it back into its plastic shroud. He dutifully claimed that I could fix it, of course I could, and that’s when the tears came. I had seen it. The tension that made the piece from ‘object’ into ‘wearable’ had also accelerated its demise. It was made from a turned wood bowl, which had itself been made from laminated timber, which I had gutted by sawing a pattern into its body and drilling holes and stringing waxed linen around and through it, rejoining some of the released sections to the bowl’s interior.

The wood, vintage if not antique, had been in use for a long time and joined for a longer one. Despite its considerable thickness – I gauged it at around 1cm thick all over, thinner with some shallow carving and thicker in the corners – it cracked at the lamination faces and at any point that I had created extra stress, and there were lots of those. Plenty of 90° angles next to thinner sections of material that I had left behind and holes in line with even sharper points, laying along the same line of grain. There were largish pieces, yes, but bits and pieces of splinter-size too.

Now, thanks to my style of resourcefully making several jewels out of a single found object, I had not one broken work, but three. The other jewels made from the same bowl, two neckpieces, were now context-less. And that’s not to mention another two works that are locked into a narrative with this piece. I was doomed.

The only thing that I could think to do that night was submit the work as it had been photographed and then apologise if it was chosen, presenting in its stead a replacement that had followed much the same plan. (That was if I didn’t quit the industry all together, or just give up on making this application that I had toiled so hard toward, as I didn’t think I could, in good conscience, throw my unfettered support behind a lost work.) The revision/remake is eventually what happened; I found a replacement object within my collection (incidentally, bought at the same time, from the same now-closed antique importers down in South Lake Union, and more importantly made of m e t a l ), altering the plan to fit its slightly different dimensions.

To be honest, I think it’s the better version. Some parts were improved upon in the design and others in the making, but of course the metal made a big difference to the aesthetic. After the experiments that went to making its older sibling, the manufacturing was more linear and went quicker. The final result, for better or worse, is less chunky, more refined.

The morning after my mishap, I was slowly coming to terms with the idea that I would have to finish fine-tuning an application to include what I knew was a destroyed work, whilst lying in bed checking my twitter feed. And of all the things… Out of nowhere came my reprieve! On twitter I read, right from the source, that the deadline for that night had been extended. By a week. I had a whole seven days to get the new work together. What was there left to decide? That day I took a well-earned rest day, and got back work the following morning.

And re-making that piece instead of moving on to new works as planned is how I sent my next two deadlines crashing into one another. Thankfully I’ve now dug myself out, and my reward is to catch up on paperwork…

Deadlines February 2015

There’s a long list of Deadlines this month. Grab a cup of tea and get into them!

Whooo-weee, I think I just rewrote the entire listing! OK, so it just seems that way, as there’s a long list of new additions this month, including a *job!* Read on.

***new additions – Feb 26th***

Oh, and I wanted to give this some sizzle – I think it’s a great idea. As of February 1st, 2015, jewelryunder30.com, an online platform to encourage young makers to write and hone their unique voice, has been live. Check it!

NB. I’ve removed the Teaching Positions from the end of this listing as I’ve heard that many of them have been filled. I realise the Kent State on doesn’t say it’s closing til the 26th of Feb, so if you want it head back to my last deadlines post and you can see it there. (Rumour has it that interviews are/have been in progress.)

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. (*** I’ve given up re-listing from their newsletter – it’s just too long…)
  • 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 ***

2015 Taiwan International Metal Crafts Competition. Metal artists accepted in jewellery and object categories. Applications accepted February 9, 2015-February 22, 2015.

*** Radiant Pavilion Proposals: Event dates: 1-6 September 2015. Applications for listings and RP support close: 28 February 2015, 5pm AEDT

Earrings Galore 2015! Heidi Lowe Gallery. This opportunity closes on March 1st, 2015

CALL FOR RESIDENT ARTISTS! Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. “3, 6, 9, and 12 month residencies available.” My SNAG mistress Caitie Sellers was amongst the residents last-and-this year, and the results speak for themselves! Application deadline : March 1, 2015.

*** AJF Social Media Manager. Deadline March 1st, 2015

*** The Pratt/SMG Partners Grant, “covers the cost of registration for one jewelry/metals class at Pratt Fine Arts Center.” Yup, Seattle only. Submissions will be accepted through March 1, 2015.

*** Seattlites! 2015 Biennial Exhibition! Register your submission pieces online by March 5th

*** Behold: Modern Metal Vessels. “Artists working in metal are invited to submit functional and non-functional work in the form of a vessel, box, or container. Proposed work must be made of at least 50% metal, however multi-media work is welcome.” Application deadline March 6th, 2015.

The Françoise van den Bosch Foundation invites jewellery artists from outside the Netherlands to apply for an annual two months working period in a studio in Amsterdam during the months May – June. Application deadline : March 14, 2015.

*** Enamel Guild Northeast Annual Conference, featuring Helen Elliott: Painting on Steel and Enameling on steel with artist-jeweler Melissa Cameron . It’s going to be a big weekend in White Plains, NY… March 18 – 22.

BOUNDARIES. 24th Legnica International Jewellery Competition Deadline for sending works:  27th March  2015

*** 1st Annual Chasing and Repousse International Exhibition: A Survey 2000 thru 2015. “The juried exhibition will showcase exceptional metal work from around the world.” Deadline April 1st, 2015

*** Peter’s Vallery Artist Fellow & Studio Assistant Opportunities Summer 2015 deadline to apply is April 1, 2015.

*** MJSA Vision Awards Call for Entries. The deadline for submissions is April 2.

*** Seattle Metals Guild members:  show pins at the Bellevue Arts Museum Store alongside the upcoming exhibition Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection. Registration:  March 2 – April 3

*** SNAG + Design Museum Boston: Rapid Jewelry 3D Printing Design Competition. Files only required! Entries due by: April 3, 2015 @ 11:59pmPT

*** Mendocino Art Center Artist in Residence Program. Closes on April 10th, 2015

*** SNAG TV 2015 “Members broadcast their stories and practice among SNAG members, conference attendees, and viewers around the world.” Deadline April 10th, 2015

*** The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) National Student Scholarship (USA). Deadline April 15th, 2015.

Call for papers craft+design enquiry Issue 8 (2016)  ‘Global Parallels: Production and Craft in Fashion and Industrial Design Industries.’ Expressions of Interest close on 30 April 2015.

*** ASJRA’s 10th Annual Conference, Women and Early 20th Century Art Jewelry. Conference Date – May 2, 2015

*** Metal Museum Studio Apprenticeships & Internships. Opportunity closes on June 2nd, 2015.

*** Halstead Grant 2015. “New jewelry artists working primarily in silver are invited to apply. The winner will receive $5,000 in cash for their business start-up, $1,000 in jewelry supplies, and recognition in the industry.” Applications are due June 9, 2015

*** For the 2015-2016 year Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago is seeking a Metals/Jewelry Artist in Residence. Deadline is June 15, 2015

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

*** Jewelry Instructor, White Plains, NY. Opportunity closes on June 25th, 2015

Radiant Pavilion. Melbourne. 1st – 6th September, 2015. I can’t explain this incredible event in one line, just go to the website. Or Klimt02.

Rolling + Undated Opportunities

Bag an Internship at Current Obsession Magazine. “We are looking for motivated interns for 2015 and it’s shaping up to be a fantastic year to join our team!”

Klimt02Applications for internships are ongoing. If you have any questions or want to apply, send an email to klimt@klimt02.net and we will discuss possibilities!”

Research Associate for Contemporary Jewelry – Dallas, TX. The Research Associate for Contemporary Jewelry is a 2-year, full-time appointment with primary responsibility to support the Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design.

New Jewelry Artist Studio and Gallery seeks work. Paul Bierker: “I am opening a new state of the art production gallery in Pittsburgh PA… I am hoping to find new candidates to showcase in this location… I seek various styles with renewable materials as a big plus. Please message me here [Crafthaus] or send info to Paul (AT) Paulmichaeldesign.com. Pittsburgh Artists are STRONGLY encouraged to send work.

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.

Deadline Extension

Deadline EXTENSION! Get into it!

Hey! There’s still time to get on board this one as Sienna Gallery have very kindly given emerging artists and writers an extension to Saturday the 7th of Feb. Hup hup!

The Emerging Artist Platform Award + The Emerging Writer Platform Award from Sienna Gallery. Submission start October 1st, entries due Jan 31st, 2015. Feb 7th. Ignore the dates on the website, it was posted on their Twitter feed and the CaFE site.

Good luck!

Unlimited Substance

Melissa is a part of Michelle Genders’ ‘Unlimited Substance’ series of exhibitions at Gaffa

I should have mentioned this a few weeks ago, but right now curator (and visual artist) Michelle Genders is about a quarter of her way through the Unlimited Substance series of exhibitions at Gaffa Gallery in Sydney, Australia.

Unlimited Substance is a series of shows that have been planned to showcase the depth and breadth of contemporary jewellery practice, with what seems to me a focus on displaying the talents of emerging to early and mid-career artists.

Genders has banded a series of exhibitions, seven in total, together to run consecutively from January to April 2015. They include, alongside a huge array of participating jewellery artists, a host of other other artists – musicians, poets, visual artists – to further flesh out her investigations that theme each exhibition. It’s a series with an incredible scope, undeniably ambitious, and yet an idea whose time has come for those of us who are looking to further elucidate and sustain the connection between the works that we make and the ideas that they are built around.

From the blog:

The field of contemporary jewellery spans a wide variety of applied practices and ideas. There is a great deal of hands on exploration and crafting of materials, as well as, a deep contemplation of the nature of and associations to materials. Pieces are resolved with a keen awareness of the way that they relate to different parts of the human body, as well as, how the pieces are transformed when they are worn by a person.

The series of exhibitions in ‘Unlimited Substance’ will highlight the diversity of practice in the field and the high standard of skill employed to bring the pieces to life. The exhibition themes will raise critical commentary by featuring pieces that relate to our bodies and their movement through the world. They will also explore the mood, poetry, expression and narratives that can be communicated through the pieces, and experiment with the context in which contemporary jewellery and objects are displayed.

I will be a part of the Comments exhibition, opening on the 5th of March and continuing on til the 16th, and then will be included in the coda, Perfect Mutations, being mounted as a part of the JMGA conference at the Chrissie Cotter gallery in Sydney in July.

If you’re in Sydney I urge you to check out the exhibition series, and if you’re not but are planning a trip soon, go and check at least one out. The remaining shows, at Gaffa Gallery, are:

05 February – 16 February – Dark metamorphosis

19 February – 02 March – Let your hair down

05 March – 16 March – Comments

19 March – 30 March – On the horizon

02 April – 13 April – Creation * Protection * Transformation

with the final show at Chrissie Cotter:

08 July – 19 July – Perfect mutations