in the flesh

Melissa makes jewellery-to-order, for very special occasions. Like exhibition openings!

just like a bought one.

Like always, there’s a story. I owed my friend a piece as we had agreed to ‘art-swap’ for a painting of hers I wanted. She was/is so busy, we were never able to go through my works for a suitable swap. She happened to be traveling around WA at the same time I was back there in April, so she came to the Return show and pointed out her favourite, but it was one that had already sold.

Having used up all my last laser-cut pieces for the show, I promised a piece as soon as my new pattern was ready. I had recommenced drawing and had come up with the main ‘refrain’ of a new pattern, while gallery-sitting in Perth. I continued with it back in Melbourne and once finished I prepped it for cutting.

Meantime, she prepared a show of works based on her travels in WA. We saw each other a few weeks ago to discuss a future collaboration, and she asked if her piece would be ready for the show’s opening. To her the promised piece formed a part of her experience of WA, and to be wearing at the opening would complete the picture. I said, in Iron Chef fashion, I would do my best.

I sent the titanium last Monday, and on Thursday received a call from the cutter to say they still hadn’t received it. I called the courier, who told me it had passed through Bankstown (about the half-way-point) and I should wait till the next day. The cutters at this stage had hoped to have my job back to me by Monday. I heard from the cutters again on Tuesday, saying the patterns had just been dispatched. That was too late for my friend’s exhibition I decided, as it would open the next day, so I drafted and hand cut a simpler alternative in mild steel that afternoon. I would give this to her instead, as a sort of ‘act of good faith’, or down-payment, on the original piece.

I went to the city yesterday morning to buy silk to string the mild-steel work. I thought ‘what the hey’ and purchased the amount I would need to string the originally intended piece (3 times the amount of thread needed for the mild steel work) before going back home to string the piece.

To my surprise, I received the parcel containing the laser cuts yesterday at 11:20 am. To quote Iron Chef again; “Bang a gong, the challenge is on!” I packed a quick lunch, and rushed off to the studio. I finished the piece (in the previously recalcitrant titanium) at 5:20 pm, and jumped a tram at 5:30. The neck-piece was around the neck of my artist friend by 6:20, at her exhibition opening in North Fitzroy.

Not knowing if she would receive her log-awaited piece at the opening, patting her chest she told me that she decided not to wear another neck-piece, in hope. But I could see one, it was the one she was wearing the day she visited the exhibition, tied around her hair.

After carefully pulling the new work from the box in my hand, she put it on. She literally puffed out her chest as she showed it to me. I was proud too.