This show will see the debut of a new series of enamel and steel works, entitled Resist. An extension of my Body/Politic works, these pieces are individually enameled in a beautiful rainbow of blues, the color that is the opposite of orange on the traditional color wheel. 10% of the purchase price from the Resist line sold anywhere in the world will go to Islamic Relief USA, a non-profit 501(c)(3) humanitarian agency who work on international and domestic US development and relief projects.
Body/Politic is getting some enamelled sistren, and I’m having a trunk show!
Dunno about you, but I woke up with all the nerve endings firing in my gut on Wednesday morning, just before 3am. After nigh on an hour of bleary-eyed semi-consciousness, and after the hopes that sleep would take me back into her embrace had been dashed (such a temperamental lover) I caved in and checked my phone. My sisters in Australia had offered condolences that I didn’t need to swipe through to see, especially the one from Courtenay that ran thusly:
That was the entire message, but it told me that counting had finished and the map had been painted orange. Finally having the early predictions confirmed (I’d gone to bed early, both to avoid the anxiety of waiting and to read a good book – Mary Beard’s recent SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome – which turns out to be quite an apt companion for right now,) was definitely not going to help me sleep.
So I did some thinking. And a bit of googling. And at around 5:30am I placed an enamel order. I’ve never had much call for blue enamel before, so my stocks are paltry. Once this was done, around 6am, I went back to sleep reading about an ancient fallen empire.
My early morning thoughts ran something like this; I already have a body of work that is about putting encoded messages into the world, like this piece:
Body/Politic is a series of jewels where the medium is part of the message. The two-toned grids of pixels represent lines of binary code. Each piece literally spells out a message on the body of the wearer; readable to those who can interpret binary, the language that is the foundation of our digital culture. (These borrow from the visual language set up for the Drone works.) The messages reflect on the human condition, on how we are embodied, and what that means. The words/phrases that became works in the first series exhibited in March include your body is your vote (above), body, vote, unrepresented body, power and recently (just last week, for an upcoming show in May) I completed intensely embodied.
These are pieces are personal and political. They are words that reflect on my own physical body and its position in the world, and on the bodies of others who are in significantly more compromising situations, most particularly those bodies in combat areas, migrating bodies and those bodies who are suffering with illness.
Now before this gets too heavy, lets get back to the quality thinking time that my sleepless hours gifted me. So I have a trunk show booked for next week, and while I’ve been making the measured and politically/socially reflexive jewels like the work above over the last few years, none of those pieces are slated to be on the table next week. My plans for this week were to spend some time reorganising my stash of jewels to find some things that the good folks of Seattle haven’t seen before, and to make a few last pieces from the leftover parts of my La Geometrie laser-cuts to take along with me.
But then y’all had to go and elect an orange for a president.
I very purposely chose a blue top to wear yesterday, in protest (stay with me, this is relevant). And I’m in blue jeans today. Why? Because in my waking hours I was fixating on the fact that blue is the complimentary colour to orange on the colour wheel. Yep, this means it’s the opposite. So I’ve taken all this care dressing because I want to be the opposite of orange (yeah, despite my red hair.) But blue doesn’t just stand in opposition. It is the colour of the tears being shed for this and other depressing and alarming recent political events.
Blue is the colour of that soon-to-be pendant at the top of this (very long) blog post. It is the colour of the stockings on the women fighting to inform, enlighten and protect themselves, and it is the colour that HRC used to paint her campaign, and Bernie Sanders his. It’s the colour of the sky, of steel, and a bloody nice colour for an absolute shit-tonne of enamelled earrings.
And lets reiterate here, in RYB colour theory it’s the colour diametrically opposed to orange.
My search to find the opposite of an orange charity also began in the wee hours of Wednesday, and I’ve selected this one to give 10% of the purchase price of each pair of my brand new line of Resist earrings (pictured above) sold anywhere in the world. They’re going to retail for $30 US, and orders will be direct through me. (For anyone outside of Seattle, my postage price is being confirmed – please see below.)
About my blue charity:
Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), based in Alexandria, Virginia, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) humanitarian agency and member of the Islamic Relief Worldwide group of organizations. IRUSA was founded in California in 1993. In addition to international relief and development initiatives, Islamic Relief USA also sponsors and funds domestic projects ranging from emergency disaster responses to assisting the American homeless population and supporting those who cannot afford basic healthcare.
Resist Earrings, $30 (US dollars) a pair.
stainless steel + blue enamel.
For your set you can mix and match or play it straight, or even buy an extra one so you can decide what kind of (blue) day you’re having. More colours (yup, all blue*) coming soon. How to get yours? See below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re in Seattle, please come along next week if you’re keen to check out my rainbow of blue earrings* or if you just need a shoulder. Together we can chat about resistance. It’s on at:
5619 University Way NE, Seattle, Washington 98105
Thursday, November 17 at 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
(Facebook event – do them a favour for catering and let them know if you can 😉 )
Australia: you can count on Bilk and Bini Galleries getting a stack of these in the next week also, and for my sistren in Perth, I’ll see y’all in December and I’ll be sure to carry a few of these in my pocket.
USA: If you’re not in the PNW keep a look out, I’ll be posting the postage details ASAP
Canada– OK, BC: I’m heading up to Vancouver in a couple of weeks (no, not seeking asylum, though did I tell you the one about my grandparent who was born 12 miles south of Tisdale??) so let me know and I’ll bring them with me. The rest of you? Let me figure something out. We’re family!
Everywhere else: If you’re keen please get in contact and I’ll figure out your shipping rate. (I will be in Munich for the second week of March, and might even head to the UK for a hot minute, so if you can hold out that long…)
In the mean time, know that while my heart is blue, my gaze is steely.
*My Dad bought me my first car, back in the day. While we were looking around at listings he told me, “You can have any colour you like, so long as it’s blue.” I gratefully received a Corolla in midnight blue, despite preferring the burgundy…
I feel for you, I really do, if you are grieving right now. I’ve had a pretty intense year myself, and I thought I’d share my favourite distractions as well as a thoughtful speaker/sharer on the topic.
I have watched all 7 series, multiple times, in the last 12 months. And in that time I have come to realise that the nurturing implied in just watching someone make a cake is strangely healing. (And this from someone who is allergic to 90% of the contents of what they’re usually baking.)
I believe that this is available on PBS and other streaming services (Netflix is where I saw it) and some can be found on YouTube. Start with Season Six (renamed Season Three in the States I think?) if you want a quick reminder of what’s right in the world.
You will be surprised at the nurturing vibe this has for a reality show, though it’s never beyond RuPaul and team (Ms Visage, I’m giving you the side-eye here…) to tell their charges when they gotta cut with the tears and WERK! Let Mama Ru challenge, shelter and shower you with praise, via your beautiful and enormously talented queer proxy.
Find this on Logo TV or where I’ve seen all my eps, Amazon Prime.
I also follow local (to Seattle) grief writer Elizabeth Copelan on Twitter, she posts great links and says some beautiful things. And yes, even I can’t believe that I’m recommending reality TV to mend broken hearts, but, like I said, a hell of a year.
It’s ok, together we will get through this. And once you’re ready again, there’s going to be lots of work for everyone!
Now, not to get too far ahead of myself, but my sleepless portion of the night was quite productive. Stay tuned for the profits…
Dancing and driving. Some thoughts about writing and how to help Combat Paper get a new van.
I have to share this: Zadie Smith’s latest piece for The Guardian, What Beyoncé taught me. I’d like to explain my thoughts on it, but it would be a disservice to do more than quote:
The connection between writing and dancing has been much on my mind recently: it’s a channel I want to keep open. It feels a little neglected – compared to, say, the relationship between music and prose – maybe because there is something counter-intuitive about it. But for me the two forms are close to each other: I feel dance has something to tell me about what I do.
I’ve been thinking about writing quite a bit lately, as I struggle to make my writing and my work parallel one another for a few different fora. I’ve had occasion to write both proposals for new work as well as explanatory texts for pieces (and in some cases, both, in remarkably quick succession) and it’s been interesting to look back over ‘projections’ versus ‘justifications/explanations’. In more than one piece I worried that I talked a good game, but that the work wasn’t going to live up to the rhetoric. That remained in the back of my mind over separate making processes, and probably changed the outcomes in some way that I’m not yet able to put my finger on.
Meeting my own written expectations wasn’t something that I had worried about before; first of all because I didn’t think the writing was ever veering out of it’s lane by aiming for a poetic display that I would rather the work be in charge of, and secondly because I didn’t think I had a good enough handle on writing about my work in anything but as a kind of documentation.
But the works in my most recent exhibition changed many of my ways of working, including what was written and where the work needed the writing to support it. I don’t subscribe to the idea that an accompanying text is only necessary when the work fails to do all the talking, and thanks to Ben Lignel for reminding us that the British Museum (I think it was… I can’t find the article on AJF) was using words as an interpretive tool to help democratise access to the collection (ie, make it accessible to the burgeoning middle class) back in the 1800’s.
I do and don’t want to explain my work. I want it to do well in the world and so I am prepared to give it context, but I also think, like many others, that it exists because I can’t communicate what it does in any other fashion. To me, making is a form of communication outside written and spoken language, that has its own set of symbols (alphabet) and that makes connections that are not impeded by having to find the word or the flow of words to explain itself, and that it might even navigate inside of us without engaging with the conscious (and word-forming) part of the mind. But now I have recognised that being quite a language-y person, my penchant for writing and talking (my hobbies include calligraphy, for heavens sake) could have the potential to get in the way.
I’m not sure it will, (though perhaps it already has, what a mortifying thought!) and I don’t doubt that it has happened before, but I would hate for my words to set the scene for objects that don’t/can’t deliver. On the flip side, I’m starting to realise why so many artists don’t want to talk about their work.
Drew F Cameron (no relation, really, there’s a few more Camerons here than there were back home, I even met one on the phone last week…) is an ex US service-person, and he makes paper all over the US, with, among others, other ex-military personnel, out of their old uniforms. He kindly gifted me with some of the offcuts of his toil last year, and I used them to make art about war and its effects on the body – the body politic specifically – as in us, and all of humanity.
Suffice to say, his cause has my heart, and his need for a van (since his last one was recently stolen) has rallied the rest of my body to the cause. If you can help out, please do. I can vouch for the work that he does, and I hope to be able to meet him one day and tell him as much. And maybe even make some paper.
Often jewelry is created to celebrate and mark milestones in life. As part of marking her milestone of turning 40, jewelry artist Tegan Wallace has invited a collection of artists to take a prototype or unfinished object from Tegan’s own work and breathe new life into them. These Bits and Bobs will become reflections of what Tegan has achieved so far while celebrating the metal community that had given her so much and continues to influence her own artistic growth.
As a part of being in this show Tegan gave me a piece of her work to finish up – incidentally, the pierced dome work that appears in the top third of the photograph above – that she began in her teens. She lovingly and ingeniously created this piece at her parents coffee table, and despite a lot of recent protest that it was practically done already, she didn’t consider it finished. It may not yet be, but for this show I’ve taken it and added my own parts, in steel and liquid enamel of course, and turned it into a piece of jewellery.
Come see it, and even say hello to me and Tegan at the opening, from 6 – 9pm this Friday. The show runs until November 28th.
Danaca Design Studio
5619 University Way NE
Seattle WA 98105
In answer to a reader question; yes, the material that makes the work My House – Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box is all from Tanya’s old lunch box, barring the stainless steel rivets, c-shaped connections, chain (handmade and otherwise) and cable that joins the altered parts together.
In fact there’s actually a few parts missing. The plastic handle and chrome fittings are not part of the design, and there is a series of five small pins (about 27 x 4mm each) that are not part of the installation. One of these I have kept (not a habit of mine, but these were particularly meaningful to me, in a piece that became surprisingly personal over the course of the design and making), and four were given to Micki before the piece was installed.
What you can’t see in this image is the hinge pin that was removed, the handle tethers, and an internal feature meant to hold a thermos flask in place in the top section of the box (it was roughly the shape of the stylized ‘V’ on the front.) All this was wire, in approximately 1.5 – 2mm diameter steel, which was cut up, drilled into, enameled and re-joined to make the chain that holds the big ‘snowflake’ section in the centre.
Images of my latest work, as installed at the Bellevue Arts Museum.
Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box
Micki Lippe gave me the lunch box that used to belong to her daughter. She also gave me a book of poetry written by Tanya, published posthumously. Together they formed a commission; use one to make the other into something, which at least would get the old black relic out of the basement.
As an implement, a lunch box suggests forward planning, nourishment, and the day-to-day banality of life. But without its rightful owner? As an inheritance, the container became a reliquary. Though less tangible, the poems are a more instructive fragment of her life. They reference her – her feelings, her body. Yet her eyes never saw nor skin touch the bound object.
The box’s meaning again shifted when transferred into my hands, radically. Through reinterpretation it is now literally intertwined with the poetry of Tanya’s life, its former narrative burden becoming the liberator of its form.
Forget Them – but can we? A show about charms, amulets and talismans at Brooklyn Metal Works. Check it out!
“There are no angels, demons, or ghosts. Immaterial spirits of any kind do not exist. The creatures with which the Greek and Roman imagination populated the world—Fates, harpies, demons, genii, nymphs, satyrs, dryads, celestial messengers, and the spirits of the dead—are entirely unreal. Forget them.”
Yet it seems that despite our best efforts, we can’t. This show examines humankind’s perennial struggle between personal autonomy and spiritual guidance, and how these ideas manifest and inspire the fabrication of physical objects. All cultures throughout the ages have taken abstract concepts like gods, demons, imps, and spirits and translated them into material items that are often housed in esteemed spaces. Shrines that celebrate, amulets that protect, and totems that commemorate these enduring theologies and phenomenons. Perhaps the most resilient form of piety, the belief that objects imbued with spiritual reverence might protect or reward the owner withstands the test of time, often despite our better judgment.
Forget Them is an exhibition of “Talismans, amulets, shrines, and charms that have been created to wear, carry, or look upon. These objects convey a specific power, intend to protect against superstition, or commemorate.” curated by Steven Gordon Holman, Brian Weissman and Erin S. Daily, currently on at Brooklyn Metal Works. My collaboration with Jill Hermans, the Charged Charm Cards, are on display, and, as you can see above, we’re in illustrious company 🙂 Check it out until the 27th of November.
An image of Melissa’s wok is in the newspaper, along with a insightful commentary about Micki Lippe’s piece in the same show. Connections abound!
An article entitled: Transforming metal: ‘Metalmorphosis’ exhibit at BAM shows new possibilities by Gayle Clemans was published in the Seattle Times newspaper today. It’s a review of the Metalmorphosis exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum here in Seattle, and features an image of part of my installation My House: Tanya Lippe’s Lunch Box (the print version has a large reproduction of the brooch section of my piece next to the article – online it’s in a slide section, of the image included above) as well as an insightful commentary about Micki Lippe‘s work, among others.
As you might have guessed I was pretty chuffed when I found out, doubly so as the news came via an excited email from Micki this morning!
And yes, for those of you yet to see the show or not familiar with local jewellery doyenne Micki Lippe, Tanya is the name of Micki’s daughter. I’m not trying to tease with my lack of details – in fact there’s been some descriptions in Instagram of the work – but I’ve been refraining from posting full images of the installation until Micki has seen it, as due to other commitments she missed the openings at the start of the month.
Right, I’m off, to go get a copy of the newspaper 😉
Like their About page on Facebook says, they are an “Auction For Aid – Contemporary Jewellery Auction to benefit the refugee crisis.” A bunch of UK based jewellers, (amounts are in GBP) are auctioning off some pretty great looking work on Facebook (yes, you do seem to need an account to bid) that will post/ship internationally.
Welcome to the 2016 Auction For Aid. All money raised will be going to two charities, MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) and SALAM LADC (‘Salam: LADC’ stands for ‘Peace: Lebanese Association for Development and Communication’), both charities doing wonderful work to help with the current refugee crisis.
Finally! An interactive calendar for jewellery events! Look out for deadline info there, and add your own to boot.
The jewelery agenda, the place you can see the contemporary art jewelery events : exhibitions, openings, lectures, awards, etc … You can propose your event to be published in the agenda by clicking in the “Add Event” blue button