Only a couple of places left!!

One Design – the workshop. Taking place Saturday the 23rd of August at Studio 20/17 in Sydney.

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

Opening This Week!

I’ve got stuff on. I know, I know, we’re all doing stuff… 😉

One Design

My new collection of work – One Design – from the 2013 pattern “Clouds” is going on display in at Studio 20/17 Sydney, and as a part of Sydney Design there will be an accompanying workshop. I made the video above to give a bit more insight into how I work with the laser cut materials, and have included a sneak peak of a few finished works too. Check it out!

Studio 20/17
6b/2 Danks Street
Waterloo NSW
1st – 30th of August
11am – 5pm, Tuesday – Saturday

One Design - #25 Titanium Pendant 05
Work #24 from One Design – Pendant-05. Melissa Cameron, 2014.

23rd August, 2014 at Studio 20/17

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.

Sydney Design link to Exhibition and Workshop

Then, there’s this:

Powder Case - base material for Powder Case Triptych I & II

REclaim / REpurpose – a showcase of artists working in repurposed materials, curated by Seliena Coyle.
On show throughout August 2014
Ebrington, Derry, Northern Ireland
with a link to my works here.

Mexico City – The forum

Melissa is still in Coyoacán, Mexico. This is the 2nd of 3 posts on the subject, so if you’re already getting sleepy… TOO BAD!

Image of speakers at the 2014 Joyaviva forum in Mexico City.
Image of speakers at the 2014 Joyaviva forum in Mexico City, at the National Museum of Popular Culture.

In the evening of my second full day in Mexico City, I was invited to be one of a panel of speakers presenting different thoughts on the subject of charms and amulets. This presentation took place in a covered outdoor space at the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares.

Our speakers in order were:

  • Dr. Carlos Zolla Luque: coordinador del Programa Universitario de Estudios de la Diversidad Cultural y la Interculturalidad (PUIC-UNAM)
  • Martacarmela Sotelo: (Mexican artist in Amuleto) Conceptualising ideas for their materialisation 
  • Melissa Cameron: (Australian artist in Amuleto) Contemporary jewellery in the streets of Melbourne 
  • Hanna Hedman: (Swedish artist) Amulet or talisman?
  • Kevin Murray: (Curator of Amuleto) Luck by design: The challenge of the contemporary amulet

The opening presentation was on the history and specific uses of amulets and the different motifs that crop up in their design. The most eye-opening part of Dr Zolla Luque’s presentation for me was an interesting set of statistics; reasons why people presented to their doctor/GP, in Mexico. The effects of the ‘evil eye‘ featured prominently in the shortlist, in fact was at the top, while other ailments like headaches followed.

Martacarmela spoke about her own work and her project in the exhibition, as well as about some of the others I think (perhaps also on participating in the Charm School), while I spoke about the C3 project. I talked about the idea behind it, the implementation process and the influence that being members of a collective like Part B had on the design of the project – specifically the large community of makers and recipients of charms that the Charged Charm Card project was attempting to assemble. (I’ll put my presentation up in the Symposia section of this site very shortly.)

Then Hanna spoke about her introduction to charms and amulets – she was a professional sportsperson up until her early 20’s – so she shared some personal superstitions about performance in the context of a great many other athletes that she had researched, and then the effect of Mexico on her already talisman-appearing pieces. She also spoke about her work in partnership with Otro Diseño in Mexico, the Amulet workshops that she has been presenting.

She has developed a program for her students with a relational focus. She has her students approaching unknown people in the street, in their own communities, in order to find specific things out about them. This is followed by making a piece based on the responses, that caters to their specific fears and interests. It is a lesson in both collaborative creativity as well as expansion of the network of people interested in artist-made jewellery, as they are the recipient of some works that have distinct meaning and references for them. I liked the idea as I think it a powerful way to engage the greater community – and the need to engage people outside our milieu was something that we both spoke at length on.

Finally Kevin spoke about the progress of the exhibition from his perspective, from the very first Charm Schools he conducted to the mounting of the exhibition and the shows so far.

Now hopefully I have these all figured out, since the only talk that was in English was Hanna’s (and she and I shared a very impressive translator to turn our words into Spanish) but if you were there and have anything to add or to correct me on, please send me an email or pull me up in the comments. Please!

This is post 2 of 3 of my activities in Coyoacán, so stay tuned for the next installment…

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



Enamel Workshop

Melissa is teaching liquid enamel on copper and steel at Pratt in Seattle. Come along, the 2 day course is a blast.

I slid this one in under the radar as a part of my last Deadlines post:

*** 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!

In this class we’re going to add copper to the list, as liquid enamels can do some great things on this material.

It’s going to be a bigger class given the bigger space, so please come along. In fact, why not bring a friend?

Heading east-side

Like a buzzard, like a bird, I’m getting out an about in realbody 😉

From tomorrow until Monday you’ll find me haunting Kent State University in Ohio. I’m heading over for the opening of The Digital Hand exhibition at The School of Art Gallery on this Thursday night, the 13th of February, from 5-7pm. At the invitation of Kathleen Browne, the curator and head of jewelry/metals, I will also be presenting a public lecture on my practice on Friday the 14th from 12pm. The School of Art Gallery is located on the second floor of the Art Building at 400 Janik Dr. in Kent, with the lecture taking place in the adjacent auditorium, room 202.

I’m really please to be invited to exhibit amongst a pretty amazing array of artists (from the Kent State News and Events site):

Pam Argentieri, Kristin Beeler, Allyson Bone, Doug Bucci, Melissa Cameron, David Choi, Joshua DeMonte, Arthur Hash, Matthew Hollern, Nicole Jacquard, Amy Klainer, Plural Studios (Courtney Starrett and Michael Gayk), Phil Renato, Rebecca Strzelec, Kim Tatalick, Jess Todd and Linda Threadgill.

And once I’m done there, if you’re in Asheville I’m spending an afternoon and evening in your town next Monday, before I take a day trip out to Penland on Tuesday to visit with the wonderful Elizabeth Brim, blacksmith extraordinaire.

Then I hop a flight to Richmond, VA, where I’ll be chillin with Susie Ganch and team at VCU for a few days, particularly as one class starts their Radical Jewelry Makeover project, making new jewellery from old. And as I’ve just learned, other artists participating in the project are welcome to join us!

I’m going to give a public lecture there too, in room 535 of the Bowe St building, on the afternoon of Thursday the 20th from 12pm. I’m sticking around for a few days, as guest artist, hanging out in the classroom to help out as the students begin work on their recycled jewellery project. I’m planning to have a dabble with the tools myself if I get a chance, since I will have work in the upcoming RJM exhibition that opens in Richmond on the 4th of April. I encourage you to check out the RJM site, as they’re posting up images and text about what each of us participants are getting up to, as we go along.

Oh, and if you do have some old jewellery that you’re keen to have upcycled properly, please send it along to Susie and her team as their call for donations ends this Friday!

Phew, ok, I gotta go pack…

Danaca Enamel Workshop 2

My enamel practice for 2014 started with teaching a Saturday mini-workshop at a local jewellery studio here in Seattle. The owner of the studio, Dana, was holding this class for a bunch of her close friends and so most of the attendees were acquaintances, if not actual friends of mine.

So what was I to do when shenanigans ensued?

kiln forks at 2 paces...
kiln forks at 2 paces…

Luckily they all worked as hard as they played – here’s some of their test firings on steel can, regular mild steel and Thompson’s Low Carbon Steel test squares. Dana even made a pair of ‘potato chip’ earrings, firing the beige onto ovoid sections of the rippled steel can.

Montage of samples produced
Montage of samples produced

It was also my first opportunity to test the Thompson GC-16 Cobalt Blue, otherwise know as their ground coat. It worked really well, though a couple of people remarked to me that they actually preferred the colour of the clear enamel on the raw steel and so would probably stick to that as a base coat. I’m inclined to agree, but I’m happy to have some of the GC-16 in my supplies for more stubborn pieces of recycled steel.

As a real test for the ground-goat I slathered a layer over a piece of low carbon steel that I had not sandblasted, only washed with some detergent and scoured it with a pretty crummy piece of Scotchbrite. It actually fared better than I expected.

Thompson GC-16 fired on a low carbon steek square. Not great, but I didn't sandblast it first, so not bad...
Thompson GC-16 fired on a low carbon steek square. Not great, but I didn’t sandblast it first, so not bad…

Enroll now!

Vitreous enamel, kiln fired enamel, liquid enamel, brushable enamel, glass fused to metal. Yup, I know all the terminology 😉

Kiln-Fired Liquid Enameling on Steel!

I’m teaching another liquid enamel on steel class at Danaca Design over the weekend of the 25th and 26th of January (yes, fellow Australians, I’m working in Invasion/Australia Day, even when it’s on a weekend..!)

My last class went really well, or at least well enough for me to be invited back in the next teaching quarter, boom boom! But really, (I know, I was so high-larious there) I had a blast and the people in the class – all proficient enamelers already I might add – learned a little something and made many really interesting samples, so what more can you ask for?

I recently bought a copy of the Thompson Enameling Workbook which I have been studying with the aim of trying some enameling on titanium, so perhaps I’ll insert that material into this course? I’ll have to see how my attempts go… If you are interested in keeping up with all my progress with all things hot and glass-covered check this page out. I update it regularly.

Monash Visit 2013

Monash University – a tour of the new jewellery studios from July 2013.

I’m finally tying up all the loose ends around here from my trip to Australia in July. After my previous post on the Bodywork exhibition, my last mission is to tell you all about my tour through the newly relocated Monash jewellery workshops. I promised to fill y’all in at the end of this post about the Seams Seems Symposium in early October so apologies for you who’ve been waiting with bated breath, I hope you can breathe normally now!

First up, if the pictures of the jewellery studio below are not quite as convincing as they could be, as far as I am aware (and the photos were taken in July mind you) the jewellery/metals program at Monash has not been shut down. There have been large changes to it, and in part those are due to the change in the way the Department of Fine Art is now administering its units, as it is currently undergoing significant changes to the way courses are offered and delivered. It was rumoured that the course was to close at the end of Marian Hosking’s tenure, but as this coincided with the beginning of these changes it’s hard to say that the lack of first-year intake is from either the process of shutting or the process of changing the course offerings. The current head is supportive of these arts/crafts, as the previously-threatened glass studios also remain and course offerings are available for both streams in 2014.

Marian Hosking’s role as studio coordinator of metals and jewellery has been taken over by Manon van Kouswijk, and Vito Bila is still the jewellery/metals technician. I believe that additional teaching will be done by Roseanne Bartley, effectively she’ll be taking the role that Simon Cottrell vacated when he moved to Canberra.

As you may or may not be able to tell, the studio is now located in the fine arts building, right next to the glass studios and across from the sculpture studio, and overlooking some of the independent studios spaces allocated to postgraduate fine arts candidates. It also overlooks Caulfield Race Track, so there are no buildings in the way to stop quite generous views that purportedly can reach Port Philip Bay. Nice…

As I understand it, the fine arts stream has changed all round, with course offerings being more open and generalised to begin with, giving students the opportunity to choose their areas of concentration as they progress along the timeline of their fine arts degree. Vito Bila described it to us on his tour as a really exciting, because it is integrating jewellery into arts more holistically, and with that comes the potential to create a really dynamic arts-focused jewellery course, something that he believes is unique, with nothing quite like it in the whole country. I tend to agree with him, because I think that if jewellery wants to be part of the arts conversation then the training is one obvious segment that should reflect that. I’m also fan of Manon van Kouswijk’s work (I wrote about her and Ben Lignel in my MFA thesis) and I think the kind of broad thinking that she applies to her jewellery practice will be indicative of what she will bring to the course and the arts department, which has the potential to be of great benefit not just to her students – those in jewellery and those not – but obviously to the department as a whole.

The system of having a generic first year and signing up for individual courses can be seen as adopting a more American style, but having said that, it is a system that was in place in my time at Curtin University in Perth. I studied a common first year with all of architecture and interior architecture, (before we were split into separate studios in 2nd year.) A similar open policy was available in the fine arts, where I opted not to do jewellery as an undergrad out of a fear of having to mix it with the general arts population before I could concentrate solely on jewellery in 2nd and 3rd years, (albeit that my reticence was combined with a stronger desire to actually study architecture.) I now realise that the option of having a generic first year is an amazing resource, and if I had bothered to consult anybody about my fear-based-decision I might have seen the wisdom in the mixed programme earlier. Not a day goes by that I don’t use my interior architecture training, and if I had some printmaking or glass or even painting skills behind me I’m guessing I could argue the same for those. That and I know plenty of people who changed major mid-stream, as they came to the realisation that what they had signed up for was not really what they were passionate about.

I realise that not all students have that issue nor want a broad base, they might want to come in and get straight down to their career-course on day one of studies, and I don’t blame them. Getting mastery of any skill is going to take all the time you can give it. But for those of us who walked into university a little more reticent that they had made the right decision, a few more options – not to mention a chance to play with a myriad of creative techniques and technologies – is a good thing.

OK, that has ended up a bit ranty, so I’ll go away now, and you can look at the pictures. I’m not going to explain them much, in part because as Vito mentioned the transition from the deign building to the arts one was still taking place, so they were missing walls and doors and venting and the like. I imagine that more changes have been made by now, but here’s what was there in July.