Friday, 6 December 2013

New work at Fivefold

New work at Fivefold for the holiday season.

Fivefold also has extended opening hours this December. They will be open Wednesday - Sunday, and open late on Fridays. Check out Fivefold's Facebook page for more details. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Good as Gold: RMIT Gold & Silversmithing Graduate Exhibition 2013

Good as Gold, the 2013 RMIT Gold & Silversmithing graduate exhibition, is now open at FortyFive Downstairs. Congratulations to this year's graduates! 

The exhibition runs until 14 December. 

RMIT MFA Graduate Exhibition 2013

Get in quick to see this year's RMIT MFA graduate exhibition! The exhibition features the work of graduating MFA students from all visual arts disciplines, and is on at RMIT Building 49, Level 3, at 67 Franklin St, Melbourne, until tomorrow, 6 December.

The exhibition invite in the image above shows the exhibition closing on 4 December, but my understanding is that the show will run until the 6th, as indicated on the website and a printed version of the invite I have in front of me. My apologies if this is incorrect!

New work at Arbor this Christmas

New earrings at Arbor for the festive season!

Arbor will be open every day this month, until Christmas Eve. Stop by and have a look!

If you can't make it to the gallery in Brunswick, check out my work in Arbor's online shop

Thursday, 28 November 2013

New Collections at Studio 20/17

A new enamelled neckpiece travelling to Studio 20/17 for New Collections, the annual Christmas showcase.

New Collections runs from 3 December until Christmas Eve. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Current Tendencies

Current Tendencies, the annual Moreland Summer Show, opens tonight from 6-8pm. Come along to see what artists living or working in Moreland have been up to this year. I will have a new and unusual piece in the show, informed by my experience developing connections with a new place, as a migrant to Moreland (and Australia).

The exhibition runs until 14 December at the Counihan Gallery in Brunswick.

Monday, 4 November 2013

33 Carat

33 Carat, the 2013 NMIT graduate jewellery exhibition, opens this Wednesday at Red Gallery in Fitzroy North.

Come along to see what this year's talented graduates of the Advanced Diploma of Jewellery have been up to, from 6 - 23 November.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Enamelling in the Evenings

Ever wanted to learn more about enamelling? 

I'll be teaching an enamelling evening course starting next term at NMIT, and enrolments are now open. This is a new course, which will run for nine weeks on Monday evenings from 6-9pm. Classes start Monday 14 October and run until 9 December. Fees for the course are $445 (incl. $40 GST). To enroll, or for more information, contact 9269 8615 or 9269 8620 or email 

The class is open to all skill levels. No prior jewellrey or enamelling experience is needed; however basic jewellery skills such as sawing, filing and soldering will be valuable. Students with more jewellery experience will have the opportunity to incorporate more advanced metalworking skills into their enamelled designs.  

The class will be run as a series of self-paced projects. You may finish one, two, or three projects during the nine weeks, depending on your pace, your previous experience, and the level of complexity of your work. This class will be run again in term 1 of 2014, so if you want to continue working your way through additional projects, you can always come back! 

Projects are designed to be worked through in order, from introductory to more advanced projects. Project topics include: 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Contemporary Wearables '13

Contemporary Wearables '13, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery's 13th biennial award exhibition of contemporary jewellery, opens next Saturday 14 September. Artists from all over Australia and New Zealand will be represented, including one of my landscape brooches.

The exhibition runs from 14 September - 27 October, with an opening reception and awards ceremony Saturday 14 September from 2pm.

Friday, 23 August 2013


Palletable by the Urban Bush Carpenters opens Thursday 29 August at The Substation, Newport, with an opening reception from 6-8pm.

"The Community Access Gallery will be transformed into an exhibition hub for sharing DIY ideas on how to re-use pallets. They're the grease of the global trade. Around the world there are billions. Find them outside a store near you, truck terminals, ports, construction sites, retail outlets, manufacturing plants, and abandoned plots or along train lines. In pallets, as in life: you never know what you're going to get. Some will come apart like lego, others will crack and split or refuse to budge. People have used them to make planter boxes, raised gardens, compost bins, benches, beds, tables, shelves, paths, eskys, ladders, sheds, houses, saunas, boats and arks."

Workshops open to the public will be held on Sunday 1 September and Sunday 6 October. For bookings contact

The exhibition runs until 6 October. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Building Jewellery Benches with the Urban Bush Carpenters

This weekend's Urban Bush Carpenters workshop Building Jewellery Benches was a lovely day of community woodworking. On a beautiful sunny Saturday, we got together to build two work benches that were taken home by two participants: one a traditional jeweller's bench with a sturdy top, a cutout and a sweeps tray, and the other a work bench with an unusually shaped bench top, perfect to fit into a corner, which will be used for jewellery tools including a bench-top rolling mill. 

 Attaching legs to a corner-shaped bench top.

In the Urban Bush Carpenters tradition, the benches were made entirely from found, recycled wood, including a found keyboard tray from an old office desk used as a sweeps tray for the jeweller's bench. We even pulled apart a pallet to use pallet boards as cross beams to support the bench legs. 

 Countersinking screws to attach supports to a bench top. The legs will be bolted to these supports. 

Everyone got to have a go at using a hand saw to cut boards to length, an electric drill and screwdriver to pre-drill screw holes and screw pieces together, and a crowbar and mallet to pull apart pallet boards. 

The group building the traditional jeweller's bench drilled holes to bolt the legs on, but left the legs separate to be attached later, after working out that with the legs attached, the bench wouldn't fit into the car! 

Drilling bolt holes for the legs of the jeweller's bench. In the background: cutting pallet boards for support pieces. 

The bench tops and wood for the legs was all found as rubbish around town before the workshop. The two bench tops are quite sturdy, but the corner-shaped top introduced new challenges since the legs had to be attached in a different configuration. The team worked together to figure out the best way to attach the legs and the supports. In the end they decided to cut a slot into each of two pallet boards for the supports, and fit them together in an X. This cross piece was slotted in between the legs (below).

The jewellers building this bench were experts at making this solution work, having just done a similar assignment fitting together two 1mm thick copper sheets in an X for a project at NMIT!

The finished work bench

If you missed the workshop but are interested in building a bench, help yourself to the basic instructions below. Of course you'll have to do a bit of problem solving and changing of measurements to suit your found materials, so I've given relative, rather than absolute, measurements. ("Cut the support piece to the length of the bench top..." instead of an exact measurement.) There's a suggestion here for attaching a keyboard tray to use as a sliding sweeps tray, too. 

Happy building! If you build a bench of your own (or have already built one), send me a photo! I'd love to share your ideas here. 

The next Urban Bush Carpenters workshop at CERES is Saturday 21 September. But before that, we have an exhibition coming up at The Substation in Newport. Opening night will be Thursday 29 August, and there will be a public workshop on Sunday 1 September. More details about that coming soon! 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

RMIT Ceramics Auction 2013

The RMIT Ceramics Auction is tonight! Come along to pick up some lovely work by students, staff and alumni, with proceeds going toward the ceramics graduate exhibition.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Brunswick Patchwork Bed Bed Project Part III: The Bed Map

As I was building my Brunswick Patchwork Bed Bed, I became very interested in the origin of the wood I was collecting - or at least its previous life. During hard rubbish collection week (and afterward), I was constantly on the lookout for certain lengths, thicknesses and types of wood. Sometimes I would see a pile of wood that wasn't quite right, or a part of a discarded bed that looked too good for me to cut up and rearrange, if someone else might use it as is. Sometimes I saw pieces I wanted, but wasn't able to take home on my bicycle. (Although I sure tried! I managed to take home more than I would have expected on my bike, including the boards for the long sides of the bed frame.)

I ended up with a mental map of my neighbourhood, marked out by landmark piles of broken furniture - first made up of locations I intended to return to, and eventually including all the locations I had taken wood from. In recreating a bed out of discarded beds and other discarded wood, I was reassembling the rubbish of Brunswick into one cohesive piece of furniture, folding that mental map of the locations of other people's rubbish into a new object in a single location. (Incidentally, all of those broken and discarded objects would have ended up in one location if I hadn't picked them up, and I felt there was a kind of symmetry in bringing them together in my house instead of in landfill.)

It became very important to me along the way that the materials had been harvested directly from my neighbourhood, and I wanted to preserve that mental map in some way. I also wanted to learn a little about using Google Sketchup, the free, open source 3D modelling program which Ana White uses to write up her free furniture plans. As a result I penciled in a location on the end of each piece of wood, and kept a series of constantly changing sketches of where each piece would fit. When I finished each section, and after watching some online tutorials, I drew up a model in Google Sketchup.

And here is the bed map, a three-dimensional model of the bed, showing where each piece of reclaimed wood was found. The only pieces that are not labelled are those that I had to buy for the trim of the bed frame and the vertical boards of the headboard, the offcuts of which are used in the headboard's patchwork panel.

Friday, 2 August 2013

From the collection of Mel: Bridget Bodenham

A gorgeous earthy pot by Victorian ceramicist Bridget Bodenham

Home to the Drunkard's Beard, my souvenir from the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show

Sunday, 28 July 2013

RMIT Gold & Silversmithing Auction 2013

The 2013 RMIT Gold & Silversmithing Auction will be held Wednesday 7 August at Mercy Bar above Craft Victoria. Come along to bid on some fantastic work donated by RMIT students, lecturers and Melbourne jewellers.

The work can be previewed before the auction at the auction blog.

I'll be donating these enameled Pathways earrings:

See you there!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Brunswick Patchwork Bed Bed Project Part II: The Patchwork Headboard

It's always nice to sleep in your own bed. But it's immensely satisfying to sleep in your own bed - that is, the bed you made yourself. The Brunswick Patchwork Bed Bed is finally complete! After some delays due to bad weather and being busy working on other things, I've finally finished the patchwork headboard.

I thought the headboard would be the easy part, since it didn't need to structurally support anything, but in fact it offered a whole new set of challenges. The plans I used were Ana White's Reclaimed Wood Look Headboard, only mine is made of actual reclaimed wood, found in the hard rubbish collection along with the wood for the bed itself. The original plans called for eight planks running the entire length of the headboard, while I wanted to use smaller pieces to create a patchwork look. The first challenge was getting the patchwork panel to fit together. Luckily I used to be an avid Tetris player.

Designing the layout, with wood from discarded beds and other headboards, pallets, and miscellaneous found wood

Once I worked out the basic layout, each piece had to be marked with its place, since the space limitations of my flat meant it all had to be put away at the end of the day. 

Then it was time to hone my handsaw skills. 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Invitation to The Design Journey

The Design Journey is on at Arbor from 1-31 August, with an opening reception Thursday 1 August from 6pm. Part of the Craft Cubed festival, The Design Journey explores eight Australian jewellers' design development and working processes, exhibiting the journey along with the work.

You can also follow the journey online at the Arbor website: throughout August, the work and images of each artist's design process will be featured in an online exhibition. Design stories will be featured on Arbor's blog weekly. You can see some of my journey toward understandings of place and home through the observation of ordinary places in Brunswick here.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Workshop: Building Jewellery Benches

Are you a jeweller without a jewellery bench? Or maybe you're just excited about building things by hand? Come along on Saturday 17 August for the workshop I'm running with the Urban Bush Carpenters on Building Jewellery Benches and Work Benches. The workshop will run from 10am at CERES and will finish by 2pm.

Participation is for a $5 donation, which goes toward the UBC's costs for tools, screws and other materials.

You'll learn the skills to build a jewellery bench or work bench by hand using simple hand tools and found timber. Together we'll build a bench (or two) on the day, and should someone want to take home what we've built, we ask for an additional donation towards materials.

In this workshop we'll work together as a group to learn the basic building and woodworking skills you'll need to build your own bench. If you're a jeweller and you want to get started on your own bench to take home, bring a piece of found wood such as a discarded tabletop, to use as your work bench top. While we're working together to complete one bench, we can also cut your bench top to size and shape on the day.

Wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes and weather-appropriate clothing as the workshops are run outdoors. Don't forget a bottle of water! For more information on UBC workshops visit the Urban Bush Carpenters website.

For more information on this workshop email me.

Seams, Seems Symposium

 This Friday 19 July Monash University is hosting the Seams, Seems Symposium in association with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Speakers include Dr Robert Bell, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts & Design, National Gallery of Australia; Visiting Artist Professor Robyn Quigley, Head of Jewellery & Metalsmithing at RISD; Visiting Artist Associate Professor Tracy Steepy, Jewellery & Metalsmithing at RISD; Katie Scott, Director of Gallery Funaki, and more.

Symposium registration is $25 including lunch, morning and afternoon tea.

The exhibition Seams | Seems is on at MADA (Monash Art & Design) Gallery from 17 July - 20 August. The exhibition brings together twenty makers from MADA and RISD, curated by Marian Hosking and Robin Quigley. Opening night is Friday the 19th at 6pm, following the symposium. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Unnatural Acts at Artisan

In Brisbane over the weekend I stopped in at Artisan to see some of the satellite exhibitions on now as part of the JMGA conference. In the window until 3 August is Unnatural Acts, an exhibition curated by Lauren Simeoni and Melinda Young examining the relationship between natural and unnatural. 

image from exhibition media

Ten jewellers (including the curators) were sent a bag of unnatural plastic items - a selection of fruits and flowers - and asked to create a small collection of jewellery from the contents of the bag. 

The result is an exciting diversity of forms, ranging from the literal to the unrecognizable. If you can't get to Artisan to see Unnatural Acts, images from the exhibition's showing at Velvet Da Vinci in San Francisco can be seen on the Velvet Da Vinci website

There are two other jewellery exhibitions on now at Artisan: Regine Schwarzer's Mineral Manifestations explores the crystalline structures of rocks and minerals through combinations of crushed quartz and enamel, and Bench showcases the work of four emerging Brisbane jewellers working in a collective studio. 

Road Trip, on now at Gallery One of Artisan, is a thoughtful exhibition of colourful dresses made from textiles printed with the images of travel photographs, by Ann-Maree Reaney and Jill Kinear. The exhibition is divided into road trips in different parts of the world.The American road trip dresses utilise forms inspired by the 1950s, when the glamour of the road trip was at its height, and offer a Feminist take on the promise of freedom and adventure offered by the idea of the road trip in works such as Kerouac's On the Road

All the Artisan exhibitions run until 3 August. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

New Pathways

A new pair of Pathways earrings on their way to Studio 20/17 today!

Monday, 8 July 2013

The Design Journey

My work is going to be featured in The Design Journey, an exhibition coming up in August at Arbor. The Design Journey is a satellite exhibition of Craft Victoria's annual Craft Cubed festival. In the spirit of this year's Craft Cubed theme, A Better Blueprint, the Arbor exhibition will look at the designs and idea development behind the works exhibited: each work will be displayed along with the sketches, images, and tools that went into its making.

Here's a little look at some of the ideas behind the work I dropped off at Arbor over the weekend...

Come to Arbor in August to see the full story!

More details will be available soon. 

Friday, 5 July 2013

From the collection of Mel: Peaches and Keen

I thought I'd share some of the beautiful works by other artists in my very modest collection. First up: the whimsical Cactasaurus Rex by Melbourne jewellery and graphic design duo Peaches and Keen.

And on the right, a lovely hanging plant by Zoe Yule

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Participation and Exchange: 15th Biennial JMGA Conference

Participation and Exchange, the 15th biennial Jewellers' and Metalsmith's Guild of Australia (JMGA) Conference will be held in Brisbane from 12-14 July.

The conference includes three days of speakers, including Laura Bradshaw-Heap (UK), Peter Deckers (NZ), Tricia Flanagan (HK) and many others. If you've been following the Save TAFE campaign, be sure to check out Melissa Cameron's talk on How to become an Artist Jeweller: A Community Case Study, which will compare the Australian jewellery education system, including recent changes and loss of funding to TAFE, to Melissa's recent experiences in Seattle, USA.

Delegates can register for one, two or all three days. If you don't plan on going to the conference itself, there are also workshops, two conference exhibitions, and a number of satellite exhibitions around Brisbane.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Fivefold Studio launch in Canberra

Fivefold Studio has opened its doors! The grand opening is this Friday 28 June at 6pm.

Fivefold is located in the Londsdale Street Traders, Braddon, Canberra. The launch will be opened by Magdalene Keaney, Director of the Gallery of Australian Design.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

My work goes to Canberra's Fivefold Studio

My work continues to go places I have never been: I've just sent some work to Canberra's brand new gallery Fivefold Studio. Fivefold will open its doors this Friday 21 June, with an opening launch next Friday the 28th. More on that soon!

They are so brand new that their website is still under construction, but for now you can find Fivefold on Facebook.

Here's a peek at some new earrings on their way to Canberra:

Stay tuned for an invitation to the launch next Friday!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Helen Britton's Awkward Beauty

Helen Britton's Awkward Beauty is coming to Melbourne. 

Awkward Beauty is an ongoing collaborative project by jeweller Helen Britton, garment designer Justine McKnight and photographer Michelle Taylor, which began in Perth as a response to the evocative spaces of the disused railway workshops that are now part of the Midland Atelier. It comes to Melbourne courtesy of FORM.

The exhibition runs from 19 June - 7 July at C3 Contemporary Art Space, Abbotsford Convent. An opening reception will be held on 19 June from 6-8pm. RSVP to Abbotsford Convent to attend the opening on 9415 3600.

For more information, visit  

A gorgeous exhibition catalogue is available at Gallery Funaki.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Lunatic Swing at Gallery Funaki

Did you know Gallery Funaki has been recently renovated?

The Lunatic Swing is Gallery Funaki's latest exhibition, featuring six artists who met and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich: Attai Chen, Carina Chitsaz-Shoshtary, Sungho Cho, Laura Deakin, Melanie Isverding and Emma Price.

The Lunatic Swing is on now, until 29 June.

Monday, 3 June 2013

National TAFE Day

Today is National TAFE Day!

Show your love for TAFE by registering your support on the Stop TAFE Cuts website.

Tell your story about how TAFE has benefited you on the Tafe4All website.

Visit Stop TAFE Cuts on Facebook. Like them!

Email Premier Napthine, Skills Minister Hall, and your MP.

Call your local talkback radio station and let them know what TAFE means to you.

Print out the Stop TAFE Cuts poster. Send a photo of you holding it to Stop TAFE Cuts on Facebook to show your support.

Become more involved in the campaign to save TAFE.

Happy TAFE Day!

Friday, 31 May 2013

Share Make Mend

Saturday is Global Sharing Day!

Transition Darebin and The Sharehood are hosting Share Make Mend this Saturday 1 June from 1:30 - 4pm at Chalice, 251 High Street, Northcote. There will be workshops!

1:30-2:30: Butter Making (for kids)
1:30-2:00: Food Preservation using Fermentation
2:00-2:30: Bee Keeping
2:30-3:30: Building a Planter Box with the Urban Bush Carpenters
3:30-4:00: Bike Maintenance & Repairs
All afternoon: Household Repairs, Food Swap, Clothing Swap, Book Swap, Crafting & Nanna Technology

Come along and make something, or bring something to swap / mend!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Kate Just: The Texture of Her Skin

Kate Just's The Texture of Her Skin opens this Thursday 31 May from 6-8pm at Glen Eira City Council Gallery, corner of Glen Eira & Hawthorn Roads, Caulfield.

"The Texture of Her Skin presents a wide range of tools, faux archaeological relics, armours and knitted second-skins that translate a complex, overlapping, accruing sense oftouch, identity and belonging through skin. The exhibition is the culmination of Kate Just’s studio-led PhD at Monash University and comprises a major body of sculptural and installation works produced between 2010-2013 exploring skin’s relevance to subjective and multi-layered visions of the female body."

The exhibition runs until 16 June. 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Part B is getting Noisy

Melbourne-based research jewellery group Part B is getting Noisy in Williamstown! On now at The Backroom @ Artifice store, Customs Wharf Galleries, 126 Nelson Place, Williamstown. 

The exhibition runs until 29 May. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

RMIT Enamelling Master Class with Elizabeth Turrell

Enamel Surfaces - Add and Subtract is a Master Class with British enameling artist Elizabeth Turrell. Participants will develop an understanding of how to translate visual imagery into enamel on steel and copper.

The course runs from 17 -  21 July at the RMIT Gold & Silversmithing studios. For more information and to enroll, visit the RMIT short course website

Friday, 17 May 2013

My work goes to Brisbane's Artisan Gallery

I will now be stocking my work at Artisan Gallery in Brisbane!

Here's a peek at some of the work I sent off in the post today:

These and other works will be out at Artisan's Design Shop [m]art very soon. Stop by if you're in Brisbane!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The Brunswick Patchwork Bed Bed Project (or How to Build a Bed out of Discarded Beds)

I've been working on something a little different recently: I built a bed!

It started with collecting wood from the hard rubbish collection, most of which turned out to be discarded pieces of other beds. Originally I was excited about building things with shipping pallets and thought I would try to build a Pallet Bed, but when I found so much good timber being thrown away, it became the Bed Bed Project: a bed made of beds.

Collecting wood was an adventure in Brunswick, where, as Catherine Deveny says in the forward to Stamping Ground: Stories of the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne, "that's why I love this place, a suburb where old Aussies, young Lebanese families, student households, Italian nonnas, Greek yayas, Somalian youths, Indian cab drivers and latte-frothing lefties like me live side by side and covet each other's rubbish."

Yes we do. It's more like a community garage sale than removal of waste, a place to meet your neighbours and discuss the usefulness of that chair, or what treasures you're looking for in this year's collection.

So I collected myself the parts of six former beds and a bunch of timber with unknown previous lives. And then I recorded the origin of each piece, so my bed could be a map of Brunswick. (More on that later.) I called my dad, an experienced woodworker, and found plans to build a bed from my new "homemaker" hero, Ana White. (She calls herself  a homemaker, but means that she and her family literally made their home.) The plans were subjected to continual alteration as I found new pieces of wood that almost, but not quite, fit the description of the material list of the plans.

And then I got building.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

NMIT Jewellery Auction 2013: sneak peek

One week until the NMIT Jewellery Auction! 

Here's a sneak preview of the earrings I'm donating: 

See you there next Wednesday 8 May!