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I am pleased to announce the launch of my work into the Craft ACT shop!

For those Canberra locals who haven’t seen or heard of this exciting place — I urge you to visit! Located in Civic Square on London Cct, Craft ACT exhibits some of the region (and Australia’s) most amazing makers. They have an exciting and dynamic exhibition schedule within their two gallery spaces, and have recently launched the new Craft ACT shop! The shop features works from local makers — textiles, glass, ceramics, jewellery, objects and publications. All products are designed by talented craftspeople and handmade, so by buying up you’re supporting independent makers.

I have submitted some teacup rings and wireframe neckpieces, the latter including stainless steel, sterling silver and 24k gold plated brass, all on oxidised sterling silver chain. You can see some examples of this series here, and learn about the teacup rings here.

My works will be in the ‘crucible showcase’ at the entrance to Craft ACT until Saturday 22nd May, at which point they will enter the shop. They are available as “cash and carry” so you can buy one from the display and take it home on the spot! What more could I ask or??

KONFRONTATION, pt. 1 details the background to the project.

I have begun exploring bone and horn as possible materials for my project. 

I purchased a piece of hunting memorabilia – a trophy mount of the antlers of a Roe deer (complete with sawn-off skull fragment) – from the local fleamarket.

After a very confronting trip to the butcher, I purchased some cheap bony cuts, including sliced beef shinbone and pig feet. More confronting was having to handle the pieces themselves (having not touched meat for around six years, it is a very alien concept to me…) and extracting the usable material from the cuts.

First, the pieces are simmered for a long while in water with a bit of detergent. This helps break down the fat, marrow and remaining tissue. For me, the smell was horrendous. It was rich and heavy, and loaded with the artificial citrus of the soap didn’t help. It smelled like an old kitchen. In fact, the whole 32sqm of my flat smells like an old kitchen, despite all the windows being open, and copious amounts of air freshener. A part of me keeps telling me I shouldn’t deny myself the full extent of the experience, but my nausea dictates otherwise…

Scraping off the excess flesh and removing the marrow was also less-than-enjoyable… The marrow became this sloppy, gelatinous mass, which was to be pushed out with a brave finger. Fortunately, it revealed on one piece a stunning area of lacy, porous bone. Less than ideal for traditional carving, perhaps — but something I’d like to exploit.

After boiling away the tissues, the bones are to be sunned for at least a few days. Thitutorial on bone preparation details the rest of the process, which I am yet to complete. This succinct supply and prep list is also really helpful. Luckily, most of the tools can be found on a jeweller’s bench, and I will happily improvise where necessary.

Luckily, I also obtained a small piece of pre-prepared cattle bone to play with. It is a beautiful material, dense and chalky, with subtleties of texture and colour throughout. It polishes beautifully, too. My preference is to use a nail bufffer (the dispoable kind, usually with two emery surfaces and two buffing surfaces adhered to a cushioned board), which is what I often use on my melamine pieces, after initial emery (anything up to 600). 

The smell released from the bone from carving is also pungent (though not as much as the boiling, fortunately). It has the distinct smell of umami – the proteinous aroma present in meat, mushrooms and human semen… 

I’ve included some pictures of this intitial research below, but I should warn you in advance – it’s not so nice to look at. But then, we’re all part of the system, right?

Roe deer trophy mount, sliced

Roe deer trophy mount, sliced

Roe deer trophy mount, sliced

Roe deer trophy mount, sliced, with skull piece

Cattle shinbone, after initial boiling

Cattle shinbone, after initial boiling

Cattle shinbone, in different stages of preparation

Cattle shinbone, in different stages of preparation

Cattle shinbone, after initial boiling

Cattle shinbone, after initial boiling

Pig feet, ready for boiling

Pig feet, ready for boiling

Pig foot, ready for boiling

Pig foot, ready for boiling, knuckle intact.

Tools for working with bone

Tools for working with bone

Roe deer trophy mount, large red deer antler, cattle shinbone

Roe deer trophy mount, large red deer antler, cattle shinbone

{N.B. This post has been edited for clarity.}

   

Sydneysiders have been lucky enough to have experienced a multitude of exhibitions of contemporary metalsmiths, jewellers and object designers at Surry Hills studio-gallery Metalab over the last few years. Metalab was opened in 2004 by ANU School of Art graduate Cesar Cueva (above centre and right). Now, their sister store Courtesy of the Artist is about to reach it’s two year anniversary.

Courtesy stocks a wide range of contemporary wearables and objects from many Australian and international designers and artists like Cinnamon Lee, Mark Vaarwerk, Vanessa Samuels (above left) and F!NK. The vivacous Nina Cueva, owner of the store, hand picks the objects and artists. Nina’s vast amount of experience and craft knowledge ensures her range is not only fresh and innovative, but of superior handmade quality.

Courtesy is located at 547 Bourke St, Surry Hills, NSW. Definitely one for the inner-city-gallery crawl. 🙂

The Art of Jim Denevan The Art of Jim Denevan The Art of Jim Denevan 

I can’t help but become incredibly introspective and humbled when I discover artists like Jim Denevan

Something about these ephemeral, measured earthworks transcend the boundary of scale, seem to bridge the boundary of the macro-microcosmic divide. *sigh*.

Denevan’s works are site-specific, in that he combs the beach shore for a suitable piece of driftwood, which he uses to draw shapes into the sand, based upon the surrounding environment (the shapes of clouds, leaves, terrain, etc.) and landmarks as reference points for the construction of works, some of which take up to 7 hours.

He must posess that same rare gene that Andy Goldsworthy does, which allows such concentration and dedication to something so transitory. 🙂

fiona-hall-skull.jpg
Fiona Hall
Understorey 1999-2004
glass beads, silver wire, rubber, boar’s teeth

Before Damien Hirst pave-set a platinum skull, there was Fiona Hall.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney is currently holding an exhibiton by Australian contemporary artist Fiona Hall. Fiona Hall: Force Field runs from March 6 until June 1.

Hall’s  work explores social, political, environmental and economic concerns through a a diverse range of media including photography, sculpture, painting, installation. Hall exalts everyday objects and simultaneously subverts the plastic economies from which they emerge.

I found this exhibiton really inspiring and insightful. Hall’s often tongue-in-cheek approach to serious issues is really accessible, her works don’t drown in obscure meaning or pretentiousness.
Go and see it!

Also, keep your calendar free for Southern Exposure, featuring works from the San Diego MCA from the likes of Barbara Kruger, Ed Ruscha and Bill Viola. Runs from March 20 until June 1.

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