Symptoms of the Symposium…

So as a few of you know, I am co-chairing the 2013 ECU Metals Symposium “Making Marks”, on top of curating the “Tongue in Cheek” Exhibition.  So since the board voting at the end of last semester I have been living in between to major emotions. On one hand there is this wonderful optimism and excitement about being able to help organize such a monumental event for upwards of 160 metalsmiths and makers. On the other hand there are twinges of extreme horror and anxiety that something bad is going to come smashing through the aforementioned optimism like the Kool-Aid man through a brick wall.  Although, I trust that this emotional balancing act is just the the dance that we must do when the event becomes bigger than organizers. It is true that my bench has been a little lonely these past few weeks as we get closer and closer to the start of registration. However, my laptop has been a fire with correspondence with amazingly talented makers of all kinds!  I suppose that is an acceptable trade off.  This semester has been full of my own surprises, I never would have though while I was barely passing my first metals class with Christina Miller @ Millersville University I would every be involved with this kind of thing. It would be a laughable conversation honestly. So I guess what I am trying to say that I feel honored to work with such wonderful talent and ingenuity here at ECU. OK enough with the sappy stuff.

For all of you who are itching to register ASAP we will have the registration up very soon! Here is the URL to the symposium blog to check out this years presenters!

Don’t get your apron in a bunch! 😀

Here are some great image from last years symposium for those of  you who are veterans of this amazing shindig and for those who have no freaking idea what I am rambling on about. Well this is me signing off, all I can think about now is how annoying  my spell checker is, damn thing ALWAYS wants to change metalsmith into metal-smith. UGH.




A view from my desk/dashboard…

My new series has really opened my eyes to the existence of muses. It truly has become more of a lifestyle at this point than a few objects that get produced from my tinkering. To make them I need to move, travel, and explore. Only when in motion do these obscure muses present themselves.

Scottsboro Alabama

Since the series started in the beginning of summer I have wondered around the south aimlessly and burned rubber up and down the east coast in my tiny roller skate car. For me, traveling is an important tool I use to deepen my experience of “self” in the world. It is essentially effortless introspection.

Little Rock Arkansas

I decided to title each piece in the series after the location I was in while forming the idea in my head. I thought this told a little more of the story and made them a bit more mysterious.

Richmond, Virginia

“Chance and chance alone has a message for us. Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out, is mute. Only chance can speak to us.”

― Milan KunderaThe Unbearable Lightness Of Being

Atlanta, Georgia

I am working on another roadkill type piece now, here is a sneak peak!  Cheers! Until next time.

In progress “Lancaster Pennsylvania”

oxoxox DJ

Go see my work at “A life still” @ the North Carolina Museum of Art

My piece got into the North Carolina Museum of Art! So damn excited! Check it out online below or check it out in person! The Exhibition opens  October 21, 2012 and is up through January 13, 2013. The part I am geeking out about is that this exhibit will be running adjacent to “Still-Life Masterpieces: A Visual Feast from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston features European and American paintings and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the present. My inner child is still squealing. My work is going to be hanging a stones throw from paintings by Manet, Renoir, and Cézanne, among many others. The best part is that the first piece I have every gotten into a museum show is a piece of raw meat, on a plate. 😀  Cheers for now!

New A Life, Still Submission!

Danielle James
Generous Helping
East Carolina University
Found Ceramic Plate, Cloisonne Enamel, Copper.
1 ft x 1ft
Artist statement: This piece presents the viewer with a discussion about something we all encounter everyday, food. Particularly food portions and how they have changed throughout recent history. While plates at your local restaurant and our own dinner tables continue to expand to meet our portion demands. The amount of food our bodies are able to successfully digest remains the same. This unbalanced consuming cycle is one contributing factor to the overwhelming amount of chronic obesity that comes along with our sedentary “still life”.

Danielle James is currently pursuing her graduate degree in the metal arts at East Carolina University. She received her BFA from Millersville University in Lancaster Pennsylvania. She is the brain behind Axe to Grind Designs and currently lives in Greenville, NC with he wonderful cat Princess Zelda.

Tongue in Cheek deadline has been extended!

Extended to the 15th of September!!

I am curating a show, with the help of Margaret and Ellen Hinrichs. Juried by the lovely Jillian Moore!!  Hosted by the Greenville Museum of Art during the 2013 ECU Metals Symposium: Making Marks. Tongue in cheek is a show based around what happens when mockery and material merge.  Presenting the question: Why as makers do we feel the need to bestow laughter into our objects, and why is that laughter so contagious to the viewer?

Below is the call for entries, please spread the word!!

Tongue and Cheek extended Exhibition Call for Entries

“Inert” Series

Inert 1

The fruit of my atlanta trip, these two necklaces are just the beginning of the “Inert” series. I have started to design some brooches in neon as well. But for now just check these out! I can finally breath now that these are done 🙂 Neon adornment is possible, and this is just the beginning!


Adventures in Hotlanta (part two)

Hello Again,

Sorry to keep you in suspense of my misadventures, however I have yet to process them all myself. So where was I….

Oh yes,  soul searching and whatnot.  So there I was! Driving into Atlanta, the tall buildings welcoming me to its cultural oasis in the heat. Like some sort of engineered palm trees waving back and forth across the horizon line.

The interesting thing about Atlanta is how vast it is. IT TRULY IS HUGE!  Apparently lots of tiny towns around Atlanta, and Atlanta itself at some point all expanded into each other VERY rapidly. This was the excute I heard multiple times while I complained about the obvious insanity of the engineer who decided not to put ANY left turning arrows any ware. So unlike Philly with its huge downtown area and surrounding residences and scattered slums. Atlanta is a bunch of little downtown areas separated by suburbia. Let me tell you, being in a city and realizing that there is no smog is kind of beautiful. Atlanta is also the birth place of the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King started the worldwide “Civil Rights” movement there. Atlanta also has one of the highest LGBT populations per capita, ranking 3rd of all major cities, behind San Francisco and Seattle, with 12.8% of the city’s total population recognizing themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

Oh and did I forget to mention the state Capitol building is layered with 43 ounces of pure gold that was mined from Dahlonega, GA. For the slow at math that is 69,719.77 dollars!!!!

I finally arrive at my destination not the least bit disappointed. The neon company is part of a large U shaped graffiti covered building that shares a parking lot with  IFO signs, Fallen Arrows Custom Printing, and Polly the potters ceramics studio. I would later learn that the parking lot sometimes turns into ground zero for pool partys and what not, on super hot days. I met the owner Gregg and the electrician (self proclaimed Jack of all trades) Jason, and got straight to work.

Georiga Tech has something they call “Tech Tower”. Erected in 1888 and named the Academic Building, Tech Tower was one of the first two buildings to be completed on the Georgia Tech campus, and is now the oldest still standing structure on campus. AND I GOT TO CLIMB ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP!


The channel letter on the top of the tower needed to be changed and the University also wanted extra neon letters to be made, so we carried them all the way to the top, via creaky wooden ladders and rickety metal handrails. Needless to say it was AWESOME!

So, at the end of my first day I still knew very little about neon, but I felt comfortable in my own skin in this strange city. And that gave me warm fuzzy’s. The work day ended how every day should, with the clink of tequila shots and a jump in the pool in the parking lot. After the dunk I went walking down to “little five” (the hip cool place apparently) and found the Vortex.

A bar where the entrance is a giant skull? YES PLEASE! and later I learned that the Neon Co. did the neon for the inside of this guys eye sockets! SO COOL!

Oh and this!

“The Elvis Burger” at the Vortex Bar in Little Five Points.
Burger, Bacon, Penut Butter, and Fried Bananas! WITH TOTS!

….all was right with the world and life was good.

Cheers until the next installment of this bligity blog

Love DJ

Adventures in Hotlanta (Part One)

In the first week of this summer I received an amazing email from East Carolina University. I had been approved for my research grant that would allow me to travel to Atlanta GA to study neon glass bending at The Neon Company. I have always been fascinated with the glowing lights that pepper the skyline in most major cities. While researching for my grant application I discovered the slow and steady decline in places like The Neon Co due to the popularity of LED lights.

This saddened me and sparked a line of telephone calls across the east coast. Needless to say, not many places that were still doing Neon wanted a random 23 year-old-female insurance liability wandering around their sharp and dangerous workshops. So by the fourteenth phone call I was about to give up, until I spoke with Gregg Brenner. Gregg asked me “why the heck I would want to learn neon?” Essentially my justification boiled down to “I am a crazy graduate student and It sounds like fun+ I have never been to Atlanta”  ( I will think of the big obnoxious reason for this work later, right now I just want to make glowing shit!) To which Gregg so eloquently replied…”Well sure, come on down”. Two weeks later, I was on my way!

The list of wonderfulness on my way down includes but is not limited to:

South of the border a kitschtastic summer wonderland where I finally was able to procure the holy grail of tackiness….a south of the border sombrero ash tray!

The Delorean below 88mph…

Traveling radioactive material.

AND a man in front of me at the drive through at taco bell paid for my crunchwrap supreme!

I am not sure if it was just my excited optimism, in going to a unknown city to learn a material that was altogether a mystery. Or the knowledge that for two short weeks I had allowed myself to relinquish control of my life and just be a gypsy on the hot streets of Atlanta. Whatever it was, it felt good to just be moving away from where I was towards who I would be. As the miles clicked away on my odometer I could feel the weight of graduate school, past relationships, missed opportunities and of course student loans start to lighten and finally float away.  A solid eight hours of good music, munchies, and reflecting on how lucky you are to be where you are, surrounded by so many amazing people, prepared me for the undertaking ahead.  I did not know where exactly I was going or what I would do when I got there, but I was certain of one thing, shenanigans were on the horizon. To be continued…

Stay tuned for Part two of said shenanigans in the coming days!