What a full, fulfilling day at Miami University, Ohio! After 5 hours of driving through a typical NE Ohio snowstorm (well at least through Columbus), we arrived Tuesday to the picturesque town of Oxford, home of Miami University. Not so used to major snow down here, they had actually shut down campus early. I guess it’s all relative; seemed like a tame Syracuse winter day to me, but not everyone has had an arctic college experience. Anywho, check out these street banners! That top image look familiar? Yes, it’s a closeup of my Duchess 2 lego necklace! Fantastic; I’ve already got a good word in to get one of those at the end of the show in July. Wouldn’t it make a wonderful tote bag, or even just hang in the hallway!!!
This morning’s workshop “Top 10 Tips for Post Grad Success” was a small but serious group of metals grad students (led by Susan Ewing), who were super attentive and eager for the info. I managed to cram my 4.5 hour workshop into almost 2 hours. Did a few less interactive segments and flew through the info. Gave them their Resource packet, updated with a Green section including Christine’s “Making Eco Friendly Choices” article from Art Jewelry magazine, May 2009.
Had a great discussion at lunch with Curator of Exhibitions Lena Vigna (soon to be Curator of Exhibitions at Racine Art Museum, WI!) and Associate Dean of Fine Arts and Metals Chair, Susan Ewing (talk about major multi-tasking in the workplace). She’s taking her students back to Prague with her this summer, those lucky devils, it sounds so inspiring (i want to go to there).
The Adornment and Excess Exhibition is really worth visiting Miami (wait til spring, though) and the Miami University Art Museum is quite the facility with a very gracious, welcoming staff and a HUGE permanent collection (Syracuse didn’t even have anything like it on campus). My pieces were displayed right up front along with looping digital images on the imac of people wearing my work.
Across from my work is Harriete’s set of 3 recycled tin bracelets: Prestige, Value, and Identity.
One of my favs is a series of repurposed/transformed costume jewelry by Meg Drinkwater. She takes masses of pearls, vintage costume jewelry and encases them from behind in resin into solid, massive necklaces. Makes me want to do more of my own Radical Jewelry Makeover!
Speaking of which, RJM has a presence in this show, smartly done with not only finished jewelry pieces from past RJMs around the country, but a huge wooden bin of “raw” materials (old junk jewelry) and a video installation with interviews from participants and organizers (see image below). And to my delight, Christina Miller, co-founder of Ethical Metalsmiths and the RJM was present at tonite’s lecture! She now resides in Oxford. Talk about small world! RJM is gearing up for Australia this summer! Check out the RJM blog for the latest updates!So much smart work, I would be remiss not to mention the performance metalsmith, Gabriel Craig, who will be concluding the events at MU on Earth Day this April bringing his Pro Bono Jeweler interactive performance to the Shriver Center (student center). Here in the exhibit plays 2 of his street performances as well as some of the polymer clay “freebie” rings made during the event. Check out his blog, Conceptual Metalsmith to see his latest street video, The Gospel According to Craft.
In the spirit of trash into treasure, the work of Shari Pierce and her Mi Casa Su Casa /Cardboard democracy series is a well-executed display. The larger than lifesize, recycled cardboard necklace hangs suspended in the middle of the space (begging the viewer to get as close as they dare) with large photographs on the wall behind of the environments where the materials were collected. Also, her colorful cardboard purses hang exposed on the opposite wall next to photos as well.
This evening’s Sustainability and Creativity lecture was very well attended by architecture, sculpture, and metals students and staff. Lena Vigna began the evening with an overview of the Adornment exhibition and her process in curating the show. Mary Ben Boham (Dept Architecture) presenting 3 positions on the positives and pitfalls of trying to design sustainable buildings, bottom line being “How are People being served”? Rod Northcutt (Dept Sculpture) bringing the focus on sustainability of materials and as artists being conscious of our process. I spoke last, speaking to how I work as a recycling artist and my progression from using jewelry as an outlet of personal Expression, to sharing it as an Experience on a public level, to Community outreach.
To round off the evening’s discussion, Curator of Education, Cynthia Collins gathered us up for an intimate round table discussion, which was led by grad student Lisa Wilson, the opening question being “What is the creative person’s role in moving a community towards sustainability?” Is it a grass roots movement or does success come from the top down? All of the above, but how can we instigate change? What small step can each person do towards living a more sustainable lifestyle? Ironically, people mentioned San Francisco multiple times (not me, by the way) and the mandates being given to get residents to comply such as citywide composting, elimination of styrofoam and plastic bags in stores. Realistically, people need to be threatened with fines in order to bring about citywide compliance (and still I find myself constantly resorting the misplaced trash/recycling/compost at work and in the neighborhood). Cynthia made an astute remark that got everyone thinking: last year’s Federal Mandate for HD TV. When is the last time that something was required by everyone on the Federal level? And to boot, there were no riots in the street, rather lots an lots of CRT screens and electronic waste. What does that say about our culture? It would be my wish to see recycling become a federal mandate as well as federal subsidized organic farms. I’m curious, if people were asked what they value more their TV or their health and grandchildren’s health, what would the nation as a whole choose?