The Indiana University Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design is collaborating with the artist-run nonprofit Ethical Metalsmiths to stage Radical Jewelry Makeover Bloomington, a community jewelry mining project. From July 4 through September 5, the initiative will solicit and accept donations of unwanted jewelry from community members in an effort to highlight a supply chain that offers an alternative to traditional mining.
Together with students from several other universities in the Midwest, students in the Eskenazi School’s Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design area will subsequently transform donations into fresh, responsibly sourced jewelry that will be exhibited at the Grunwald Gallery of Art, 1201 E. 7th Street, from January 19 through March 2, 2024, with an opening reception on January 19, 6-8 p.m.
Radical Jewelry Makeover (RJM) has convened semester-long projects in communities around the country and across the world since 2007. By drawing attention to the creativity and skills of local jewelry designers and revealing the stories behind our personal collections, RJM seeks to encourage reconsideration of consumption habits and raise awareness of and transform the sourcing of materials used in jewelry production. Metals and gemstones are often mined in some of the poorest countries in the world, on sacred lands, in disputed territories, and at great cost to human lives and the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that hard rock mining is the most toxic industry in the United States.
In Bloomington, RJM will engage community members – as volunteer “miners” of their unwanted jewelry – and student jewelers and other volunteers, who will collect the donated material, upcycle it into new pieces, and collaborate on an exhibition of the transformed jewelry. The following locations will serve as collection points for donations of jewelry of any quality, quantity, or material July 4 - September 5:
- Bloomingfoods East, 3220 E. Third St., Bloomington, Ind.
- I. Fell Gallery (First Fridays in July and August or by mail) 415 W. Fourth St., Bloomington, Ind.
- Mirth, Fountain Square Mall, 101 W. Kirkwood #117, Bloomington, Ind.
- Grunwald Gallery of Art, 1201 E. Seventh St., Bloomington, Ind.
Donors are asked to complete a submission form available through this link or in print at the collection locations. Donors will receive discount coupons to apply toward the purchase of a new piece, and sales will support Ethical Metalsmiths' efforts. Donations of gold or silver accompanied by an official appraisal document may be considered tax-deductible to their full appraised value. Donations may also be mailed to Indiana University, Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, Attn: Nicole Jacquard, 1201 E. 7th St. Rm. 132, Bloomington IN 47405.
Together with Eskenazi students, metalsmithing and jewelry design students from Earlham College, Ball State University, Bowling Green University, Western Michigan University, and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville – along with professional jewelers from Chicago’s Gallery 2052 Chicago – will work to transform the donations over the fall, in preparation for exhibition in January 2024.
“The Metalsmithing + Jewelry Design area at IU is excited by the opportunity to develop more robust and meaningful ways in which as practitioners we can responsibly and ethically engage in the work that we create,” said Professor Jacquard. “Teaming up with Ethical Metalsmiths for the RJM project is a vital step for us to solidify significant changes for teachers, our students and the broader field. It will also provide perspective of knowing where the materials we used are mined, how they are extracted and in what way, and how other areas like fast fashion also play a role and have a significant impact on resources.”
RJM will also include a lecture during the fall semester on copper mining and production by Ryan Peterson, doctoral candidate and research fellow at the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and another by Dr. Sandra Wilson, professor of ecological metal design from Duncan of Jordanstone of College of Art and Design in Scotland. Wilson’s current research explores recovering precious metals from electronic waste such as mobile phones and computer circuit boards.
About Ethical Metalsmiths
Ethical Metalsmiths is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage social change that values jewelry made with ethically sourced materials. They do this by educating people about irresponsible mining, promoting transparency in jewelry supply chains and highlighting the collective efforts of jewelers actively changing their practices. Ethical Metalsmiths’ vision is a world in which people can create and enjoy jewelry made with materials from responsible sources that protect and sustain the earth, its peoples and cultures. www.EthicalMetalsmiths.org