NEW Student Committee and Exhibition

VCU Students form the FIRST Ethical Metalsmiths Student Committee and Annual Exhibition: An Invitation to Join

Change is inevitable, but where it takes us relies on influence. With this in mind, the new student committee of Ethical Metalsmiths has given a voice to students, celebrating their influence on the field of Jewelry and Metalsmithing.

Lucy Derickson portraitBy: Lucy Louise Derickson

Chair, Ethical Metalsmiths Student Committee

The newly formed Ethical Metalsmiths Student Committee understands that students hold a unique position in the metalsmithing community. Working in close proximity to each other in shared studio spaces ethically minded students can influence peers through example. Starting conversations regarding wise studio practices early on, coupled with the volume of students in any given studio, will create a capillary effect of awareness in the field. We would like to invite you to join Ethical Metalsmiths and be part of the conversation. Committee membership is open, student volunteers must be members of EM.

We have formed the Ethical Metalsmiths Student Committee to utilize and exemplify the significant impact students have, so they may have greater voice in shifting the contemporary conversation.

Discussion, Exhibition and Award

EM Student LogoBecoming a student member of Ethical Metalsmiths is a critical step in participating in the conversation of ethical studio practices. The members discussion forum is an excellent resource for students to read about environmental concerns,  ask questions and get feedback from their peers and professionals. Student members will also be eligible to apply for our Annual Student Exhibition, which will highlight various ways students are making ethical choices in their studio and creative lives. BECOME A STUDENT MEMBER.

Through the Annual Student Exhibition, we encourage students to explore what wise studio practice means to them, and communicate about it through the lense of an exhibition. Students who apply to the show, will then be eligible for the Annual Emerging Artist Award. This $1000 award will be given to a student who embraces the greater mission of Ethical Metalsmiths as exemplified by their work. This student will receive numerous accolades including a catalog of the Annual Student Exhibition, complimentary membership while you are a student, one year of supporter level membership upon graduation, an expose on the Ethical Metalsmiths website, and opportunity for your work to be used in Ethical Metalsmiths future digital or printed promotional materials. It might go without saying that it will be an exceptional opportunity to expose your work to a vast audience. That alone makes the membership worth it.

As active founding members of this student committee we are charged with considering the choices we make in our practice, and how the repercussions of these choices not only influence our work, but the greater community as well. Brian Fleetwood, Kelley Morrison, Jane Barton, and myself participate in running the Metals studio here at VCU, and do so with wise ethical practice in mind. For example, currently our studio practice research is focused on examining pickle reconstitution and disposal myths with the goal of finding a solution that works for the private and academic studio. We intend to examine other studio practices involved in metalsmithing processes, and hope more students join the conversation. You can look forward to reviewing our findings in the Ethical Metalsmiths Member Forum.

Who we are: Introducing the Ethical Metalsmiths Student Committee

Lucy Louise Derickson

Lucy Derickson portraitLucy Derickson Mother Device

The role of Chair of the Ethical Metalsmtihs Student Committee is one that I accept enthusiastically. As I experiment with concepts and materials while working towards my MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) I have become increasingly concerned with my responsibility as an artist to influence my community and call attention to relevant and contemporary issues. Whether I look through the lense of a figurative microscope or telescope, I am interested in examining the chain of circumstances that result in social shifts. For the past two semesters I’ve been working on a series of surrogate devices that provoke memory and act as prosthetics for personal relationships. By creating these devices from repurposed pewter serviceware I utilize material that already exists in the world, rather than supporting the mining of new material.

Kelley Morrison

Kelly Morrison portraitKelly Morrison portrait

I am a first year Metals grad at VCU. I’m excited to be able to be a part of Ethical Metalsmiths Student committee. Through the course of my education I have been lucky enough to study with professors who are ethically aware and make sure that their students know that their material choices have ethical ramifications. As a result in my work I try to use what I have before buying new materials. I like to reuse as much as I can, giving old jewelry and clothing new life. I love the history and the story that repurposed objects carry, but more than that I feel good knowing that my work keeps these discarded items from being thrown away. Growing up I remember my Grandma always saying, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” this is a mentality that I feel the world could use more of.

Brian Fleetwood

Brian Fleetwood portraitBrian Fleetwood rings

My jewelry work and practice are greatly influenced by my youth spent in a rural native community in Oklahoma and by my background in the biological sciences. I am currently in the process of completing an MFA at VCU in Richmond, Virginia. My work mimics structures and relationships throughout nature with the purpose of gently suggesting alternative views of our relationships with the world around us. My Mvskoke cultural background and training in ecology have informed my desire to cultivate a practice that fosters both environmental justice and social justice for native communities.

Jane Barton                 

Jane Barton portraitJane Barton portrait - Ring

I am a senior at VCU completing dual BFA degrees in Communication Arts and Craft/ Material studies. Over the past several months I have been working as project assistant, web promoter and graphic designer for Radical Jewelry Makeover – Richmond. My work explores the human form as landscape, which I then document through portraiture photography. Specifically, working with my brother or using my own body, my jewelry and photography focus on topics such as ethical material sourcing, landscape and adornment. I am constantly seeking new ways to improve my studio practices whether that means making my own ingots out of scrap silver or using biodegradable material in my work. I am delighted to have been extended the opportunity to serve on the Ethical Metalsmiths Student board and hope to continue encouraging thoughtful practices within our industry.