SPRING feels like Makeover Jewelry

It's spring and Radical Jewelry Makeover returns to its Richmond, VA roots. The RJM Artists Project is unveiled and The Hopkins Center for the Arts - Dartmouth College, was on TV News for the RJM events it is organizing. READ ON!

Christina Miller portrait    Susie Ganch Portrait
By, Christina Miller (co-founder, executive director) and Susie Ganch (RJM, director)

Radical Jewelry Makeover  - Richmond, VA OR RJM -RVA

RJM-RVA in progress students in studioRadical Jewelry Makeover returns to its roots! Susie Ganch, RJM Director and Assoc. Prof. at VCU decided that this was the year to bring RJM back to Virginia Commonwealth University where the project was first launched in 2007. Visual Arts Center of Richmond's Director of Exhibitions, Caroline Wright, provided the catalyst - an exhibition invitation that brought together both sides of Susie Ganch's art career: her independent studio work and the collaborative project Radical Jewelry Makeover. The exhibitions open on Friday April 4, 2014.  READ Richmond Style Weekly article about the project and vision for a Susie Ganch / RJM exhibition.

RJM - RVA is unique from other Makeovers (something that is a mandatory requirement for organizing any RJM). First, VCU Students participating most actively in the project are part of the Craft and Material Studies department's first ever "Service Learning Class." They are involved not only in making jewelry, but also in managing the different aspects of the project from soliciting donations, designing promotional materials, outreach to the local community, employing social media skills and professionalism.

This is great “real world “ experience.  As partners and representatives of RJM and Ethical Metalsmiths, the students have joined with Susie to make this project successful.  Since February 18, 2014, students have also been making jewelry that will be exhibited along side the work of regional professional jewelers who have also committed to lending their creativity and skills to the project.  Collaboration is a key part of the mission and students and professionals have been working alongside each other in the studio, swapping ideas and techniques, while getting to know each other. RJM RVA has revealed the vitality of the Richmond regional jewelry community and we hope the values of the project and the sharing between jewelers will continue long after the exhibition has ended there! LEARN MORE

Last year, students from Winthrop University hosted a Makeover and their work will also be included in the exhibition opening on April 4th. The amount of wearable, creative, low impact jewelry on exhibition at Vis Arts will without a doubt make an impression on those who visit. Visit the online gallery to see the Winthrop University student work.

RJM Artists Project

RJM Artists Project CollageA small group of artists (22) from across the country who previously collaborated with Radical Jewelry Makeover were invited to dive more deeply into the motivations and questions of the project. As past participants, with prior exposure to the values of RJM, they were asked to create a series of work using donated jewelry leftover from all previous donation drives.

While making their pieces, we asked them to consider a series of questions:
• How have you been influenced by the project?
• How do you weigh what techniques and materials you will use?
• How are creative license, personal safety, environment, and social responsibility factored in to your choices?
• How do you anticipate future uses for the materials that you are using?
• Will a jeweler in the future be able to reuse your piece by disassembling or melting down the metal?

A new website was created to showcase the creative process of these artists as well as to focus on special aspects of current and future projects that RJM is working on.  Included is the artists’ brainstorming and decision-making before, during, and after completion of the work. Not only is their work meant to inspire, the participating artists writing, images, and jewelry will hopefully both challenge and encourage an honest conversation about the difficulties facing jewelers who are trying to employ wise studio practices that decrease harm to both the environment and human health.  

Finished pieces by these 22 artists will be shown as a unique facet of the overall exhibition at the Visual Arts Center. All in all 140 artists are joining Susie Ganch for this exciting exhibition opportunity!  (For information and images as the exhibition unfolds and opens, visit our FB page, Radical Jewelry Makeover, and website.

RJM - HOP (Dartmouth College, NH)

Video Still WCAX News RJM Local news coverage and support for the Radical Jewelry Makeover being hosted by The Hopkins Center (HOP) for the Arts at Dartmouth College resulted in mountains of donated jewelry. This is great for HOP's new Community Venture Initiative for which RJM was especially sought out due to its capacity to bring together communities and start quality conversations about our consumption habits around jewelry. HOP / Dartmouth College is using the RJM TOOLKIT to organize their own RJM.

Jewelry is personal, it is gifted, it is sentimental and it is resource intensive. Ethical Metalsmiths explores a variety of ways that jewelers and consumers can enjoy responsible jewelry and RJM offers one particular approach - USE WHAT's ALREADY HERE rather than rely on newly mined metals, and other resources. Reusing old jewelry to make new pieces isn't easy and artists have to consider whether or not to completely erase characteristics of the original design, or to keep recognizable parts because they might tell a particular story or are especially sentimental. They also have to consider what the original piece is made of and what the safest and most interesting re-make might be.

HOP is has created a series of FREE, open to the public jewelry workshops, where community members can learn the basics of designing new jewelry from old, how to collaborate and inspire each other. The final pieces created in the workshops will be exhibited along with Madeover pieces by Donald Claflin Jewelry Studio guest artists and Dartmouth alumni artists (1973-2013). LEARN MORE ABOUT HOP and RJM Events in NH.

Sales of RJM jewelry serve to continue amazing, game changing projects by exhibition host and Ethical Metalsmiths. If you are in the region, Please GO to one of these events!

Inspired to organize an RJM or to donate jewelery?