CriticalSmiths Research Series

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Ethical Metalsmiths and Wellness for Makers Proudly Present:

CrtitcalSmiths Research Series: FLUX
EM Students: QCA

Project Topic: Flux

We will be researching and comparing various fluxes used in the jewellery and metalsmithing industry with a focus on issues of sustainability, occupational health and safety, and efficacy.

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Project Goals

Our goals for this research project are to develop a spreadsheet of available fluxes with a summary of our research. We aim to establish a series of identified parameters which allow us to assess the suitability of the flux to its purpose, while also considering its environmental impact. While doing our research we will also recognize accessibility of flux in relation to what is available in Australia and internationally. Once the research project is complete, we will compile our conclusions in an easy to read poster to support distribution of this information.
This Project is currently underway… Stay tuned!


Flux Survey Results

Beneath the Label Survey

This short survey was generated to identify which fluxes are being used by jewelers and metalsmiths internationally. The survey was used as an indication not only of which fluxes were being used, but also whether the safety and sustainability of flux was a concern.
Survey Questions:

1.     Which flux do you use in your studio?
2.     Why do you use this flux?
3.     Do you know/understand the ingredients your flux contains?
4.     What personal protective equipment do you use with your flux?

 The survey was completed a total of 81 times by Jewellers and Metalsmiths who reported being from Australia, the United States of America, The United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Italy. Of all the fluxes, Handy Flux was identified as the most commonly used among survey participants, at 29%.

When asked why participants chose the flux they use common responses included that it was what they were taught with and due to familiarity with the product they have continued to use it.

Other participants identified that they preferred a paste flux or the flux they were using for a particular consistency or purpose.  Of all responses, only 12% of participants stated safety was a consideration when choosing their flux, the majority of these specifying their choice is a fluoride free flux.

Despite so few participants indicating health and safety as a concerns when choosing their flux, 54% of participants claim to know and understand the ingredients their flux contains.

This lead us to ask what personal protective equipment was being used when handling these dangerous chemicals. 35% of participants stated they have a ventilation system in their studio, while only 26% use safety glasses and up to 28% identified that they use no personal protective equipment.

 These results will be used to contribute to the formulation of an informative poster. The poster will highlight some of the chemicals contained in flux, and what personal protective equipment is recommended.



Introducing the QCA CriticalSmiths Research Team

 
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Lead Researcher:
Helen Byers

Helen Byers is a third year student majoring in Jewellery and Small Objects at Queensland College of Art Griffith University. Helen’s personal research interest is in how the traditions of metalsmithing can forge an emotional connection with the seemingly impenetrable language of science.

Before enrolling at QCA, Helen worked in various scientific fields as a researcher, lecturer and science communicator. She has also worked as a qualified oncology massage therapist.

Helen is an avid traveller, photographer and snorkeller. Her interests include astrophysics, neuroscience, marine conservation and the philosophy of science. She is a passionate promoter of scientific literacy and critical thinking skills.

Her studio work can be viewed on Instagram at @Jso collective

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Lead Researcher:
Loraine Boshoff

Loraine Boshoff is a third year student majoring in Jewellery and Small Objects at Queensland College of Art Griffith University. Loraine has a personal interest in the power of jewellery to contain and evoke memory and emotion, and the way in which we interact with it. Before enrolling at QCA, Loraine studied a Bachelor of Nursing and currently works as a paediatric oncology nurse. Her decision to study fine arts was based on a need to bring more creativity into her daily life.

Loraine is an active member of the J&SO Student Collective and the Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Queensland.

Loraine’s studio work can be viewed on Instagram at @jewellery_by_loraine, and @thejsocollective.

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Lead Researcher:
Maddison Bygrave

Maddison Bygrave is a third year student majoring in Jewellery and Small Objects at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Her current research interest is on the impact of human existence on our oceans, inspired by archaeological research of marine life and the importance of sustainability to reduce our ecological footprint. Maddison was born and raised on the central coast of Queensland in a small town called Yeppoon, before completing high school in Brisbane with a swimming scholarship. She is part of the J&SO Student Collective Committee and her work can be viewed in Instagram at @maddisonbygravejewellery .

 
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Lead Researcher
Breeanna Harris

Breeanna Harris is a third year student majoring in Jewellery and Small Objects at Queensland College of Art Griffith University. Breeanna’s personal research interest is in music and creating pieces to are made to be touched and played with.

Breeanna enrolled in QCA straight after graduating high school, where she participated in gamelan and studied all manner of instruments, including, Piano, Guitar and Reyong.

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Support Researcher
Robyn Pell

Robyn Pell is a third year student majoring in Jewellery and Small Objects at Queensland College of Art (QCA), Griffith University. Robyn’s personal research involves exploring interactions between her work and the viewer, this is significant and entwined in the fabric of her designs. She combines textures and forms to suggest past narratives and collected memories.

Before enrolling at QCA, Robyn had completed studies in Graphic Design and Business Management. She managed her own successful small business and also completed public art commissions.

Robyn has extensive experience volunteering for not for profit associations that support the Arts. She is currently the Vice President of the Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia Queensland Chapter Inc.

Her studio work can be viewed instagram/D13Rob and robynpell.com

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Support Researcher
Kierra-Jay Power

Kierra-Jay Power is a third year student majoring in Sculpture and Jewellery and Small Objects at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Her current personal research interest is in Urban and City biodiversity and ecology, and exploring how natural curiosity and science education encourage critical thinking.

Before enrolling at QCA, Kierra-Jay completed high school in Darwin, Northern Territory and then spent a year working with students with disabilities at primary and high schools. She is the part of the J&SO Student Collective Committee and an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Palmerston and Rural.

Her studio work can be viewed on Instagram at @kj.power.

 
 

The CriticalSmiths Research Series is a collaboration between EM Students and Wellness For Makers.

 
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