2019: Cathryn Jasterzbski

We are proud to present to you the 2019 Emerging Artist
Cathryn Jasterzbski

The annual Ethical Metalsmiths Emerging Artist Award is chosen from the applicants to the So Fresh + So Clean student exhibition.

This year’s jurors were the 2019 members of the Virginia Commonwealth University Chapter of EM Students including: Taylor Zarkades King and Andy Lowrie.
Our 2019 Guest Juror was Sarah Rachel Brown, Producer and Creator of the Perceived Value Podcast.

Artist Bio:

Cathryn Jasterzbski received a Master of Fine Arts in 2019 from the Rhode Island School of Design, USA.


Artist Statement:

We are characterized by the assets which comprise our identity. These possessions provide us with numerous tools to navigate the social constructs that make up our lives. I am a female contemporary jeweler coming from a working-class family, specializing in skilled manual labor and currently existing within the world of academia. As such, I am always walking the line between these class structures and gender roles and find myself reflecting on the ways I shift between them. My work redefines the value of the working-class through a confluence of materials and techniques to bridge the gap between the two worlds that construct my identity—allowing me to coexist within both, yet bound by neither. Through interviewing skilled tradespeople, I render working-class identities as emblems of labor through welding reclaimed, industrial steel in the format of brooches.


Responsibility Statement:

Prior to my graduate studies, my training as a goldsmith focused on understanding the origin, and ethical responsibility that should be taken when using precious metals and stones alike. During my graduate studies, I had the privilege of spending a year researching and teaching my department about precious and semi-precious metal extraction processes throughout the globe which shifted my studio practice entirely. What began as a fairly traditional jeweler’s studio became a salvage yard for industrial steel scrap metal that was treated with the same delicacy and skillfulness as platinum, gold, and silver jewelry. My work aims to reduce the waste of precious and non-precious metal through the practice of reclaiming site-specific scrap steel from labor intensive and industrial locations. Discarded steel that no longer serves a purpose is the material I begin with. Scratches, bruises, and soot cover its surface. Each imperfection gives rise to how the salvaged piece will be manipulated throughout the process of making. I reform this stock into intricately joined structures that adorn the body. This material/process shift laid the foundation for my current practice where I utilize this discarded material the as a metaphorical representation of class constructs that I straddle within my life.


Coming next year is a follow up interview and new work!