Radical Jewelry Makeover raises awareness for Ethical Metalsmiths

Michael Bragg

Students in the art department are making jewelry for Radical Jewelry Makeover.

RJM is a project of Ethical Metalsmiths that raises awareness about unethical mining practices. The student-made jewelry created from donated metals and jewelry will be sold as a fundraiser for Ethical Metalsmiths. 

The co-founder, Susie Ganch, spoke last week at Appalachian State to give the art students some advice for their projects.

“I believe craft is an important tool to help create a better world” she said. “All work is priced affordably because we want it to go out and tell a story.”

RJM strives to raise awareness about unethical mining practices jewelers will encounter in their careers.

“RJM is focused on community outreach, education and collaboration” Ganch said. “Each one of these vital elements adds an unpredictable contribution to the outcome of each installment.”

Senior art major Leann Rafferty is excited about the event because it will bring a new opportunity.

“I’m really excited mostly because I will get to work with gold,” Rafferty said. “I’ve never gotten the chance to work with such an expensive metal.”

Art professor Margaret Yaukey is happy to have the chance for her students to gain experience.

“RJM brings them into the conversation in their fields that is of utmost importance right now, and that is our ability to engage ethically” she said.

The student jewelry will be sold at the pop-up shop on Oct. 23 in Plemmons Student Union’s Solarium.

“As artists and community members I think we can all benefit by learning where our materials come from, whether it is metal or stones for jewelry we wear or other materials we created art from,”  said Judy Servon, Catherine J. Smith Gallery Director. “Learning and discussing mineral sourcing is an important part of Radical Jewelry Makeover and on people’s lives.”

Radical Jewelry Makeover overall has collected 8000 pounds of jewelry in total, and created over 11,063 pieces of jewelry, Ganch said. The art students have already collected their donations for the project and will showcase their pieces at the Oct. 23  pop-up shop.

Story: KALEY CAMPBELL, Intern A&E Reporter