jewelry_cycle exhibition: Artists Discover Hidden Sparkle in the Discarded

Posted on November 2, 2008

Holy Mother Board, Batman… it's jewelry!2968395687_4cec766476_m

Jewelry_cycle is an educational showcase of wearable treasures made from re-cycled circuit boards on exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design until January 4, 2009.

Circuit boards contain precious metals, such as copper, silver and gold, which add a precious element to what would otherwise be considered e-waste. The curators, Christine Dhein and Christophe Koch, along with invited artists Shana Astrachan, David Casella, Reed Easley, Aimee Golant, Kelly Nederman and emiko oye discover the hidden potential and transform these materials to create brilliant, sparkling jewels.

Christine hopes that this recycled jewelry collection will “inspire visitors to appreciate the potential value of discarded objects in a new way.”

The details of the exhibition design received as much attention from the curators as the jewelry. Koch believes that “contemporary jewelry should be presented in a modern way that leaves a lasting impression.” Dhein focuses on the way jewelry is brought to life when it is worn. Using these ideas and inspiration from “La Belle et la Bete” a movie by French director, Jean Cocteau, the curators collected used and borrowed mannequin parts to create a surrealist environment that showcases the jewelry in a way that visitors will remember.

The co-curators each bring a unique perspective on Green Design — Dhein is a jewelry designer who has been using recycled materials for over 10 years, as well as an educator at the forefront of the Green Jewelry Movement. Koch, an eco designer trained in France and the USA, pushes the envelope of green industrial design and packaging. For over a year, the pair has worked together on green jewelry.

When they happened upon a lot of small, discarded circuit boards, they agreed that these materials would be the perfect starting point to create jewelry that raises awareness about the problems in the mining industry, as well as with e-waste and over-consumption.

With the idea of the exhibition in mind, the curators invited members of Metal Arts Critique Collective, a group of metal artists that Dhein co-founded eleven years ago, to create wearable pieces from small, discarded circuit boards. Participating artists were also asked to write about and photograph their process. Koch complied the results into a book, which is part of the exhibition, and demonstrates that all of the artists found inspiration in the materials and felt good about creating something beautiful from trash.
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~ Kelp Necklace, 2008, by Shana Astrachan, re-purposed circuit boards, sterling silver, Photo Credit: Christine Dhein
~ Geek Bling, 2008, by Kelly Nedderman, re-purposed circuit boards, brass, Photo Credit: Christine Dhein
~ 21st Century Breastplate, 2008, by Christine Dhein, re-purposed circuit boards, brass, rubber, Photo Credit: Christine Dhein
~ Link Necklace, 2008, by Aimee Golant, re-purposed circuit boards, sterling silver, Photo Credit: Christine Dhein

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