Radical Jewelry Makeover was unbelievably fun. It's a good thing that I always love a challenge or two.
The week-long event seemed like it would give me plenty of time- Time, however, became the biggest challenge! I planned to create at LEAST five pieces, which ended up being only two. One of which was chosen for the exhibit and sale at the Wheelwright museum (YAY)!
Day one, Friday, began the assessment and sorting process. All the donations were individually assessed based on the materials. Of course there was tons of costume jewelry- some beautiful and some completely CRAZY but fun pieces. Many people also donated precious metals, including sterling silver and gold. This was exciting as much of it could be melted down to create completely new pieces. Even with tons of help, the sorting process didn't end until 8:30 PM! There were SO MANY donations! THANK YOU, SANTA FE!
The jewelry was sorted based on categories such as, "looks like silver", "animals", "natural beads", etc. Sorting was fun until I was sorting for MANY hours. I swear I could see beads behind my eyelids as I was falling asleep that night!
Saturday was the kick-off symposium, which consisted of presentations by Christina and Susie (RJM, ethical metalsmiths), as well as several fantastic jewelers, jewelry teachers, and jewelry students from New Mexico. I learned a great deal about the mining of precious materials, as well as ethical mining improvements and fair trade gemstones. What a plethora of information!
Sunday was exciting- I got to choose the materials that I would use to make my pieces. The categories of donations were separated into stations. We split into groups of three and had 5 minutes to choose our items before switching to the next station. Here is a picture of my loot...
The only possible way for me to see what I ACTUALLY had, was to disassemble it and organize it.
So, then began the process of creating my pieces. Challenge number two.
I wasn't used to dealing with base metals.
They are much harder and less forgiving, causing me to break two drill bits, one center punch, 3 saw blades (one went into my finger), and I ALMOST broke my dremel tool.
There were many ideas I had that just never worked out, which made me a little sad.
My first project was seemingly simple. I decided to take a watch apart to use the frame as a sort of bezel.
Totally unexpected, drilling through the watch to make a hole for the earring sent a tiny watch gear flying across the room like a ninja throwing star.
A bit scary.
This is what I ended up with... Simple? Yes. Easy? No.
My second piece went a bit more smoothly.
I had a two-piece cuff bracelet that I sawed in half, and rolled in a rolling mill.
The mill turned the finish from a bright silver to a brushed tone, which looked beautiful.
Also included in this piece is a a piece of a chandelier earring, a pave crystal pendant, pieces to a brain-teaser game, a crystal post earring, a bezel from a ring, and a random crystal.
I attached the pieces with wire, as a main function of the piece is to be able to disassemble it easily if it would ever go through a process like this again.
I think it turned out pretty darn nice.
This is the piece that was chosen for the Wheelwright Museum exhibit and sale. It was sold within 30 minutes of the opening event!
All-in-all the event was a huge success. I had the great opportunity to do something good for the planet and meet lots of great people.
It was an amazing feeling to turn something unwanted into something beautiful, and see it SOLD at the exhibit.
I was asked by the filming crew to say three words that I felt described RJM.
1. "Important" - I feel that increasing awareness of mining processes and alternate methods of obtaining precious materials is crucial to the future of jewelry, as well as the future of the planet.
2. "Difficult" - LOTS of challenges to overcome when working with new materials and the pressure of completing projects in a weeks time.
3. "Fun" - Definitely FUN! Who doesn't want to make jewelry around lots of other people who share such a similar passion? Everyone created amazing pieces and I am honored to be a part of such an awesome group of jewelers!
LOVE YOU GUYS! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!