The Radical Jewellery Makeover is an international project breathing new life into unwanted, mismatched and broken jewellery. It invites members of the public to donate unwanted items of jewellery and these are used by professional and student jewellery makers to create new items, which are then displayed in an exhibition. Donors get vouchers, equivalent to the value of the jewellery they donated, to use against purchases from the exhibition.
The ethos of the project is to encourage crafters to think about how they source their materials, and to encourage the general population to think more carefully about the ethical aspects of their jewellery purchases.
Radical Jewellery Makeover is currently happening in Scotland! I recently donated some jewellery from my crafting stash, items that I haven't been able to use, but hopefully the professional jewellers will be able to create something with these items!
I was delighted then to be invited, along with all the other donors, as well as the participating makers, to an online event about the project, which happened a few days ago.
Kathleen Kennedy gave an overview of the project, outlining the elements of eco-consciousness and innovation that mark out the jewellery made as a result of the project. It's interesting that many of the items are made in such a way that they can be taken apart again when the wearer gets tired of them, then they can easily be refashioned into something else.
Three Scottish makers then spoke about their work:
Jo Pudelko runs the Central Scotland School of Jewellery in Dunblane, which highlights environmental best practice, material innovation, and low-impact alternatives, while respecting and sustaining traditional skills. Jo makes one off pieces of jewellery using found objects and material that she has collected over the years. Some of her thoughts about her ethos of crafting can be found in this article that she wrote for Craft Scotland.
Aubin Stewart has a passion for finding beauty in unexpected or discarded items. She uses materials such as plastics and leather offcuts in her jewellery.
Eleanor Symms is based in Edinburgh and uses a variety of scavanged items in her work, including sea worn plastics that she has picked up from local beaches or items found in the ash lagoons at Musselburgh. You can read her sustainability statement here.
Some Resources for Environmental Crafts
Here are some resources, put together from recommendations made during the online event and picked up from Eleanor Symm's website:
Precious Plastic Movement - dedicated to creative plastic recycling.