Answers from Rebecca Lynn-Hewitt

Ethical Metalsmith Emerging Artist, 2016

hewitt

What events led to you becoming a metalsmith?

I’ve always loved working with my hands and making objects. In my sophomore year at Peck School of the Arts, I took my first metalsmithing class and fell in love with the challenges metalsmithing gave me to solve. I love that I’m able to study metalsmithing everyday and will never run out of things to learn!

What is the tool you love the most? If you could have one tool, that you don’t have already, what would it be?

I appreciate all of my tools, but my favorites are my saw frame and calipers.

Right now I work out of a small home studio and a community studio space. I love the balance of having a personal space and tools, partnered with a communal studio space where I can access tools that I don’t need on a regular basis/are expensive. Although I’d love to personally own some larger equipment, it’s not really necessary right now…I’d love to have a really solid wooden stump or beam.

Rebecca Lynn Hewitt | To Preserve

Who are some of the artists you admire and why?

I really admire Natalie Jeremijenko’s work because of the way she seamlessly connects community, science and art. I also admire Iris Eichenberg’s work and appreciate her understanding and use of materials.

After receiving the EM award, how have you considered ethical practice?

Receiving the award was such a great honor. It really challenged me to consider ways in which my practice can improve. It’s made me more aware of conversations surrounding trying to achieve a more ethical practice and how overwhelming it can feel. I’ve been working with the Ethical Metalsmith’s Student Committee to start an Instagram to encourage conversation around these topics.

What is the significance of wearables in your work?

Wearable work is important in my practice because it allows challenging and overwhelming topics to be more accessible and conversational through the body.

Rebecca Lynn Hewitt | Plant

 

How do you select your materials?

I research what exists, how it’s made, and how to safely use it. Selecting materials just takes time. It’s definitely something that can ALWAYS be improved on.

 

What do you listen to while you work?

It really depends on what part of a project I’m on. Sometimes I really enjoy the sounds of the studio. Sometimes I listen to podcasts – my favorites are Call Your Girlfriend and An Organic Conversation.

What are you reading right now?

I’m currently reading Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit.

Rebecca Lynn Hewitt | Threatened

Dream job?

My practice!

What’s next for Rebecca Lynn Hewitt?

I’m starting a residency at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in March! I’m really excited to be making around and hopefully with my community. I’m also looking forward to collaborating with other artists this year!

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So Fresh + So Clean 2016

Ethical Metalsmiths and EM Student Committee proudly present:

3rd Annual Ethical Metalsmiths International Student Exhibition and Emerging Artist Award, So Fresh + So Clean 2016

Featuring:

Rebecca Hewitt | Protect

Emerging Artist Award
Rebecca Lynn Hewitt
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA
Prize: $1000, Sponsor – Richline Group

 

Clare Poppi | Camille (147 Grams, 3 Carats Series)

Juror’s Choice Award
Clare Poppi
Griffin College of Art, Australia
Prize: $500, Sponsor – Rio Grande

Emily Culver | Brush Necklace Set

Committee’s Choice Award
Emily Culver
Cranbrook Academy of Art, USA
Prize: $250, Sponsor – No Dirty Gold

Click Here to see the full 2016 Ethical Metalsmiths International Student Exhibition!

Answers from Soohye Park

Ethical Metalsmiths Emerging Artist, 2015

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Ethical Metalsmith Student Committee (EMSC): What events lead to you becoming a metalsmith?

Soohye Park (SP): I’ve loved making things by hand since I was little. I previously studied Textiles, because I loved the warm sensitivity in it. After encountering a metal sculpture show by chance, I realized metal could be warm like textiles, depending on how the artist treats it and that moment led me to become a metalsmith.

Soohye Park | Memori Ephmera

Memori Ephmera
Second Hand Rings, Adjustable Cord

EMSC: What is the tool you love the most? If you could  have one tool, that you don’t have already, what would it be?

SP: It is hard to choose one specific tool. I love all my worn out tools that I have been using. One thing immediately comes to mind is my bench pin with lots of file marks and holes that shows signs of use.

It might sound absurd, but this is something that many people in this field might have dreamed of. I wish I had one more hand that could resist heat, so that I could hold a piece with my third hand while I’m soldering.

Soohye Park | Memori Ephmera 5

Memori Ephmera 5
Second Hand Jewelry

EMSC: Who are some of the artists you admire and why?

SP: There are lots of jewelry artists who I admire, such as Iris Bodemer, whose work has a spontaneous quality in interesting forms and unusual approaches to creation; Iris Ichenberg, whose work raises sensitivity; and Dorothea Pruhl, whose work is primitive and humble, yet spiritual.

In terms of art in general, I admire Doris Salsedo’s mute yet reverberant work, which touches me so much, even before I knew the traumatic history of Colombia, the main influence on her work. I admire the empathetic power in her work itself beyond words; it comes from the heart and that is the thing that I’d like to achieve in my work.

Soohye Park | Memori Ephmera 5

Memori Ephmera 5
Second Hand Jewelry

EMSC: After receiving the EM award, how have you considered ethical practice?

SP: I became more aware of ethical practices in many aspects of my daily life, such as minimizing water and energy use and choosing less toxic chemicals. These are actually very simple yet fundamental practices. I’m growing some air purification plants in my home and studio. I’m unsure of how well they function, but the greenery is great. It makes me feel good and reminds me more of ethical practices. In my studio, I began to collect not only silver scraps, but also non-precious metal scraps, and I separate them for easy recycling. Also, I try to create things out of the scraps and during the process, I often find unexpected new possibilities and forms.

Soohye Park | Untitled Ring

Untitled Ring
Sterling Silver

Also, even though I don’t use many other materials besides metal, mostly recycled silver, I became aware of the importance of acquiring the right information and being educated about material resources.

EMSC: What is the significance of wearables in your work?

SP: I don’t take much account of wearables in my current body of work. Rather, I have previously considered the heaviness of work is important to convey the idea of burden. (Now I think the physical weight doesn’t imply emotional weight.)

I appreciate one of my colleagues’ comments on the teardrop-shaped pendant, made with lots of second-hand rings: “It is very uncomfortable to put it on my body, not because of its fit, but because of the fact that I’m holding so many rings once belonged to others, the unknown memories, the embodied emotions.”

EMSC: How do you select your materials?

SP: I take in ordinary objects and materials and try to find meanings and emotional values in them that might be understood and shared socially and/or universally. I started paying attention to discarded jewelry as material for my current body of work for those reasons. Also, it was quite a visceral response to them. The jewelry displayed at a vintage shop or estate sale, and piled on a scale, evokes feelings of poignancy and sympathy. Although the memories associated with the jewelry might be different and unknown, they convey universal symbols and emotional values that could arouse empathy in others. Also, I mostly use rings because I consider that they have more of the characteristics of their owners, and more symbolic associations within people’s relationships than any other form of jewelry.

Soohye Park | Lump

Lump
Second Hand Silver Rings, Adjustable Cord

EMSC: What’s next for Soohye Park?

SP: I currently work in my studio near my home, which is a small space with a bench, a table and a few tools and machines. After graduate school, it was a little difficult to adjust to the new circumstances. But, now I’ve gotten better and feel comfortable working in my studio alone. My working speed is slow and many of the pieces that I explore go to scraps, but I know that is my way of working in my studio. I just try not to be impatient.

My next project is developing my current body of work, investigating new materials and hopefully gaining more recognition in my work.

EMSC: What do you listen to while you work?

SP: It depends on what I’m working on. However, when I work on my current body of work, “Memory Ephemera”, I mostly listen to New Age music or emotional music that helps me be sentimental and contemplative.

Soohye Park | Lump

Lump
Second Hand Silver Rings, Adjustable Cord

 

EMSC: What are you reading right now?

SP: Contemporary Art and Memory by Joan Gibbons

EMSC: Dream job?

SP: Full time Artist + Foster for abandoned dogs

 

See more of Soohye Park’s work in the Emerging Artist Gallery

New Work and Answers from Joshua Kosker

Ethical Metalsmiths Emerging Artist, 2014

Joshua Kosker

Ethical Metalsmith Student Committee (EMSC): What was the catalyst to your decision to become a metalsmith?

Joshua Kosker (JK): I took an intro metalsmithing class during my sophomore year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and immediately expressed an affinity for working with metal – it felt really intuitive. I initially responded to the malleability of the material, however, my ability to control the material in new ways is an ongoing dialogue that fuels my desire to continue exploring the field.

EMSC: What is the tool you love the most?If you could have one tool, that you don’t have already, what would it be?

Joshua Kosker |Rubber Sole

Rubber Sole (brooch)
Rubber shoe sole, sterling silver, steel, silk thread, graphite, 23k gold-crusted crud
5.5 x 5 x 0.75 cm

 

JK:  That is a tough question to answer. I like torches. Hammers, saws and drills are great, too. But, I love my hands. Since I currently don’t own a torch, I’m looking to purchase a Swiss torch in the near future. It’s a versatile tool that can accommodate a lot of applications, including my precision and interest in both large scale and small scale soldering.

 

Joshua Kosker |Rubber Sole detail

Rubber Sole (brooch) detail
Rubber shoe sole, sterling silver, steel, silk thread, graphite, 23k gold-crusted crud
5.5 x 5 x 0.75 cm

EMSC: After receiving the EM award, how have you considered ethical practice?

JK: I try to recycle and preserve the everyday, both in my studio practice and the time spent in between. I am mindful of the expressive potentials for materials that I encounter through my day-to-day routines beyond the studio setting. I don’t discount the communicative abilities of any material, especially byproducts of daily consumption – organic and artificial. I am intent on creating a globally resonant vocabulary by preserving and re-presenting more widespread ephemeral matters in my studio work.

EMSC: What is the significance of wearables in your work?

Joshua Kosker |Bottom Feeder

Bottom Feeder (brooch)
Rubber sole, brass, copper, steel, thread, graphite, 23k gold
10.8 x 7.8 x 3.7 cm (63 cm chain)

JK: I am interested in ideas of transition in relation to the utility and lifecycle of wear-ables. The body is important in my work, both as a vehicle for altering the material and as a site for display. Initially transformed through daily use, the materials I am currently exploring convey a physical, intimate relationship between owner and object. By reinterpreting the work as jewelry, the materials lose their original function, but not the associations made manifest in their transformed wear-able state. For the wearer, I hope to re-embody a sensual experience, a recollection, about everyday moments often overlooked.

EMSC: How do you select your materials?

Joshua Kosker |Bottom Feeder

Bottom Feeder (brooch) detail
Rubber sole, brass, copper, steel, thread, graphite, 23k gold
10.8 x 7.8 x 3.7 cm (63 cm chain)

JK: I often select materials while in the shower or walking around in obscure places. At the moment, however, I am contemplating the possibilities of an orange peel … from the tangelo I just ate. I collect materials that break down, wear out, and are otherwise discarded – often in the form of detritus encountered and manipulated in everyday activities. Soap, worn shoe soles, the peels – these materials are naturally evocative, and embody suggestive visual and tactile information. I often pause to study these things for their de-formal qualities, surfaces and textures. I scatter this stuff throughout my studio – rearranging piles of materials and playing around with compositions. Sometimes all it takes, however, is a bit of de-composition to make a finished piece or a new discovery.

Joshua Kosker | [re]embody

[re]embody (brooch)
Soap, copper, steel, sterling silver
8.8 x 5 x 1.4 cm

EMSC: What’s next for Joshua Kosker?

JK: I am applying for several residencies, fellowships and teaching positions in the coming months, while developing my graduate thesis exhibition and instructing ART 1120 – Media Studio: Space and Time. Following commencement in May, I want to continue to make my work in whatever capacity possible. A goal is to hold a professor position at an academic institution while continuing to develop and exhibit my work. At the end of the day, I want to fix up a house in the mountains, build a personal studio, and write music on the side.

 

EMSC: What do you listen to while you work?

JK: I prefer listening to music … preferably loud. Right now I’m listening to M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. The sound of a rainstorm now and again would be nice, though.

Joshua Kosker | [re]embody detail

[re]embody (brooch) detail
Soap, copper, steel, sterling silver
8.8 x 5 x 1.4 cm

EMSC: What are you reading right now?

JK: The Poetics of Space and Thinking Through Craft

EMSC: Favorite movie?

JK: Shawshank Redemption

EMSC: Dream job?

JK: Architect

EMSC: Preferred pet?

JK: I don’t usually like cats, but if I had to pick any animal to have as a pet, I would want my brother’s cat, Pickle.

See more of Joshua Kosker’s work in the Emerging Artist Gallery

So Fresh + So Clean: Celebration

Opening celebration for So Fresh + So Clean: Ethical Metalsmiths’ Annual International Juried Digital Student Exhibition and Emerging Artist Award

So Fresh + So Clean Online Exhibition

Celebrate with us! The opening reception will digitally showcase the online exhibition, and the emerging artist recipients.

When: October 3rd 5-7pm

Where: The Depot, 2nd floor
Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts
814 W. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23284

Why: To launch the international online exhibition and emerging artist competition and acknowledge the ethical jewelry movement in universities around the world that started in Richmond, VA at Virginia Commonwealth University.

We are excited to present to you student and recently graduated artists who are helping us start this global movement. So Fresh + So clean represents artists from five countries on four different continents. These artists are buying materials locally, finding ethically sourced materials, reconsidering their chemical consumption and disposal, exploring fabrication methods, giving life to used or discarded materials, using green packaging materials, and joining like minded community groups all while creating work rich in content and that advances contemporary metalsmithing.

As So Fresh + So Clean spreads to communities across the world remember it is a catalyst to a longer even richer dialogue. We hope that as So Fresh + So Clean and Emerging Artist awards gain momentum we will continue to explore and redefine ethical practice. Join the conversation that will promote awareness and changes that will have lasting effects in shared and personal studio spaces around the world.

“Students are innovators, always trying new things, managing fears and failure – prerequisites for learning – and exposing their ideas to critique. It is their duty to be “So Fresh”. Ethical Metalsmiths is inspired by the students and recent graduates located around the world that took the risk and shared their work and ideas for public exhibition. The statements, a mandatory aspect of the application process, include a range of “So Clean” approaches that reveal the personal values informing best practices.” – Christina Miller, EM Executive Director

Contact:

Lucy Derickson, Chair EM Students emstudentcommittee@gmail.com
Susie Ganch, Jewelry and Metalsmithing Area Head, VCU and EM Board and Director of Radical Jewelry Makeover seganch@vcu.edu

Links

So Fresh + So Clean Online Exhibition
EMStudents.org
EthicalMetalsmiths.org

A message from Ethical Metalsmiths Executive Director Christina Miller

So Fresh + So Clean, Ethical Metalsmiths’ first annual student exhibition, and Emerging Artist Award mark a new era for our community. EM is grateful for the tireless work of the volunteer student committee and thankful for all the students that became members and submitted work for the exhibition this year. Thank you also to our sponsors of So Fresh + So Clean.

Students are innovators, always trying new things, managing fears and failure – prerequisites for learning – and exposing their ideas to critique. It is their duty to be “So Fresh”. Ethical Metalsmiths is inspired by the students and recent graduates located around the world that took the risk and shared their work and ideas for public exhibition. The statements, a mandatory aspect of the application process, include a range of “So Clean” approaches that reveal the personal values informing best practices.

Ethical Metalsmiths believe that independent jewelers and artists are the pioneers of the ethical jewelry movement. If made from a point of awareness of mining issues and respect for people and the planet jewelry and metalsmithed objects can generate good and decrease harm in the world. By working together and sharing ideas about responsibility, environmental protections and human rights, we will continue to develop innovative solutions for the future.

Both the So Fresh + So Clean exhibition and the Emerging Artist Award act as transparent benchmarks for the ethical jewelry and metalsmithing movement. The pieces and statements inspire an optimism for the future as well as challenge what has already been accomplished. Benchmark measurements necessitate re-evaluation and inquiry. Some questions Ethical Metalsmiths is asking include whether or not students have enough opportunities to contribute their ideas to the movement and whether or not the purveyors of the movement are doing enough to educate students. The goal: responsibility is the norm.

Ethical Metalsmiths is committed to student makers – their ideas and their futures (our future). The works and statements of So Fresh + So Clean engage, inspire curiosity and stimulate a constant re-evaluation of our habits and beliefs.

Christina Miller, Executive Director
Ethical Metalsmiths 

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