Eye-catching project transforms trash to treasure

junk jewellery exhibition 2015

A unique collaborative project at the School of Jewellery will see over 600kg of old jewellery transformed into a series of amazing new pieces of art.

The project, titled JUNK: Rubbish to gold, has been co-created by University academic Professor Jivan Astfalck with the help of leading jewellers Laura Bradshaw-Heap and Rachel Darbourne and will see the old pieces turned into new jewellery for an eye-catching exhibition.

Between 9 and 13 November, all 600kg of jewellery will be situated in one pile in the foyer of the School of Jewellery, where alumni from the School of Jewellery, along with artists from Holland, Germany, Finland, Sweden and America will be working to turn each of these unloved pieces of jewellery into something new and usable. In total, there are ten charities which have got involved in the project. All of the pieces from the collection will be auctioned for charity online, members of the public will also be able to buy items from the collection.

Professor Astfaclk explains: "In today’s society when we think of re-using we imagine the recycling of packaging and unwanted consumer objects, we think of the up-cycling of consumer leftovers into a new and desirable luxury and consumable. Recycling sees conversion of one object to another, ideally from unwanted to desired, but mostly in terms of new consumer products ready to buy.

"The collection does include some good fashion pieces, but a lot of these items are cheaply manufactured and would damage the environment if committed to landfill because they contain a lot of glue and materials which can become toxic as they degrade."

The exhibition will be live-streamed in a dedicated exhibition room at the Midlands Art Centre (mac), the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, on the web-hub CRAFTHAUS and world-wide on YouTube. A second exhibition is in preparation for Munich in Germany and further invitations have been received from galleries in Vienna and Bangkok.

“We wanted to create something meaningful and not just pretty," Professor Astfalck added. "What really moves people are memories embedded in design, like remembering the jewellery your grandmother used to wear.

"I think there is a treasure hunter in all human beings, we are all magpies. When you discover something beautiful in what other people have discarded, there’s a certain magic in that. We are people that have worked in the industry for 30 years and still get excited by these pieces."

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