If you happened to be out on First Friday, you might have caught a glimpse of or even watched the film, “Radical Jewelry Makeover: a traveling community mining and recycling project” at Binn’s Park.
This 10-minute film was a project that was created by Christina Miller, Assistant Professor of Art at Millersville University and Susie Ganch, Assistant Professor of Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.
However, the filmmakers, writers, directors, producers and editors of the filml are Sarah Zentz, a Millersville Alumni and Dana Richardson an alumni at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. The film was shown on First Friday from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on a continuous loop.
Zentz and Richardson met at a class they took together with Professor Miller and bonded over their common interest of jewelry making along with their passion for educating people about how the environment plays a role in that process.
Coming together for one cause, Professor Miller, Professor Ganch, Zentz and Richardson all collaborated their ideas to raise awareness of the harms of mining and put together this short film.
“The purpose of this film is to promote the project and to educate people of where their jewelry comes from,” said Professor Miller.
Richardson also said they not only want people to be aware of their project, but also wanted the aspects of community, material awareness of art making and their connection to the environment be clear to others as well.
Radical Jewelry Makeover or RJM as a project of Ethical Metalsmiths, a non-profit organization is encouraging people to reuse what they already have instead of buying new jewelry that has contributed to tons of toxic waste.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Hardrock mining is the nation’s most toxic industry and seventy-six tons of mine wastes are generated in the extraction of one ounce of gold.
This is damaging our environment at a very high level and RJM is bringing awareness by asking people to reuse and recycle.
“We just touched the surface of the detrimental effects of mining from the lands.
“It’s devastating and shocking to realize the impact it has and every material that is used in jewelry comes from a mine,” said Richardson.
As independent artists, Richardson and Zentz are traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast, from South America to Europe in search of how they can bring awareness to the detrimental effects of using our earth and environment recklessly.
“Our purpose is not just to be aware of the negative impact but also to propose the positive solutions,” said Richardson.
They also plan on documenting people’s relationship to art and how it relates to the earth.
Zentz said that the documentary, “Our Land Our Life” was influential to them and encourages everyone to watch it.
“This documentary really uncovers the topic in a personal way,” she said.
A common theme among the jewelry donors in the film was that they all wanted to give life to things that are discarded.
Turning unused, unwanted, excess jewelry back into production is their goal. Nancy Zimler, a donor who appeared on the film said as a little girl she she would watch her mother get ready to go out with her father and watched her put on jewelry.
She said the beauty of them fascinated her as a child and has since come to possess them. “I donated them to make something fun out of them,” she said.
Zimler still has the essence of the same pieces of jewelry, but now its her own.
“Radical Jewelry Makeover” will be shown in the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City on September 12 for their “Jewelry Study Day.”
It will be featured from noon to 1 p.m. The group is excited about this opportunity to present their project and bring more awareness to their cause.
For more information on RJM visit: radicaljewelrymakeover.blogspot.com or ethicalmetalsmith.org