The biggest question that I ask myself in regards to sustainability both in my jewelry practice and my life is what I can do on a day to day basis that will make an impact. Recycling, using biodegradable chemicals, avoiding petroleum products, and keeping as much trash out of landfills as possible are a few small things. I was confronted with these questions while looking over my selection of material. I did not find much in my box that could be considered “precious.” Many donations that other participants received were valuable in material and would have probably lived another life regardless of whether they were unworn or unloved. My donations were unworn, unloved, and only a breath away from being tossed in the garbage. If the best thing I can do is to keep that much junk out of a landfill, I’m happy for the challenge.
I happened to start this current incarnation of RJM at the same time that I started a residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. I unpacked my studio, my materials, and my life in this new flat and sprawling city, famous for it’s oil wealth, leaving behind the Appalachian Mountains. I have come to think of the towering electrical pylons and the immense interstate overpasses as the recognizable land features here. With these images in mind I picked up the pieces of jewelry in the pile with the least amount of charm or personality- the ubiquitous plastic bangles- and started removing material.
First I carved the natural landscape that I left behind, then the manufactured one I was just getting used to. It seemed appropriate to use the bangles; I’ve thrown a half dozen of them away in my lifetime.
Caitie Sellers received her BFA in Craft/Material Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She spent the last ten years moving between Virginia, Guatemala, Montana, North Carolina, and Texas learning techniques and gathering inspiration for her artwork based on the urban landscape. Her work ranges from one of a kind small sculpture to limited production wearable jewelry and is exhibited internationally. Caitie was an Artist-in-Residence at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in 2014 and a recent co-director/resident artist at Clamp Light Artist Studios and Gallery in San Antonio, Texas. Recent exhibitions include “Placeholder,” a solo exhibition at the Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis, TN and “Shared Concerns” a traveling exhibition most recently shown at the Radiant Pavilion Contemporary Jewelry Festival in Melbourne, Australia. She maintains her studio in The Elevator Collective, a multidisciplinary artist studio she founded and manages in Richmond, VA.