Open Call for So Fresh + So Clean 2021. Ethical Metalsmiths Online Student Exhibition

Open call  /  OnlineOnly  /  10 Feb 2021  -  15 May 2021
Published: 10.02.2021

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Call out for students and recent graduates to participate in the ONLINE exhibition "So Fresh + So Clean 2021" organized by Ethical Metalsmiths Students. The EM Student Committee wants participants to follow the 7th Generation Principles, asking important questions in regards to fresh and clean studio jewelry practices. It is a design challenge to spark questions, considerations, conversations and changes.
A Letter from 2021 EM Students Jury:
EM Students’ design challenge for this year’s "So Fresh + So Clean 2021" call for entry is a response to the urgency of sustainability. We want applicants to apply 7th Generation Principles, asking important questions in regards to fresh and clean studio jewelry practices.
The 7th Generation Principle is a philosophy that posits that decisions regarding the energy we use, as well as water and resources today should ensure sustainability for seven generations into the future. We consider this a design challenge because this philosophy when applied to practices at the bench, presents questions to be addressed and problems to be solved along the entire production cycle in jewelry making. For example, we hope applicants will ask themselves: Can I use rivets as an alternative to soldering so that many generations from now, in the recycling process, materials can be more easily disassembled by a jeweler like myself? As artists, it is our imperative to be leaders in the cultural production’s relationship to a sustainable future. The EM Student Committee hopes that such considerations are being made in your evolving commitment to sustainable metalsmithing practices. Addressing the future of our work and its eventual “disposal” is as much a part of the design process as the wearability of a jewelry object or the origin story of the materials we chose to make with. We look forward to viewing all of the inspired applications this spring!

/ VCU Chapter EM Student Chair, Sarah Parker, EM Students, VCU Chapter

A Note to Educators:
We hope that educators will consider adopting this Call for Entry in your courses this semester. To assist you with this we have created an assignment prompt that can be adopted and/or modified to fit within your curriculum and a supporting technical handout.

About EM Students:
Ethical Metalsmith Students (EM Students) is examining what it means to be an artist in the 21st century by curating an ONLINE student exhibition showcasing the most innovative jewelry and metalsmithing work made by students who acknowledge the need for responsibility in the field.
We understand a 100% sustainable practice is an unachievable goal. But, how close can we get? The first step is becoming aware of the ways your work impacts environmental and human health, hopefully affecting the creative decision making of artists. Becoming a member of Ethical Metalsmiths is one small step that places you within this essential dialogue, and your membership fee helps our non-profit organization to continue to make a difference!

Key dates:
Call for Entry deadline: 15 May 2021.
Notification of acceptance: 1 Jul 2021.
Exhibition Launch: 1 Sept 2021.
Emerging Artist Page launch: 1 Oct 2021.

  • $1,000 Ethical Metalsmiths Emerging Artist Award
    Chosen by this year's Guest Jurors and the current VCU Chapter of EM Students. Emerging artists will also receive an exposé on the EM Students website.
  • $500 Guest Juror’s Choice Award
    Chosen by 2021 Guest Jurors, Susie Ganch and Brian Fleetwood.
  • $250 EM Student’s Choice Award
    Chosen by the VCU chapter of EM Students.
  • NEW THIS YEAR:  All students, and schools represented by student submissions, will be offered complimentary tickets to a sustainability seminar with Ethical Metalsmith’s co-founder Christina Miller.

Application Requirements and Guidelines:
- Information required on Application Form:
  1. Student Status
    Example: Bachelor of Fine Arts 2022, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.
  2. Artist Statement: (200 words maximum)
    Explain the inspiration behind your work.
  3. Responsibility Statement: (200 words maximum)
    How has the work you have submitted for this year’s design challenge considered the 7th Generation Principle? How have you designed your work with consideration to the eventuality of the materials you have used from an environmental impact perspective?
  4. Image list
- Image Requirements:
  • This is an ONLINE exhibition, so professional-quality images are essential.
  • Image size: 2500 pixels shortest side, 300 resolution, .jpeg format
  • You may submit a maximum of 5 artworks, with 1 full, and 2 detail images per artwork.
  • You may include up to 3 images of in-progress or studio shots that highlight your efforts in creating a responsible practice.
  • Images must be labeled in the following way: lastname_title.jpg, lastname_title_detail.jpg, Lastname_studio1.jpg

Applicants must be a current student level member of Ethical Metalsmiths by the Call for Entry deadline.

Membership eligibility:
You are eligible for EM Student membership if you have enrolled in a Jewelry or Metalsmithing related course at a high school, college, craft school, or workshop during the current year of student membership, OR  if it has been less than 2 years since you graduated from a degree-granting program.
*For the 2021 exhibition, you must have graduated in 2019 or later to be eligible for student-level membership.

>> Click here to sign up and become an EM Student Member for $35.00.
>> Click here to check the complete information of this open call.

About the Jurors:
Susie Ganch
is an artist and educator living in Richmond, VA where she is Associate Professor/Metal Area Head for the Department of Craft/Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her MFA from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Part of her practice is Directing Radical Jewelry Makeover, an international jewelry mining and recycling project that continues to travel across the country and abroad. Recent solo exhibitions: Have a Nice Day, Quirk Gallery, Richmond, VA, How Soon is Now? MS State University, TIED, an ArtForum Critics’ pick, Visual Arts Center, Richmond, VA, Land and Sea, Sienna Patti Contemporary, Lenox, MA. Her work has been included nationally and internationally in museum exhibitions including: Smithsonian National Museum for Women in the Arts, MFA Boston, the Design Museum, London, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, Japan, Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI, Milwaukee Art Museum. Public/private collections include: LACMA, Los Angeles, CA, Asheville Art Museum, NC, MFA Boston, MA, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA, Metal Museum, Memphis, TN, Quirk Hotel, Richmond, VA, John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI, and Kohler Company, Kohler, WI. Grants include: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship, Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant, Theresa Pollack Fine Art Award, a VA Commission for the Arts Grant, and multiple VCU Faculty Research Grants.  She is represented by Sienna Patti Contemporary Gallery. You can find out more: and

Brian Fleetwood is an interdisciplinary and collaborative jewelry artist based in Northern New Mexico.  An enrolled citizen of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma, Brian was drawn to jewelry as a format due to its unique ability to mediate between a body and the space it occupies. Informed by traditional stories, a background in biology and ecology, and lived experience on the autism spectrum, Brian uses experimentation with material and process to create work that aspires to behave in similar ways to living things. This practice explores epistemologies, taxonomies, and the parallels between the way ideas and living organisms grow, spread, and evolve. Brian holds an MFA in Craft and Material Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and is currently an assistant professor in Studio Art at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Madison Manning (she/they) is an artist, educator, and scholar. Manning holds her BFA in Jewelry Design + Metalsmithing from Texas Tech University and her MFA in Sculpture + Performance from New Mexico State University. She has been in Artist-in-Residence at DE-CONSTRUKT [projekts] in Red Hook, Brooklyn and Arts, Letters & Numbers in Averill Park, New York. Her art work has been shown at Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Illinois as well as throughout Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, and New Mexico. Manning’s research has been both published and presented. Her article, Honest Queer Art Education in the South, has been published in Visual Arts Research Journal: Queering Art Education. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Media, Art & Text program focusing on the intersection of queer theory and craft materiality.

Sarah Parker is a Richmond-based artist and jeweler. She is the current EM Student VCU Chapter Chair and is in her second year of study at VCU in the Craft/Material Studies Department in Metals/Jewelry. She received her BFA in 2014 at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She is currently investigating “bootleg” jewelry and sculpture within installations as a way to generate access for others. The bootlegs are collaborative in a sense, similar to the way a bootleg tape is recorded from an original, but has by nature of being bootlegged, transformed into a new work, often with an apparent sincerity of haptic naivety, and the signature signs of crude reproduction processes. She sees herself as part of a lineage of American Narrative Jewelers and views the bootleg as the ultimate form of Americana. She has exhibited regionally and was a 5-year member and co-curator of a local, DIY exhibition space in Boone, North Carolina called Nth Degree Gallery and Studios.

You can find more information about the members of the VCU Chapter, the team responsible for the SO FRESH + SO CLEAN exhibition each year on their profile page.

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