Recycled Wood and Wire Necklace Artist Statement
The object I chose for my semester explorations in Seminar and Studio was my notepad. I made different pieces about literacy, self expression, and language based on this notepad. For the finals in both of the classes I wanted to focus on the sustainability of the paper industry. For seminar that concept got pushed and pulled until I wrote the final draft about the importance of sustainable schools in society. For studio I focused more on the sustainability of recycling and reusing materials, specifically in the fashion industry. I decided to make a neck piece from recycled materials to show that material use and disposal is important when creating anything. Normally I focus on ideas for a project more than I think of the materials I will use. However after completing this paper exploration, materials are one of the first things I think about when making something. What inspired me to make this neck piece was the fact that I had never made jewelry out of wood and I had never given a thought to the sustainability of my artwork. I wanted to create a piece that had a cool appearance and was made resourcefully. I wanted this piece to encourage people that innovation can coincide with sustainability. That was one of the counter arguments to sustainability that I wrote about in my essay for Seminar. People should care about this neck piece because it is a reflection of the actions we need to take to adapt to our changing planet. This can be done by being more resourceful and conscious of where our materials come from and how we dispose of them. Art can be used to inform people of what’s happening to the earth and how an individuals actions make a difference.
The wood pieces were the scraps/waste from another project. I sanded them so that every surface was smooth and I coated them with an all natural beeswax and orange sealer. I then put it together with metal wire. What’s unique about the piece is that it was made from resourceful materials, the way in which I treated the materials was not harmful to the environment, and the finished product can be recycled.
Not only am I happy with the finished product, but I am happy with the reactions I got from my classmates after I presented it. It got them thinking about sustainability and what it really means. I asked if they would actually wear it and some of them said they would. One girl even took a selfie in it. Overall, the feedback was really positive and I am inspired to create a line of jewelry that is similar to this, maybe even a clothing piece or line. I hope this piece inspired my classmates to think about the sustainability of their work and to be more conscious of their materials use and disposal methods. I am also inspired to reuse this piece for another project.
The item I chose was my notepad.
The subjects I addressed with my neck piece was resource circulation, sustainability, and recycling. I used a band saw, sand paper, a drill, beeswax sealant, plywood, and two different sized wires. My materials were wood and wire.
I got inspiration from my fellow artist Anthony Anderson. I met Anthony the summer before I moved to New York. My original idea was to create a shoulder piece that extended out beyond my shoulders and looped around my neck. I was inspired by Anthony’s pink and gold armor piece called “Bullshit Fight.”
“Making school systems more sustainable and environmentally conscious improves society.”
Bridge 3 Link
This was an exercise we did in Seminar after we did our annotated bibliography. It was supposed to help us with writing our final paper. Although my paper was headed in a different direction at the time, I did use some of the concepts I wrote about on those cards in my final.
I was working on a wood project for another class when I noticed that the scraps were interesting shapes. For seminar and studio, I had chosen a notepad to focus my art and writing explorations. I was pursuing the sustainability of paper and I thought that using the scrap wood would go along perfectly with my studio final. Not only did reusing the scrap address the sustainable aspect of reusing resources, but it would also reference the paper and wood industry. Using this scrap wood for another project was an example of a key point I stressed in my seminar essay. Because of the changing climate and diminishing natural resources, we have to stop thinking of recycling and reuse as an afterthought. We need to develop ideas, machines, and new technologies based on their reusability. This project did just that. I wondered how I could reuse scrap to make something new. As a result, I made a neckpiece made from scrap wood and wire.
First I gathered scrap pieces of wood from a previous project. I then drilled a hole at the widest point in each piece and sanded them so that all sides were smooth.
I coated each piece in two layers of a bees wax sealer.
The top left pile is uncoated chips, the top right is single coated chips, and the middle left pile is double coated pieces.
Next I fed a wire through the whole of one piece. I looped the wire around the piece so it wouldn’t slide off.
Then I stacked 9 to 10 chips on top of each other. I did this so they could move and twist around the wire in different directions.
I then cut wire and molded it around my neck. I made the top loop bigger than the bottom. I wrapped the extra wire on the top of the stacked chips around the top wire and used wire to attach the bottom of the stack to the bottom wire.
I’m pretty happy with the end result however it isn’t the most comfortable thing to wear. If I had more time I would have welded the metal pieces together so the finish would have been cleaner. Or I would have attached fabric to the area that touches the skin so that it could be more comfortable.