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Pop-up books

This giant pop-up book and the interactive electronic pop-up book were created by Jie Qi, who is a Graduate Student of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, in the High-Low Tech group.

I was really drawn to her work because of my love of origami and paper crafts. Inside her giant book there are origami flowers that open and close as if they are breathing. It's interesting to see the function of a traditional art form reinvented with electronics. 

She is also re-imagining the way that the pop-up book functions by adding the electrical components, but she kept with such a traditional cover and format for the book. I think that's a missed opportunity for her to really utilize or re-invision the book format. I'd love to see her collaborate with paper artists Andrea Dezsö or Beatrice Coron.

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Today I presented the Repurposed project to my Into to Metals students. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you. Who is your favorite jeweler that is working with repurposed materials?

This brooch is by Christiane Köhne and is made of artificial flowers and 18k gold.

One aspect of the project, that they will be doing, is considering surface treatment. I thought this group of rings by Marlene True was a great example. By using the same format for each ring she is riveting on tin that she has affected the surface in different ways. 

A necklace by Thea Tolsma using a bicycle inner tube.

And this ring by Maria Cristina Belluci made of resin, silver and colored pencils.

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Metal Mining

As I am gathering images for my Intro to Metals class’s next project – Repurposed, I am reminded of one of the reasons for having them do this project. One aspect is to raise the students’ awareness of the impact of metal and diamond mining. The students in my class are all non-art majors who may or may not continue to make jewelry after taking this class, but most of them will go on to be jewelry consumers. So, as I arrange my presentation for the next project, I am slipping in bits of information on the impact of metal and diamond mining, and encouraging them to buy jewelry with recycled metal and conflict-free diamonds. Hopefully in the future they will consider these things when buying jewelry or describing their ideal engagement ring to their future spouse.

For my own work, I try to buy my metal from Hoover and Strong as much as possible since all of their metal is recycled. I also reconstitute old silverware and jewelry into sheet silver. 

Here is some information on metal mining from Ethical Metalsmiths:

-Metal mining is the most toxic polluter in the United States. It is responsible for 96 percent of arsenic emissions and 76 percent of lead emissions.

-Each year in the United States, mines generate an amount of waste equivalent in weight to nearly nine times the trash produced by all its cities and towns combined.
A single gold ring leaves in its wake at least 20 tons of mine waste.

-Accidents throughout the world involving cyanide-laced mine wastes have caused fish kills, severe water pollution, and soil contamination.

-Large-scale mining operations often devastate local economies, cause illnesses, destroy streams and water supplies, and lead to human rights abuses.

-Metal mining employs only .09 percent of the global workforce but consumes as much as 10 percent of world energy.

-Approximately half the gold produced worldwide has or will come from indigenous peoples' lands.

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NEA Budget Cuts

Right now Congress is meeting to discus budget cuts, and the proposal is calling for a $22.5 million cut in National Endowment for the Arts, as well as cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities. There is also the possibility that the Republican Study Committee will call to completely eliminate the NEA. Please contact you Senators and Representatives immediately. Let them know that the NEA and the NEH are important to you. It only takes ten mins to let the government know that you care about the arts.

These websites have tools that you can use to generate an email to your congress people:
Advocate for the Arts
National Humanities Alliance