Portfolios > Costume to Custom

These wearable artworks are created from donated jewelry, and are part of my ongoing Costume to Custom project. Prices of each piece vary according to the material of the components used and the time spent creating the object.

About Costume to Custom

Costume to Custom recycles weary, worn and unwanted jewelry into exciting and eclectic artworks. Repurposing unwanted jewelry keeps resources such as metal, stone, plastic and glass from the landfill. It also reduces the need to mine for new metals and stones and manufacture new materials that rely on petroleum for their production.

I began the Costume to Custom as a jewelry repurposing project in 2012. Inspired in part by Ethical Metalsmiths’ Radical Jewelry Makeover, I wanted a way to engage my metalsmithing students in a jewelry recycling project for the GR2012 Sustainability Festival, which was being held at Joliet Junior College. I put a call out the JJC community for jewelry donations. Amazingly, over 200 pieces of jewelry were donated! A group of approximately ten students and artists from the JJC community polished, restrung, and repaired donated items. We also created new pieces of jewelry from some of the donated material. All proceeds from the sold jewelry went towards creating a Costume to Custom Materials Scholarship for JJC Metalsmithing students. The Costume to Custom project still continues, as part of my own studio practice.

At its core, the jewelry I create for Costume to Custom relates strongly to my mixed media sculptures and collage paintings, in that it uses found materials and therefore explores issues relating to sustainability and the environment. These are issues that need to be thought about by jewelry producers and consumers alike.

I hope that by wearing these reimagined artworks, people will reconnect to the idea of wearing jewelry for personal adornment, not style trend. Jewelry does not have to be not just a fashion statement, disposable after one season. It can be worn to remind us of who we are, what we feel is important, and connect us to the people and world around us.

Please feel free to contact me about any questions you may have about the jewelry or the overall project, or to donate unwanted jewelry to the cause!