Greensmith seeks to showcase the finest Queensland and Californian eco-design in jewelry and metal-smithing. Sixteen Queensland jewelers and nine Californian jewelers are taking part in the exhibition, reflecting growing awareness about the many social and environmental consequences caused by mainstream jewelry production. In recent years, groups such as Ethical Metalsmiths, Fair Jewelry Action and various individual jewelers have sought to promote more ethical principles in regards to jewelry production.
An introduction to the show may be to ask oneself:
What am I wearing at this moment?
Do I know how it was made, and where it was made?
Will I wear it for longer than one fashion season?
These are just some of the questions that Brisbane-born jeweler Clare Poppi started to ask, along with an increasing groundswell of local and international jewelers and consumers. As highlighted by Emily Lush in her accompanying essay, “in contrast to fashion, where organic materials and the push for labor standards are putting the limelight on ethical manufacture like never before, progress in the mainstream jewelry industry has been slow.”
Unable to find alternatives to traditional jewelry making processes, Clare used her Lord Mayor’s Emerging Artist Fellowship from Brisbane City Council to travel to San Francisco, where she set about undertaking a mentor-ship with sustainable, US based jeweler Christine Dhein. Through this learning process, Clare developed the idea of an exhibition that explores the notion of ecological savvy and socially ethical jewelry, and pitched her concept to artisan. Inspired by this unconventional approach to jewelry making and its validity in today’s social and environmental landscape, we at Abrams Claghorn Gallery embraced the concept- and were very keen to see what would eventuate.
The exhibition evolved to build on existing connections between Queensland and Californian jewelers, and the many shared characteristics between both states. The jewelers’ brief was open to interpretation, and the outcome was truly astonishing. Over 50 pieces were selected; spanning every imaginable shape, form, material and technique.
Upon completion, Greensmith represents a superb collection of contemporary works that challenges our conventional views on jewelry, and celebrates the brilliance and ingenuity of these great Queensland and Californian artisans.
The Abrams Claghorn Gallery extends it’s thanks to our partner in this project, the Metal Arts Guild (MAG) in San Francisco- and in particular, MAG President Emiko Oye, for coordinating the Californian artists and artisan gallery in Queensland, which ultimately coordinated the shipping of Australian art work to Albany, California. Our thanks also go to Christine Dhein in San Francisco, for selecting works in partnership with the artisans. From abroad, we would also like to acknowledge the Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group Queensland (JMGQ) for promoting the exhibition call-out, and attracting the wonderful Queensland jewelers participating in the Greensmith exhibition!