The Pro Bono Jeweler
The Big Idea:
Jeweler Gabriel Craig takes his studio out to the streets, where he makes jewelery as performance art… and then gives the pieces away.
Craig started a similar project, “The Collegiate Jeweler,” as a college student back in 2007. In an interview with American Craft Magazine, Craig explained the purpose and spirit of the project:
“My objective was simply to share handmade jewelry with those who may not ordinarily encounter it. I wanted the format of the performances to reflect my educational and altruistic goals and so I gave away silver rings that I made on the spot—over 30 in the first few weeks. By giving away jewelry I was able to focus on its cultural value rather than its commercial value. The criterion for receiving a ring was participation. Those who seemed interested got to take home some of the excitement…. In the studio I am just a jeweler, but on the street I am a magician.”
Craig continued by explaining how jewelry might just be a meaningful vehicle for communication and community building:
“Approaching jewelry as a theme, I found that the opportunity for communication and change grew exponentially. Despite how pervasive jewelry is in our culture, as a maker I spend a lot of time in the studio by myself, complacent in the isolation and insular world built around studio jewelry. With The Collegiate Jeweler performances, I had finally found a direct way to share what I do with people. That was how it started—wanting to share and be inclusive.”
What do you make that you could give away? Whether it’s a poem, a small ceramic pot, a photo, postcard, flower from your garden, or a homemade candle, you can adapt Gabriel Craig’s pro bono art project wherever you live. Remember: the key is not just to give something away, but to create a moment where you and your public can connect, even if for a few brief moments.
For More Information:
Visit Gabriel Craig’s website.
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