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NMSU students craft green jewelry for fundraiser

Metalsmithing and jewelry students at New Mexico State University have crafted one-of-a-kind fashion accessories in a fundraiser designed to help save the environment while supporting budding artists. The artist's work will be sold Sept. 19, at retailer Eileen Fisher in Seattle, Wash., and part of the proceeds will help support the NMSU art department.


Necklace made from fabric adorns a woman's neck
A necklace made from repurposed fabric adorns a woman's neck. NMSU art student Hailey Garner crafted the piece for the Green Eileen Seattle Chop Challenge. (Photo by Motoko Furuhashi)
Women holding a crochet needle and yarn
Maddison Rodriguez, senior studying metalsmithing and jewelry, crochets using materials from a second-hand sweater. A 30-foot chain and ring were among the pieces she made for the Green Eileen Seattle Chop Challenge fundraiser. (Photo by Tonya Suther)
Man sitting at workbench holding tools and cloth
Aaron Stafford, senior studying metalsmithing and jewelry, uses knitted materials, tie-dyed cotton and paint to make brooches for the Green Eileen Seattle Chop Challenge. (Photo by Tonya Suther)

"It's important for my students to participate in this challenge because it gives them a broader idea for what's outside of Las Cruces," said Motoko Furuhashi, assistant professor of art in the College of Arts and Sciences. "A lot of ideas for art are limited in this area, so the chop challenge is one of the ways students get new ideas that extend from an educational setting."

Eleven NMSU students are participating in the Green Eileen Seattle Chop Challenge, a fundraising activity aimed at stimulating conversation about repurposed clothing. The way it works is fashion designer Eileen Fisher supplies fabrics from her second-hand clothing store. Using the materials, the artists create up to five innovative items each, which are then shipped back for an in-store auction. Participants receive 70 percent of their sales and the remaining 30 percent goes to help support Coyote Central.

Coyote Central is a nonprofit art school for adolescents in Seattle. According to their website, the program aims to build skills and creativity through hands-on workshops. For more information visit their website at http://www.coyotecentral.org/.

The students' pieces include necklaces, earrings and brooches. They've used organic materials such as cotton, wool and silk in their creations.

"It is important for the jewelry students to be introduced to the alternative materials because nowadays contemporary jewelry is not longer just the metals," Furuhashi said. "It goes beyond the theory. It's concept and materials."

The repurposed fashion accessories were recently shipped to Seattle for the sale. The proceeds will help renovate art department studios as well as purchase materials and equipment, Furuhashi said.

To learn more about the Green Eileen Seattle Chop Challenge, find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GreenEileenShop/app_200103733347528.

For more information contact Furuhashi at motoko@nmsu.edu.