Food waste as sustainable luxury: Rachael Colley’s award-winning jewellery

ITAMI posterWe are delighted to announce that Rachael Colley, senior lecturer in jewellery and metalwork at Sheffield Hallam University, was recently awarded the grand prize at the 2019 ITAMI International Jewellery Exhibition in Japan for her series Sha-green. The series presents food waste, in the form of discarded citrus fruit peel, as a sustainable, biodegradable, vegan alternative to the traditionally animal-based luxurious decorative surface finish known as shagreen (ray or shark skin). This scented material comes alive when worn; as it is warmed by the body it emits a subtle fruity fragrance. A statement from The Museum of Arts & Crafts ITAMI about the award is given below.

2019 ITAMI International Jewellery Exhibition Grand Prix

It marks the 22nd ITAMI International Craft Exhibition and this year’s theme is “Jewellery”, which comes every other year. The Museum of Arts and Crafts ITAMI endeavors to broaden the culture of jewellery, where it houses ITAMI College of Jewellery that aims to foster professional jewellery artists, besides holding numerous jewellery exhibitions. As a result of such effort, the recognition of “ITAMI = jewellery” is now widely spread not only in Japan but also abroad where we received 1,132 pieces of works from 339 artists including 138 applicants from 19 countries abroad for the “ITAMI International Jewellery Exhibition” this time, resulting to 97 selected artists out of which 8 had received prizes after strict examination.Rachael Colley jewellery

Among those from diverse backgrounds, the works awarded with prizes as well as those selected demonstrate careful consideration towards relationship with body, nature and social environment. Not to mention that they posses of beauty as jewellery to adorn the body, the manners in which they stimulate the human five senses inspired by the ordinary daily lives are flooded with noteworthy uniqueness, and it is the very point that we the museum highly appreciate as examination criteria. Especially, the Grand Prix work of COLLEY Rachael got high reputation. It was her second participation, and her first entry work in 2017 “Vanitas series, M(eat) et al collection” also got Award for Promising Talent. This was a series of brooches which were designed to refer traditional themes found in the genre of still life painting. These reminded the wearer of the problem awareness by re-creating jewellery out of the waste food materials, and posed a problem about our destiny, pleasure, and so on. What we wearers were most impressed and amazed was the fact that we wear peeled vegetables’ skin. They are just next to our humans’ skin.

close up of pendantAs her previous work left us such impression, this time we were looking forward to her new pieces, which must be exciting and beautiful. Of course, she didn’t betray us to show her excellent “Sha-Green”. As alternative to traditionally animal-based luxurious decorative surface, food waste was presented. We find intelligence in the combination of metal frame and delicate texture of carefully engraved citrus peel. Moreover, it’s fascinating when it is warmed by our body it emits a subtle fruity fragrance.

The juries also admired her work because it consisted of expression, utility, and skill with good uses of materials, concepts and skilled craftsmanship. We would like many people to see and enjoy her attractive jewellery that makes shape something spiritual or thought.

The Museum of Arts and Crafts ITAMI

Rachael Colley accepting the award

Jewellery on display at the museumRachael Colley accepting the award, speech

Photo credits: Rachael Colley and The Museum of Arts & Crafts Itami.




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Filed under representations & discourses, surplus waste & excess food in society, sustainability