NomineeJeanne Marie Martineau
Nominee Pronounsshe/they
Nominee Phone(650) 714-7344
Nominee EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
Nominee Address1323 North Calvert Street
6
Baltimore, MD 21202
United States
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Nominee Websitehttps://www.polyethylenedreams.com/
Nominee Resume or CVJeanne-Marie-Martineau-Resume-3.17.24.-IMPACT.pdf
Additional Information 1Ethical-Metalsmiths-So-Fresh-So-Clean-2023-JMM-Statement.pdf
Additional Information 2resident-artist-talk-video-link-JMM.pdf
Additional Information 3JMM-About-and-Ethos.pdf
Work Sample 1Work Sample 1
Work Sample 2Work Sample 2
Work Sample 3Work Sample 3
Work Sample 4Work Sample 4
Work Sample 5Work Sample 5
Describe how the nominee fulfills the criteria for the IMPACT Award. Maximum 5000 characters.

My primary subject is our plastic trash legacy. Nature is a closed loop system, all waste is transmuted, all is precious. I reincarnate polyethylene plastic trash into fine jewelry and art objects. Allowing stone to remain home in the earth, each of my pieces stars transformed postconsumer plastic waste. I’ve developed a particular process for creating “gemstones” out of polyethylene plastic film waste. Polyethylene plastic is the most commonly produced plastic, and in its film form (bags and packaging), the least recycled one.

After a decade of working in luxury jewelry, most notably in Cartier for almost 8 years, I felt called to create art myself. At Cartier my love for jewelry and artistic craftsmanship deepened, but the rigidity of a heritage brand did not allow for my creative expression, for employee empathy, or for social and environmental change. Shortly after leaving, a friend approached me with a jewelry idea she wanted help designing. Knowing how problematic the world of gem sourcing can be, I wondered: Can I evoke the same care and wonder stones do with post-consumer plastic?. I spent a year and half developing a mold and gem making technique that produces high shine cabochons. I asked: What if everything is worthy of care? I was curious what would happen when one of the world’s most despised and least precious material (plastic trash) was combined with the world’s most coveted and precious material (gold). So I apprenticed with artist and goldsmith Savannah King, who shares my deep reverence for materials and taught me ancient and classical goldsmithing techniques: alloying, forging, and milling recycled gold by hand.

I’ve collected hundreds of pieces of plastic off streets, beaches, in multiple countries, with and from family and friends. I photograph each piece of plastic and track its origin in a database to understand the material’s movement and transformation. My treatment of plastic is informed by my study and practice of various wisdom traditions, spiritual lineages, and schools of psychology. For example, through Dream Tending, a dream work methodology based in depth psychology and worldwide indigenous and ancient practices. I imagine that plastic, a material made from the energy of ancestral organisms, is dreaming through me, that I am here to listen and help it realize its dreams. A material discarded and treated as cheap trash dreaming of reincarnating as the object most precious to humans: jewelry! Metta, a Buddhist practice to increase our capacity for love and compassion for others also informs my practice. At NYC Jewelry Week I led a “Precious Matter Jewelry Meditation” inviting participants to apply love and compassion onto a piece of their own loved jewelry and a piece of plastic waste. It was so fascinating to hear how folks’ relationship to their plastic waste shifted, a sense of responsibility stemming from care for everything including the “problem”.

My most recent residency at the Baltimore Jewelry Center (please see artist talk video) expanded these sessions into a curriculum and series of community workshops and song & sound meditations that bring the community into my art making process while imparting educational content and emotional wellness. Collecting plastic from city streets was an act of care. I asked: How can my art and jewelry making contribute to the beautification of my host city? How can jewelry making engage members of the community and tell their story? The multipart workshops take folks through material history, story of place, exploring the link between Baltimore’s best known nickname “Charm City,” its complex social and ecological history, and history of jewelry charms. During the residency I delivered a variety of experiential workshops and meditations. In each, participants were invited to infuse plastic with mantras for themselves and the collective from which I’ve started making Charm City charms. My capstone event “Charms for the City: Art & Sound Peace Meditation,” in partnership with the Baltimore Peace movement, faced topics of systemic inequity, legacies of violence and used the jewelry making and charms as objects of social change.

My work weaves a deep respect for the history of fine Jewelry, a devotion to craftsmanship, and a sense of spiritual/social responsibility to treat all with care. Impact is not just how my work addresses materiality questions, but how I can use my work, and its context (place and people) to extend the dialog past the jewelry community, and back into that context itself by turning my “gemstone” process into a material and allegorical offering, as testament to the power of communal transformation. The impact I desire to create is for the wellbeing of all–I believe in the power of wearable objects, pairing new techniques with ancient craft, as expressions of community care and social change.

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