Featherweight Styrofoam Earring Collection

Jim Cotter


J. Cotter Studio
Vail, CO, United States

Between 6 x 1 x 0.625

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Photo credit: J. Cotter Personal Archive

As an inquisitive artisan, the ultimate goal is to dream of useful objects that transcend time. Within this permanent material, there are multiple uses. The styrofoam pieces are designed to be worn as art jewelry and adapt to the shape of the wearer. The material of the art piece remains unchanged, however, the composition is designed to be bold and simultaneously lightweight so as to be un-noticeably wearable. The striations and texture are still very much visible to keep the material obvious to the viewer.
The “Featherweight” earring collection is made from expanded polystyrene. The intent of using this material developed from the idea that expanded polystyrene degrades at a rate of 500 years. As the material is single-use and becomes ubiquitous in the environment, there becomes a need to convert the waste into an object of art. Styrofoam is a fascinating material that disguises its allure. Modified, it can become a piece of wearable art that lasts for generations.

Known for his use of organic forms and unusual materials, Jim Cotter has established himself as a maverick in the metalsmithing industry. He began his career with metals in the 1960s, and ever since that time, Cotter has sought to challenge notions and assumptions of how jewelry is perceived and what jewelry can be.

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