Jewelry-sculpting alumnus shares work with campus

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A brooch made by Lemon as part of the Discard Dog Series.

Calvin James Pynn

For Radford University students, it is a welcoming and encouraging sight to be able to witness the success and continued work from a former alumnus. In fact, that seems to be just the case right now in Gallery 205 of Porterfield Hall’s Art Department, and all are invited to witness the splendor.

Christina Lemon, an assistant professor at Georgia Southern University and an RU graduate from the class of 1990, has her work displayed in the small gallery, showcasing an exhaustive reflection of her lifelong passions. Lemon is both a jeweler and metalworker, and during the exhibit’s month long run, a great deal of RU students have the chance to witness her handiwork.

While jewelry is a unique art form within itself, Lemon manages to use her creations to explain a deeper meaning.

“My work spans the spectrum from marketable production jewelry designs to one of a kind ‘art jewelry’ that is both wearable and sculptural,” said Lemon.

As an artist, her work is guided by several themes, such as The Reflections Series, designed using formal elements. Other themes include the Solitude Series and Fertility Series, which deal with regeneration and renewal of life, using botanical forms as reference.

As her jewelry delves deeper than the stereotypical superficial associations paired with the art form, Lemon uses her time and talent to spread awareness about the issues she personally cares about, namely animal rights. One example of that effort, which can be seen in the exhibit, is Lemon’s Discard Dog series.

The Discard Dog series contains Lemon’s designs in sterling silver, gold, and vitreous enamel. The series is a representation of her interest and investigation of companion animals that enter animal shelters in the United States every year. With the creation of the Discard Dog series, Lemon hopes to spread awareness of animal rights, and to help provide the best care and shelter management possible.

Lemon currently serves as the President of the Humane Society of Statesboro and Bulloch County, an organization for which she has volunteered for 11 years. As the Discard Dog series serves to direct attention to the needs of homeless animals, it was a chance for Lemon to merge her two “passions” into her artwork.

According to Lemon, “The [Discard Dog] series is designed to make a social statement and to be wearable at the same time.”

Also included in the exhibit is the Starfire Series, which Lemon began after working on the 12th presidential medallion for Georgia Southern University President Dr. Brooks Keel.

In consistency with Lemon’s passion for animals, the series was named after her horse, Starfire, as well as the stamped pattern on the jewelry. The designs began with turquoise stones purchased by Lemon about 15-20 years ago. She estimates that some of them may have also been acquired during her time as student at RU. Lemon decided to continue the limited edition series for those who might like the turquoise and silver combination.

In addition to her commitments as a professor, jeweler, metalworker, and animal rights activist, Lemon also serves on the Piedmont Craftsmen Jewelry Panel, whose purpose is to review artwork and determine membership and exhibition opportunities based on design, skill and innovation. While her work has been featured in exhibitions and various publications, this is the first time Lemon’s jewelry has been displayed at RU.

As an educator and working artist, Lemon’s work is made with the intention to inspire others, both in her efforts to promote animal rights, and to generally educate other potential jewelers.

“I would like students to become more familiar with contemporary small metal and jewelry work by being exposed to exhibitions like this one,” said Lemon. “Most students are familiar with the mass marketed, disposable, and inexpensively made jewelry forms found in retail stores across the country.”

Lemon also hopes to spread appreciation for handmade jewelry forms, the enhanced beauty of metals with natural stones, and inspire those who view her work to be more educated and discerning when it comes to appreciating jewelry that is both for sale and made as a beautiful work of art.

Christina Lemon’s jewelry has been on display since Sept. 5, and will continue to be open until Oct. 14. The entire RU community – faculty, students, and fellow artists alike, are encouraged to witness Lemon’s work. It is the result of an artist who displays a deep passion for her craft, as well as the higher purpose that it serves.