The DRUZY Projectis creating resin druzy sculptures to fight child slavery in mining
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As a patron you get:
-Access to all of the DRUZY community only video tutorials. You will learn the finer points of how to make glittery, natural looking resin geodes and explore resin sculptural texture pours with me!
-A shout-out in my next video.
-The satisfaction that you are helping a family buy a home which will accommodate our love of art and our cats. We all thank you.
I have decided to only put up this one tier of support for now. This way I can focus on creating content for you, and not so much on sorting out who gets what perk and where the different levels are at. If I add more value than the tutorials and community access, I may add more tiers, but for now, pay what you can! You can always come back and change your monthly donation amount.
I am Sandra DeVries, the founder and CEO of DRUZY, an artist's venture which brings public attention to the issue of child slavery in crystal and gemstone mining.
I create beautiful druzy sculptures for home decor and household use. My years of practicing working with resin and colour has culminated in some mind-blowingly beautiful pieces, and I am ready to share them with you.
My goal with The DRUZY Project is to draw attention to one of the many contexts in the world where children are enslaved. I recognize that there are many charities which are doing amazing things, and that we all wish that we can give more. I make it easy for you by donating a portion of every item in my store to charities which support child education and are working toward understanding, monitoring, and stopping child slavery in the crystal and coloured gemstone markets.
Here are some important facts.
- Coloured gemstones are sourced from around 50 countries, most of which are located in the global South. 80% of all coloured gemstones come from artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). These are low-tech, high labour situations, where people hunt for alluvial deposits in riverbeds, in trash heaps from defunct mines, and in hand-dug pits.
- Mining practices for ASM are beyond terrible, and constitute a human rights issue. (GIA, 2018)
- One of the most critical problems with the coloured gem industry is child slavery in mining, which according to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 182, belongs to the worst forms of child labour.
-It is estimated that a million children worldwide are enslaved in the coloured gem industry. Children are working under unlawful conditions in Madagascar, Myanmar, Pakistan, SriLanka, Zambia, India, and Thailand.
- Children as young as seven are working in mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their cobalt and copper mines are rich in minerals like tourmaline, amethyst, citrine, blue and smoky quartz – all popular with the growing gemstone market. (Collet et. al., 2013, Atkin, 2018)
- There is currently no known way to track crystals and coloured gemstones to their origins. The Kimberly Process, which manages the tracking of diamonds and is aimed at preventing conflict diamonds from entering the international markets - famously has failed at stemming the flow of conflict diamonds. Due to the known risk of supporting corruption and abuse when purchasing a diamond, the sales of diamonds have dropped steadily since 2000. Coloured gemstones and crystals are on the rise.
People want sparkle in their homes. The 2019 design forecast calls for an intensification of the millennial drive to return to nature, to get in touch with the materials that sustain us as humans, and this intensity will be reflected in the ways we decorate our homes. Since 2017 design has trended in the direction of bringing the earth, actual rocks - uncut gemstones and natural crystals – into our immediate, intimate family spaces. This will culminate with natural stone making a comeback in 2019, showing up in textural and visual elements of interior décor and design more broadly. (Rice 2018, Rains 2017, Loewe 2018, Calucchia 2018, Swarovski group 2018)
This aesthetic trend has shown up in an increase of sales of natural crystals in jewelry, uncut gemstones and crystals sold in gemstone fairs like the massive one in Arizona, an increase in the number and popularity of natural crystals in online shops that specialize in the sales of crystals and coloured gemstones. In 2012 the forecast for coloured gemstone sales was 10 billion dollars over the following ten years. (euroinvestor.com 2013) This prediction is proving accurate, and the demand for “the look” of natural crystal is growing steadily. While this makes purveyors of fine gems very happy, this trend is exacerbating the important human rights problem of child labour in coloured gem mining.
Why use resin?
Cast glass work is not precise enough, and cannot imitate the texture of crystal in a faithful way. When glass comes out of the mold, it is slightly rough, and each surface must be polished to a shine, a process called coldworking. With thousands of facets per square inch, imagine the process of <g>coldworking</g> a druzy pendant, let alone a coffee table!! Ceramics are beautiful, but do not respond to light and transform it in the same refractive way that crystal does. But resin is beautiful. It can be dyed any colour the client <g>desires,</g> and has near to the same optical qualities of glass. It would be a perfect solution…if epoxy resin did not harm the planet.
Popping up all over the internet, resin artists use epoxy resin and glass to imitate natural crystal formations, appealing to the design market and thus reducing the demand for genuine gemstones. These simulated items are less expensive than the genuine article, much lighter and easier to move and clean, and are often very beautiful, incorporating colours and textures not found in natural stone. These household items range from jewelry to cheese boards to side tables. (Rains 2017, Loewe 2018)
Imitating millions of years of crystal growth is not easy! Over the last five years a community of artists has been growing online, technologically connected and learning together as an artistic group. There are a large number of artists and crafters who work with resin and are moving toward mastering the elusive effects of agate or the texture of a druzy crystal-crystal that has been grown onto a matrix of another mineral or rock. Carson Fox is one such artist, who has been working with epoxy resin since 2010, focusing on bioimitation in candy colours. While Fox's sculptures are beautiful, they are not entirely realistic but are closer to bio-surrealism than bio-realism. Another artist who broke onto the scene mid-2018 is Stephanie Walberer, aka., Mrs. Colorberry, an artist from Germany whose geode art tables and wall sculptures have been incredibly successful. I too use epoxy resin for my art of bio imitation and bio-surrealism. --with one hugely important difference!!
Traditional epoxy resin such as the kind that most resin artists such as Fox and Walberer use is 100% petroleum derived. The oils that make up the resin are from the earth, and there are incredibly dangerous realities connected with fossil fuel use. The resin I use is 52% plant derived, made in Manitoba, Canada. Ecopoxy is hard, shiny, and does an incredible job of imitating crystal. Ecopoxy is on the cutting edge of ecologically sensitive epoxy.
DRUZY as a company is committed to using the safest resins and plastics that are the least harmful to the planet. As we discover new product that are appropriate for our applications, we will explore them.
It is often more affordable to purchase a small piece of million-year-old crystal than it would be to buy a piece of resin art. For instance, Carson Fox's resin replicas of icicles, crystals or mossy rock formations range from $2000 to $10,000 USD. A Mrs. Colorberry side table will set you back $500-$1000 USD. These prices are not for everyone. The mistake here is that there is not a consumer-level substitute for crystals and coloured gemstones. (Fox 2018, Walberer 2018)
I am offering that substitute! My smaller works are perfect for a gift for a special occasion or a gorgeous addition to your home. You can invest in DRUZY knowing that our pieces are made from the most responsibly sourced epoxy resin on the market, and that a portion of your purchase is going toward helping a child escape or avoid slavery through self-empowerment.
You can donate by clicking the link to the right, or by buying something from our store. Thank you! Please feel free to check out our sources, or learn more by watching our intro video.
It is going to be hilarious because I will do it in a public park.
I will use the money to get a better place for my family with more space.