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Student winners named for NSCAD’s alumni ring redesign


Erin Fleming, a senior student in NSCAD’s jewellery and metalsmithing program, has won first prize in a competition to redesign the university’s alumni ring.

She will receive a $1000 prize, plus consideration for a design purchase and production agreement. Two runner-up prizes of $250 were awarded to current students Cynthia Fraschetti and Naomi Zamir.

“Receiving first place in the Alumni Ring Redesign competition has been an exhilarating start to my final year here at NSCAD. I’m extremely grateful of the support I’ve received thus far from my peers and instructor, Greg Sims, in bringing my idea to life. I am thrilled by the opportunity to have my school and my instructors behind me during the next stages of navigating a new, more professional realm of manufacturing.” says Fleming.

Fleming is an interdisciplinary creator with a life-long relationship to drawing and craft. Her work employs processes and techniques in metal fabrication, jewellery and 3-D printing. She began her artistic education attending the Creative Arts program out of QECVI in Kingston, Ontario from 2014-2016 and is now completing her BFA in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing at NSCAD University.

‘A one-of-a-kind ring which contains a trace of the mark they made at NSCAD’

Fleming’s winning ring design challenges NSCAD graduates to ‘Make Your Mark’ by creating an original ‘mark’ that is then translated onto the surface of their ring through 3D modeling software.

It acts as a unique record and a reminder by drawing on what they’ve learned and developed throughout their time at NSCAD.

“A core element of NSCADʼs shared philosophy is the act of mark-making. Whether through study or practice, mark making is a binding force of life at NSCAD,” explains Fleming.

“It seems nearly impossible to sum up the entirety of a student’s time at NSCAD with a single ring, but through this process people will come away with a one-of-a-kind ring which contains a trace of the mark they made at NSCAD. Each alumni will be able to look at their ring and know that their mark is completely individual.”

The jury for the award were Olivia Fay, SUNSCAD president; Heather Rathbun (BFA 2008), jewellery designer; Sunil Sarwal (BDes 2002), designer and NSCAD Alumni Association President; Rebecca Hannon, NSCAD jewellery faculty; and Peggy Shannon, NSCAD President.

“Erin’s concept is a ring built to unify NSCAD’s diverse community, as well as honour the individuality of each student and alumni with a component of personal contribution. The invitation to make my own mark adds deeper meaning to an object intended to represent cherished memories at NSCAD,” says Heather Rathbun.


Sample template design for ‘Make Your Mark’ ring


‘A real-world design competition introduces aspiring artists and designers to a range of professional skills’

The competition to replace current ring, designed by Karen Konzuk (’97), opened last Fall to current NSCAD Jewellery & Metalsmithing students and recent graduates of the program. Applicants were asked to design an original piece of jewellery that would act as a graduation keepsake and convey the virtues and qualities of NSCAD alumni.

The competition received a broad range of well-presented submissions, explains Greg Sims, Assistant Professor in the Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing program.

Proposals considered how their objects told a story, how material and process could be used to evoke meaning, addressed practicalities around manufacturing, and described functionalities related to how it is worn and how it wears over time.

“This real-world design competition introduces aspiring artists and designers to a range of professional skills: working creatively within set parameters, presenting & communicating ideas effectively, putting themselves and their work out there, while receiving and responding to critical feedback,” Sims explains.

‘This project has great potential to generate future work-study opportunities’

Fleming’s winning concept is just the beginning of a bigger process to produce NSCAD’s next ring. The project now moves to a second phase, in partnership with NSCAD University, to develop and validate the proposal.

Over the 2023 Summer semester, NSCAD faculty and staff will support Fleming in her coursework and gear it toward developing the alumni ring, from concept into reality. With faculty supervision, Sims says, she will be able to explore and validate the design with an eye to its manufacture & presentation as a finished product.

“There are countless learning opportunities in developing a single piece as a product and in manufacturing, especially when trying to retain individual and customized features. This project has great potential to generate future work-study opportunities for Erin, as well as for other students in our Jewellery program,” Sims says.