Not long after the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, SUNY Buffalo State design professor Stephen Saracino responded as many artists do to horrific events. He created a piece of art.
Saracino’s powerful "Columbine Survival Bracelet," a 7-inch-tall piece hand-fabricated from sterling silver and the laminate mokume gane, features two pistols facing one another.
“At the time, the National Rifle Association was saying that if everyone (in the school) had been armed, students wouldn’t have been killed,” Saracino said. “I thought, ‘My God. That would have made things ten times worse; it would have been a true massacre.’ I used the idiom of jewelry that you cannot wear with the idea that if you want to carry gun, why not put two on a bracelet? It was a tongue-in-cheek reaction to a very serious incident.”
The bracelet, along with two other thought-provoking pieces Saracino made, is included in the art exhibition ENOUGH Violence: Artists Speak Out, sponsored by the Society for Contemporary Craft (SCC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The SCC invited Saracino and 13 others artists from the United States and Europe to participate in the exhibition that runs through March 22.
The SCC discovered Saracino through other work he contributed to Crafthaus, a website for craft artists.
“His work is exquisite. His ability to technically express the (anti-violence) message is really amazing,” said Kate Lydon, SCC director of exhibitions. “He makes beautiful objects that lure you in with their meaning and shared perspectives.”
ENOUGH Violence features more than 40 works in a range of craft media, including ceramics, metals, fiber, and mixed media, that address violent crimes, youth and gang violence, war and genocide, and domestic abuse. According to representatives with Contemporary Craft, “the project centers on the impact that this national epidemic is having on our cities and the role the arts can play in helping to provide solutions.”
Although the SCC staff began planning for ENOUGH Violence a few years ago, Lydon said its opening now “couldn’t be more timely.”