BJC Focus

the Baltimore Jewelry Center's annual symposium

What is BJC Focus

The BJC Focus symposium is a free annual event that features workshops, demonstrations and presentations all centered around a particular theme. Our featured speakers are artists and intellectuals who are well-studied and acquainted with the chosen topic for the year. The symposium, while developed with jewelry and metalsmithing students and enthusiasts in mind, is free and open to public, with something to offer everyone. The one-day event culminates with an artistic challenge posed to our maker community: to create a new piece of work that aligns with the theme of the symposium.

2019 Symposium Theme:
Common Threads

Our 2019 Symposium, Common Threads, will explore contemporary and historical fashion and jewelry and trace historical movements through the lines, patterns, and materials of our garments and accessories.

The one day symposium will feature speakers whose academic or artistic work explores trends and social implications of both historical and contemporary fashion as well as connections between fashion and jewelry. We will also host a series of free workshops, each related to the symposium theme. The event will culminate with a charge to artists who will participate in our community challenge, which asks artists to create jewelry inspired by iconic fashion items.

Community Design Challenge

Fashion is about creating objects to adorn the body, but also creating identity through the ways in which an individual or a community adorns themselves. Fashion can be a marker of cultural history, tracking historical movements through the lines, patterns, materials, and even hemlines of a garment or an era. For this community challenge, we are asking artists to make a piece of jewelry or a sculptural object that is inspired by an iconic fashion piece. Artists participating in the challenge will draw inspiration from a pre-selected collection of fashion items. The items in the collection are highly notable whether because of their innovativeness, craftsmanship, or the way in which they are significantly tied to a moment in history. Many of the items are shared in our collective memories and are therefore perfect objects from which to draw inspiration. Artists might choose to explore formal relationships as related to their chosen item, or speak to greater cultural concepts manifested through the object.


We will hold two info sessions about the challenge

  • Tuesday, August 27th from 6 – 7pm
  • Tuesday, September 24th from 6 – 7 pm

Submit images of completed work to be considered for the exhibition by:

  • Deadline Extended!
  • Tuesday November 12, Midnight!


To learn about the collection of fashion icons, attend one of the info sessions, or download this slideshow:



This symposium is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council and the William G. Baker Memorial Fund.