Exhibition Artist: Niki Grandics

March 15, 2021

Exhibition Artist: Niki Grandics-Pistachios

Niki Grandics is an exhibiting artist in our Spring 2021 show 'Built to Last' featuring seven artists that implement sustainable and ethical practices in their studio and material sourcing. Much like Pistachios, these artists are Built to Last. 

Shop the other exhibition artists here and read more about Niki below! 


Q: Where did you study Jewelry/Metalsmithing and where?
A: SDSU BA in Applied Design, GIA Graduate Jeweler


Q: What inspires your work?
A: The gemstones themselves inspire a lot of my work. I look for what makes each stone unique, the inclusions, color, cut, and size, and work to highlight those qualities in the settings I fabricate.


Q: Do you have a favorite piece you've made?
A: Right now the Alume pendant (part of the exhibition) is one of my favorites. The stone in it is so captivating and unique, like fire swirling inside of it.


Q: What made you want to start making jewelry?
A: I stumbled into jewelry making while studying at SDSU. I was a glassblower and was interested in creating wearable sculptures, which led me to take a jewelry and metalsmithing course. It was love at first solder and I'm pretty sure I changed my major the next day.


Q: What is your favorite process? Why that one over others?
A: I've always been really drawn to fabrication. It can be very meditative to build a piece a jewelry, having to precisely control the heat throughout it with a torch.


Q: Who is your favorite artist/who do you wear?
A: The list is too long...Georgina Trevino, Jennifer Dawes, Emily Rogstad, Bario Neal...I'm slowly building my collection.


Q: Is there an artist on your personal wishlist that you hope to own one day?
A: I'm slowly building my collection of jewelry from other Ethical Metalsmiths designer members


Q: What is something you would want someone to know about your work that they might not know?
A: That I believe jewelry is an expression of love and that love means taking action. To me this means love for our planet, love for ourselves, and love for our fellow humans.


Q: When you're not making jewelry, what are you doing?
A: When I'm not working you can find me in the kitchen cooking and baking plant-based dishes. I do love to cook. You can also find me hiking or at the beach with my greyhound.



Q: What does sustainability mean to you/why is sustainability important to you? 
A: Sustainability means taking care of our planet, recognizing our impact and reducing it to support the long-term health of our planet and communities, and producing without exploitation in a way that benefits all stakeholders. I truly believe that this is the only way forward.


Q: What made you want to start a sustainable practice
When I was studying metalsmithing at SDSU, I had learned of the Rana Plaza collapse. The factory, which produced garments for several large international brands (some of whom I shopped with at the time), collapsed killing over 1100 young women. This event opened my eyes to the reality of where our products come from and how they are produced. I started to learn more about how unsustainable the fashion industry is and made me question where my jewelry materials were coming from. Who produced them and under what conditions? What externalities resulted? It's something I've continued to learn about and educate myself on since 2013.


Q. How can the everyday person incorporate sustainable practices into their everyday life without getting overwhelmed or breaking the bank? 
A: Taking things one at a time makes these habit changes sustainable in the long term and takes a lot of the overwhelm out of it. In the last year, I've been working on reducing my household plastic waste. As soaps, shampoos, toiletries and cleaning products would start to run out, I looked for a plastic-free alternative I could replace it with, like shampoo and conditioner bars or laundry detergent that comes in cardboard packaging instead of plastic. In the case of these products, the cost was comparable to plastic-packaged products I used to buy.


Q.  What is a piece of advice that you want to give people that want to start living sustainably but are intimidated or think it’s too complicated? 
A: My advice would be to pick one area to focus on and start there. It's easy to get overwhelmed when we think of how broad the issues are, and addressing these one at a time has been helpful for me. Maybe you are concerned about plastic waste, or animal welfare, or environmental justice and human rights, etc. Learn what you can about that one issue and what changes you can make there. In the case of plastic waste it could be replacing your shampoo bottle with a shampoo bar and swapping out toiletries and cleaning products for plastic-free alternatives as they run out, or washing your clothes in a laundry bag that filters out plastic microfibers. For animal welfare, this may mean reducing/eliminating your consumption of animal products, using the Cruelty-Free app to check if products were tested on animals, opting for plant-based leather alternatives, etc. There are so many ways you can get started, and remember, we all start somewhere. Don't worry about "perfecting" it overnight.



Niki Grandics
San Diego

Exhibiting artist in 'Built to Last' in 2021. 


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