Lauren Kiggins, Staff Writer

Miami University junior jewelry designer, Joe Plecha, will be competing in the finals of the 43rd Mid-States Craft Competition this winter with a collar designed for an event in partnership with Miami University Club of Fashion Design’s (MUCFD) Spring 2013 fashion show.

Specifically Plecha’s competition piece is a two-part, black and transparent, acrylic collar connected by metal fasteners.

“Aesthetically, I am inspired by many things,” Plecha said. “My ideas usually come out of the blue or from a significant change in my life that I then substantively interpret in my work.”

Plecha began studying metal work in 2007 at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and continued his training at Cranbook, a boarding school that offered metal studies, in 2009.

“Once I got started on jewelry, it became my main outlet,” Plecha said. “I like the material. The metal can be made into whatever you want.”

At Miami, Plecha is in his third year studying International Business and French, but continues to develop his metal skills through a minor.

“The metals program has had a long history of success.” chair of the Department of Art Peg Faimon said. “Much of that is due to professor Susan Euwing. Now, Geoff Riggle is carrying on her tradition.”

Plecha has been studying with Riggle for roughly two years.

“So far, most of his work is technically oriented, focused on processes and creative problem-solving,” Riggle said. “However, it is safe to say Joe’s designs are typically formal with an emphasis on line, shape and space and how it relates to the body. Of course I say this, and then he’ll surprise me in next critique.”

The Mid-States Craft Exhibition, where Plecha’s collar will be displayed, will run from Dec. 8 to Jan. 12 at the Evansville Museum in Evansville, Ind.

“It conveys that Joe is of great caliber as an up-and-coming designer,” Riggle said. “This exhibition draws submissions from a six-state area. He’s among the best in the area.”

A portfolio of Plecha’s work can be found on his website, He will also be participating and selling his work in the 29th Miami Metals Annual Jewelry Sale, a student-led design practicum where students design and manufacture their own line of jewelry items for retail. The event will be in the Farmer School of Business November 19th and the Shriver Center November 20th and 21st.