This October we're looking at local designers that take their work deeper than face value.

One of our favorite furniture designers, based right here in Grand Rapids, has us crushing on his work created in collaboration with The Caliber Collection.  Joseph Jeup is a nationally celebrated furniture designer and is represented in showrooms all over the country.  During our last trek to NeoCon in Chicago, we stopped by the Holly Hunt showroom to check out all his goods, and I can attest, every piece is on point!  He is a fellow Kendall graduate and a major all-star!

The Raise the Caliber initiative is a national advocacy campaign against illegal gun violence.  Proceeds from the sales from The Caliber Collection fully funded a Cash for Caliber buyback event this summer, removing illegal guns from the streets of Detroit.  CBS Detroit News reports:

On Saturday, June 11th, 'hundreds of people lined up outside the Mathis Community Center in northwest Detroit to turn in their guns in exchange for a monetary reward — $50 per firearm — no questions asked. Just a few hours into the program, roughly 450 guns had already been collected.' 

The success of the initiative is in part due to the hands, minds and hearts of designers like Joseph Jeup and Doug Schwartz of Detroitwick. Jeup's lighting designs for Raise The Caliber are

"hand-cast in bronze and etched with the serial number of a gun confiscated by Detroit police that might otherwise have contributed to needless violence.  Each lamp features a confiscated spent caliber shell embedded in the design and is named after a street or landmark in Detroit, including the Beaubien Floor Lamp and Grand Circus Pendant." (Los Angeles Daily News, 3/21/2016 Pacific Design Center's Westweek is 'Mad About Design')

Beaubien Floor Lamp from The Caliber Collection by Joseph Jeup

Designer, Joseph Jeup, and Jessica Mindich, Founder of The Caliber Collection and The Caliber Foundation (Photo credit: Hell Yeah Detroit)

Grand Circus Pendant from The Caliber Collection by Joseph Jeup

Jeup and Schwartz joined to design a sister series called Shreds, a collection of sculpture using illegal gun parts.  Shreds: Destroyed, Never to Destroy Again was designed and created by casting 50 Detroit swept casings in solid acrylic.  The result is a such a powerful demonstration of the initiative's success in paralyzing the activity of illegal weapons in the state of Michigan and across the US.  

David Schwartz (Photo credit: Hell Yeah Detroit)

“At the end of the day, I know that we’re addressing only a part of a much larger problem, but even the smallest effort matters,” Jeup says. “To that one parent or that one child who won’t be affected by needless gun violence, it will make a huge difference.”

Fashion design also plays a major role in the initiative.  Beginning in 2012, The Caliber Collection started out by turning shell casings swept from crime scenes into jewelry.  The sales of rings, cuff links and bangles fund amnesty and gun buyback programs, programs that continue the "virtuous cycle" of physically reworking materials meant for destruction into items that both raise awareness and measurably reduce the number of illegal firearms from the streets. 

"To date, they have taken over 2,000 illegal guns off the streets and have raised over $145,000 for police departments in Newark, Hartford, the San Francisco Bay Area, Detroit and Miami from the sale of Caliber products to customers in over 87 countries." 

To support Raise the Caliber through the purchase of lighting and sculpture, contact Jennifer Butler Interior Design. For jewelry, visit  Contact AK Rikks for in store cuff links availablility.

A portion of proceeds from the Caliber Collection are given to The Caliber Foundation, both founded by Jessica Mindich.  The Caliber Foundation offers support to victims, families and communities who have been affected by illegal gun violence.