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Barcelona Studio Residency by Vicki Mason

Article  /  ArtistsReview
Published: 20.04.2016
Vicki Mason Vicki Mason
Author:
Vicki Mason
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Melbourne
Edited on:
2016
Vicki Mason. Brooch: Correa alba, 2016. Powder coated brass, cotton and hand-dyed cotton.. 6.8 x 6.8 x 1.2 cm. Photo by: Andrews Barcham. Vicki Mason
Brooch: Correa alba, 2016
Powder coated brass, cotton and hand-dyed cotton.
6.8 x 6.8 x 1.2 cm
Photo by: Andrews Barcham
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Australian artist Vicki Mason gives a report on her recent studio residency in Barcelona revealing those with a state of mind permanently open to learning will gain much of value from the studio residency experience.
 
Studio residencies are definitely worth considering if you are interested in learning new things (conceptual/technical etc), making new contacts on the ground and taking time out from routines and familiar surroundings in order to embark on new creative projects. They can open you up to new ways of working, offer up artistic/technical learning opportunities, help with improving your social skills (you might even learn a new language!), improve your entrepreneurship and marketing skills as well as help with enabling a better understanding of a foreign culture if you travel abroad. And these are just a few of the many benefits!

I spent time in Barcelona recently on an Australia Council for the Arts studio residency. The project that took me to Barcelona came out of my recent concerns regarding water use within the garden context in Australia. Triggered by hot summers, seeing lawns dry out here in Melbourne and some of my garden’s plants burn in the heat, I’ve been investigating plants that can survive and even thrive on rainfall alone once they have been established. Australia is a country where water is a precious resource that needs to be conserved, so adapting to our ever drying environment means planting gardens that are in harmony with it.


Studio, Barcelona. Photograph by Vicki Mason.

In studying water-wise plants as inspiration for my work I discovered that Barcelona Botanic Gardens has an extensive international collection of Mediterranean plants (adapted to long hot dry summers) so spending time there doing research made sense. Australian and Spanish climates are comparable and the time I spent building my knowledge base around these topics as well as looking into Mediterranean gardens styles while in Spain has revealed much. As Stuart Read, Heritage Officer (Landscape Specialist), Office of Environment & Heritage, NSW Department of Planning & Environment here in Australia states, 'We can learn lessons from Spain in terms of learning how to belong to our place, adapting our gardens to its climate, soils, levels of rainfall, variability'.

Creating and developing new work based on key themes and ideas that resonated as a result of this research gives me much to explore and the primary research material collected through drawing, photography and reading will sustain my practice well into the future. The long-term impact of the residency will no doubt reveal itself over time as I now digest, reflect and unpack more fully what I have discovered. 


Barcelona Botanic gardens. Photograph by Vicki Mason



Drawing. Photograph by Vicki Mason.

Making connections with those open to cultural exchanges was an inherent expectation of this grant and the jewellers I came into contact with were warm and open to interaction. The art and craft community more broadly welcomed me generously, highlighting the importance a welcome means to those from foreign soils. Opportunities to speak about my work in jewellery schools, exhibit, meet gallerists, go to openings and so forth enabled me to integrate, for a moment, into the Spanish jewellery and craft community.


Barcelonian artists. Photograph by Vicki Mason.

Leo Caballero at KLIMT02 for example, like so many others, took time out to enable me to step into his jewellery world, revealing a passion for contemporary jewellery, one that unites all of us who work in this diversely rich field. A channel for dialogue has been opened with many of those I met and exploring potential collaborations and exhibition opportunities for the future is now on the table; it will be exciting to see what eventuates. Residencies also offer up unexpected outcomes and one for me were finding myself totally absorbed and inspired by eclectic historical collections of metalwork and other artefacts displayed in local museums.


Leo Caballero. Photograph by Vicki Mason.

For me, Barcelona and my time spent travelling in Spain have definitely contributed to my lifelong learning. Being able to fully immerse yourself in your work for any maker is time well spent and residencies offer this and so much more.


Vicki Mason, Park Guell. Photograph by Jo Blakely.

Vicki will be exhibiting a new body of work, Dry! in August and September this year at Studio 2017 in Sydney, Australia. Vicki was in Barcelona from October to December 2015.
Her residency was fully funded by the Australia Council for the Arts. 







 

References

Stuart Read, Demi-Sec: Spanish lessons for Australia in managing dry-climate historic parks and Gardens. International Specialised Skills Institute, Melbourne, 2005, p 95.
Vicki Mason. Necklace: Corona cluster, 2014. Powder coated brass, sterling silver, cotton, silk, hand-dyed cotton, linen, leather.. 22 x 12 x 1.3 cm. Photo by: Andrew Barcham. Vicki Mason
Necklace: Corona cluster, 2014
Powder coated brass, sterling silver, cotton, silk, hand-dyed cotton, linen, leather.
22 x 12 x 1.3 cm
Photo by: Andrew Barcham
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Vicki Mason. Necklace: Corona cluster, 2014. Powder coated brass, sterling silver, cotton, silk, hand-dyed cotton, linen, leather.. 22 x 12 x 1.3 cm. Photo by: Andrew Barcham. Xavier wearing Corona cluster, En Singular exhibition images. Photograph by Silvia Walz.. Vicki Mason
Necklace: Corona cluster, 2014
Powder coated brass, sterling silver, cotton, silk, hand-dyed cotton, linen, leather.
22 x 12 x 1.3 cm
Photo by: Andrew Barcham

Xavier wearing Corona cluster, En Singular exhibition images. Photograph by Silvia Walz.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
En Singular, Sala Perill. Photograph by Vicki Mason..
En Singular, Sala Perill. Photograph by Vicki Mason.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
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