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Interview with Shanna Muston

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 02.01.2014
Interview with Shanna Muston.
Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona

Intro
I think there are trends throughout jewelry, however I don’t think this is necessarily standardizing. As makers we respond to the world and the events that are happening so there are bound to be overlaps in interests, materials and the way we work.
Do you think that jewelry is being standardized? What is there of local and universal in your artistic work?
I think there are trends throughout jewelry, however I don’t think this is necessarily standardizing. As makers we respond to the world and the events that are happening so there are bound to be overlaps in interests, materials and the way we work.

My work has a very local element in that I use pieces from local demolished homes. My work responds directly to my physical environment, but also to the personal situations and questions that I have about the world and the human condition. While the work starts in a very personal context it is by working through these immediate observations that the end product comes to represent investigations into larger ideas. The end piece is interpreted differently according to one’s past experiences and personal associations with the materials and symbols that I use. Common themes in my work explore memory, fragility and the comfort objects can bring, and so I am able to tap into the human need to use the physicality of tangible objects to access the intangible or lost.

What do you expect when exposing your work to the public (for example with an exhibition)?
I hope that I am able to trigger nostalgic reactions where the object might take the viewer to a distant memory, to bring the absent present and in this process create comfort. I also hope to illustrate how working through objects and the process of making offers ways to think through difficult experiences and concerns about the world.

Are other areas besides the jewelry, present in your work?
I use small objects and installation to further explore ideas, my work has become multi-disciplinary. Often I explore one overall theme in my work but use small series to explore slightly different aspects. A body of work might include a collection of both wearable pieces and objects.

The last work, book, film, that has moved me was...
At the Asia Pacific Triennial 7 (APT7), Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane there was an incredible work, Fukushima Esperanto by Tadasu Takamine, from Japan. The piece was an installation, a scattering of found objects amongst sand in a dark room; one viewed the installation from above, looking down. In a theatrical style projections and lights shone down to highlight different objects at different times, all timed with an soundtrack. The piece was incredibly moving. The works referenced the ideas regarding loss and objects and the scattered objects drew links between recent natural disasters in Queensland and Japan.

A place, space, country whose creativity surprises me...
I have not travelled very far but Brisbane surprises me every day. I consider myself lucky to be a part of a rapidly growing city that is just starting to become its own. As we are still establishing, particular with contemporary jewelry, the artistic community here is really able to play a part in shaping the way the city moves forward.

Is there any designer, jeweler, artist, you appreciate a lot?
Local jeweler Barbara Heath has been an inspiration since I started making, I have been very lucky to undertake a mentorship with her this year. A few others whose work inspires me include Sofia Björkman, Mette Saabye, Natalia Milosz-Piekarska, Kathrine Bowman.

What piece or work has given you the most satisfaction?
I always feel there is another avenue to push or another aspect to perfect, however a series of wood pendants, yours/my memories, a faceted piece based on the shape of the house is a favorite to work on. I have been making them for a few years and they are simply a pleasure to make and they always have such a positive response.
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