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Interview with Vicki Mason

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 22.06.2016
Vicki Mason Vicki Mason
Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona
Edited on:
2016

Intro
Sure you can choose to see homogenization and argue it exists and perhaps it does in places … but equally you can argue for the richly varied and diverse nature of the art jewellery field. It’s a field that, in my opinion, as it becomes more self aware and so confident, I believe will continue to expand debates and move outside itself to inhabit even more really interesting edges. / Vicki Mason
 
Do you think that jewellery is being standardized? What is there of local and universal in your artistic work?
I think genuine artistic voices where integrity and honesty are in play cannot mean standardization. Artistic uniqueness is not standard issue stuff, and the sheer range of work and areas of interest/research that we see explored and expressed in the jewels made today gives testament to the mixed nature of the field. Sure you can choose to see homogenization and argue it exists and perhaps it does in places … but equally you can argue for the richly varied and diverse nature of the art jewellery field. It’s a field that, in my opinion, as it becomes more self aware and so confident, I believe will continue to expand debates and move outside itself to inhabit even more really interesting edges.
The Australian indigenous plant world informs much of my research and work, locating me in this great southern land. With respect to the universal in my work, I can only hope that in exploring the intricacies of my place here in Australia hopefully larger more universal ideas/truths are revealed that others are also grappling with in their own locality.


Vicki Mason - Dry!, Various materials, Powdercoated brass, cotton, linen, sterling silver, 29 x 25 x 3.5 cm, 2016,
Photographer: Andrew Barcham



What do you expect when exposing your work to the public (for example with an exhibition)?
I try and steer away from having expectations as I’ve found they tend to lead to disappointment. Having a stranger want to own a work and wear it because they’ve fallen for it or having someone want to contact me directly to talk about the work might be the ultimate outcomes to be hoped for. The following might also fall in the ambit: eliciting a sense of identification, being wowed/transfixed, changed, challenged, elated, soothed, educated, having their curiosity piqued and even garnering a laugh when the work’s ideas have a humorous intent.

Are other areas besides the jewellery, present in your work?
Yes many. Craft, art, design, photography, semiotics, environmentalism, landscape studies, gardening, botany, horticulture, conservation, history, natural history, science fiction, aesthetics, cultural studies, philosophy, psychology, politics, ethics, the life cycle, travel/journeying, material culture and science, comedy.
 
The last work, book, film, city that has moved me was...
An exhibition of Lei (garlands) that are on show currently at the National Gallery of Victoria here in Melbourne is gloriously inspiring and grounding. These jewels sing of warmth, care and love that this long history of cultural practice reveals. Timeless values such as respect for others, the need for rituals attached to moments like, for example, the need to ‘welcome’ strangers well, are embedded in these jewels. In Australia where refugees and new migrants are treated so appallingly on arrival the lei and Pacific culture has much to teach us. A talk by the makers with the curator was full of laughter and soulful reflection about the role and stories attached to the making of these enduring jewels that reflect values important in contemporary Pacific life.


Pacific Lei, Various artists. From the exhibition, Art of the Pacific, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. 2016. Photographer: Vicki Mason


A place, space, country whose creativity surprises me...
I was recently in Spain and was surprised by Islamic artistic traditions and the history of Spanish gardens that I knew very little about.


Courtyard of the Maidens, Seville, Spain, 2016. Photographer: Vicki Mason


Is there any designer, jeweller, artist, you appreciate a lot?
I love Louise Bourgeois’ work. I saw an exhibition of her work here in Melbourne back in 2013 and had to buy the catalogue. The following snippets taken from the catalogue really resonate with me. The last quote here I think can apply to jewellery too.
 

Louise Bourgeois, Cinq, 2007. From: Jason Smith and Linda Michael, Louise Bourgeois in Australia, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2013. p51.


For Bourgeois, Stitching was ‘repairing the damage’ and materials were as responsive or as resistant as people.

Bourgeois understood and sought calmness, despite the intensity of her emotions: The polarity I experience is a drive toward extreme violence and revolt … and the need for peace, a complete peace with the self, with others, and with the environment.

Bourgeois first articulated the polarities that drove her art practice and through which she confronted psychological and physical impulses If I’m in a positive mood I’m interested in joining. If I’m in a negative mood I will cut things.

You can retell your life … by the shape, weight, colour and smell of those clothes in your closet. They are like the weather, the ocean, changing all the time.

/ Jason Smith and Linda Michael, Louise Bourgeois in Australia, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2013.


Louise Bourgeois, Blue Days, 1996. From: Jason Smith and Linda Michael, Louise Bourgeois in Australia,
Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2013. p23.



What piece or work has given you the most satisfaction?
The one I haven’t made yet…
 
Do you read Jewellery Magazines? What is your source to get information?
Yes. I subscribe to Metalsmith. I enjoy some maker’s blogs, seeing what jewellery friends/colleagues are up to on facebook and reading AJF and the Klimt02 offerings. I read a lot and am looking forward to buying On and Off in the next wee while and delving into its pages.
 
Do you discuss your work with other jewellery artists or any other person?
Yes. I often talk about my work with my husband. He brings a totally fresh set of eyes to my work and thinkings. He is a scientist but works in the research area so there is overlap. I like talking with curators and other makers when I get the opportunity.
 
What is your first thought when you hear the word Future?, What do you expect for?
Hope, change, empathy, tolerance, peace, kindness, civility and community come to mind.
 
Appreciate APPRECIATE