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Being Multi-Disciplinary is an Advantage. Interview with Alison Brown by Klimt02

Interview
Published: 28.01.2021
Alison Brown Alison Brown
Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona
Edited on:
2021
Alison Brown. Necklace: Elephant Beads, 2019. Porcelain, Egyptian paste, linen.. 19 x 9 x 42 cm. Photo by: Robin Shelton. Alison Brown
Necklace: Elephant Beads, 2019
Porcelain, Egyptian paste, linen.
19 x 9 x 42 cm
Photo by: Robin Shelton
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Since the pandemic began, when jewelry can no longer be picked up and handled, I am forced to consider why I make, what I make, and does it matter? (...) I have finally accepted that being multi-disciplinary is an advantage; a fascination to explore materials and learn new techniques hopefully prevents dullness and fulfills an inquisitive mind.
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewelry?
My initial exposure to creative making was through my grandma and her sisters who regularly kitted us out as children with beautifully handknitted garments. However, what completely captivated my imagination as a young child was the art activities shown on the children’s TV program, Blue Peter. Early advocates for recycling opportunities, the presenters would demonstrate how to make desirable models, toys, or handy gadgets from bits of cardboard, sticky back plastic, and the inevitable matchbox. I couldn't wait to get started! Later on, as a teenager, making my own clothes and jewelry was fundamental to me; to wear something original, originated from my own mind's eye.


How important is networking for you in your professional practice and what are your preferred tools for this?
Meeting other makers online has been vital during Covid-19 lockdowns. Sharing both the frustrations and achievements is an encouragement to keep finding resilience. Instagram and Facebook are the happy places for positive feedback, but also remind you there is a big world out there that you are also part of, and can make a difference in.

I recently took part in a virtual one-day conference on Touch organized by the UK’s Craft Council and the Centre of Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, UK. This proved to me to be an eye-opener. To attend an event which would have been economically impossible, with wonderful opportunities to gate crash virtual tables and talk with anyone sitting there, by just starting to type… Both stimulating and inspiring, all from the comfort of my home desk.


Thinking about your career, what role do technology and the digital play in your artistic development & communication?
I value intuitive making by hand, so use few tools to create jewelry other than my eco kiln. I often recycle found and imperfect materials that emphasize unique textures minimizing, where possible, the use of new resources. Since the pandemic began, I have been making short videos that describe my work in ways that make them more understandable online, when jewelry can no longer be picked up and handled. By doing this I am forced to consider why I make, what I make, and does it matter? Art jewelry with an environmental message is more entertaining when the backdrop is a windy beach. 


How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
My butterfly brain and bowerbird eye play with fluttering thoughts by experimenting with ceramics, metal, and textiles together with incorporating found artifacts. I have finally accepted that being multi-disciplinary is an advantage; a fascination to explore materials and learn new techniques hopefully prevents dullness and fulfills an inquisitive mind.

I have really enjoyed making short videos recently of my work for Instagram. I am not a performer but it challenges me to convey ideas and objects in a simple, real, and entertaining way by employing sight and sounds to describe feel and weight through visual storytelling.
Appreciate APPRECIATE