Anna Mazon: Muse Personality

Tonya Davidson presents Muse Personality: Anna Mazon

Date started working in metal clay:

I started to work with metal clay in 2008. It was quite an intensive year for me. I was finishing my studies (double major – sociology and psychology), I started working in a big corporation in HR department and I was convinced that this would be a direction my life would go. But then I came across metal clay and, in a way, it brought me back to my childhood dreams about "who I want to be". I've always wanted to do something connected with art. In a kindergarten I was sure I would be a singer, in primary school I wanted to be a dancer, painter and cloth designer, in a high school I thought about being a writer of some kind :)… But the older I got, sadly, the more "reasonable" I became. When I finally discovered metal clay, started to create with it, and it turned out I really could make something art related for living, it was very liberating experience! I decided to go the whole hog. – I found an university program for young entrepreneurs, applied for EU subside and set up my own business.

Certified: (what clay, year and with whom)

I am an autodidact. I have only Art Clay Silver Level1 (2009 with wonderful Karolina Zarzycka, http://www.planetart.pl ). This of course doesn't mean I think I don't need any classes – actually I would love to take classes with many accomplished metal clay artists (why, oh why, they usually live so far away?). I just believe that your portfolio says more about you than any kind of certification. But recently I'm seriously thinking about enrolling in Masters Registry. The program seems to be very interesting, challenging and allowing a lot of creativity. There are a lot of projects there I always wanted to make, but didn't have enough time or motivation, so it's really, really tempting. I also love the fact that the core of Masters Registry program are your own explorations and experiments, made in your own pace. That's how I like to learn the most.

Accomplished at what media in addition to metal clay:

For as long as I can remember I've always been creating something (this is probably the most popular sentence ever among craft people 😉 ). I used to draw a lot (I especially loved oil pastels) and to play with computer graphics ( when I was teenager it was even a source of certain income for me – I made posters, logos etc.), but I stopped. Actually I'm not sure why, and I feel like I abandoned something important. Recently I tried oil painting and it was very refreshing experience, so who knows, maybe I'll come back to this kind of visual arts. I also write poetry (but just for me) and dance quite a lot. I attended a ballet school for more then ten years, since I was five, and I still love this way of expression. It's so natural to speak through your whole body. Now I dance just for fun and I'm especially crazy about modern and modern underground dance. I also play guitar, but I'm definitely not very good at it. The only people who tolerated my playing were children (I used to be a scout leader :) ).

Website and short bio:
http://drakonaria.com
http://drakonaria.blogspot.com/

I was born 29 years ago in Cracow, Poland and I still live here – I'm madly in love with my city and my country. Since early childhood my parents encouraged me to try many ways of artistic expression, but at the same time they placed emphasis on the importance of exact sciences and reason. I've always felt that this kind of balance is crucial. We also always had a lot of contact with Nature. I climbed my first mountain when I was 3 months old… Well, in a baby carrier, but it still counts ;). Now I think, that given all of this it's no wonder my work is quite organic and very exact at the same time, I love making experiments, and I find my inspiration mainly in Nature. This was simply inevitable. I make unique jewellery in which imagination and matter intertwine, creating one of a kind, magical forms inspired by Nature, ancient cultures and literature. Yup, this is definitely my passion statement.

What is your inspiration now?

I've been always inspired by Nature and things that are deeply rooted in it (i.e. ancient pagan cultures, mythologies and folklore), fantasy literature and everything that has this feeling of mystery and mysticism. I usually sought inspiration in cultures different that my own (especially Celtic and Norse), but recently I rediscovered Slavic mythology and folklore. It's not visible in my work yet, but I have a sketchbook full of ideas based on old Slavic tales This folklore and mythology is very unique – a bit dark, full of otherwordly, dangerous, yet utterly tempting creatures but at the same time it's like neverending, extatic dance, full of love of life and trance bliss.

Do you have a muse?

The world is my muse. To be honest I don't think that people are particularly more inspiring than, lets say, birds, mountains or anything else. I think the source of inspiration lies in relation with the object, not in the object itself, so I try to have the closest relation with the world possible :).

What is currently on your bench/workspace?

Right now I'm testing USB flash drive kit from metalclays.com and a few other things I got from them. I'll soon write about this on my blog (http://drakonaria.blogspot.com). It's quite a lot of fun and I wanted to make my own, metal clay adorned flash drive for a long time. I'm also playing with a few of my newly acquired skills (still very poor though :) ) – riveting and enamelling. There is still a lot of training ahead of me till I'm at least partially satisfied with the outcomes, but I'm definitely having a lot of fun (and frustration too ;), but I guess that this is a magical mix for me, that motivates me the best).

What direction are you working on now?

I generally feel that now it's high time to work very hard on my designs. For last four years I've been focused mainly on my hand skills and it's time to move forward. I have to understand and incorporate some things into my thinking about jewellery (for example that more isn't always more – and this is really difficult lesson for me, because I have some kind of horror vacui 😉 ), read a lot about history of art, and generally become more aware of what I'm actually doing. I'm also a bit of a control freak and I want to work on this. I want to try a few techniques that have unpredictable outcomes and check how I would feel doing something like this. I feel that this may be really good for my development. Maybe more for personal one than proffessional, but still worth trying.

How much time do you average at the bench per week?

To be honest, it's hard to say, but I think that about 15 or even less. It's probably not that much, but a huge part of my work happens far away from my working space. I generally feel, that coming up with a new idea and preparing an action plan in my head is about 90% of the work. Unfortunately this is my favourite part of creating and quite often I find it very difficult to move to that actual physical part. I love planning and playing with my ideas in my head. They are so perfect in there ;). And I'm literally NEVER fully satisfied with the final look of the piece.There is always something I could do better. Thought versus matter – painful encounter. But I think this constant dissatisfaction keeps me going, so it isn't something destructive.

What's the average time you spend on a piece?

I would say about 2-5 days. I make rather big, quite complicated pieces, so it takes some time to complete them. I also make pieces that can be finished in a few hours, but these are rather custom orders. I know I should have a stock of less expensive jewellery for customers who are not prepared to spend big money, but I have quite hard time making things like these. Last year I finally managed to design something smaller and more affordable – my bronze "twig rings". They are doing just fine and sell really well. I'm already working on another idea from the same price range. It will be something perfect for spring and summer :).

Do you sell your work? and where?

Yes, I sell my work in a few places:
my website – http://drakonaria.com
my Etsy shop – http://drakonaria.etsy.com ( my bestsellers there are my tutorials)
and a few Polish online galleries. I also have a few pieces in Emma Baird's gallery in Edinburgh.

Where do you get your new ideas?



I get the majority of my ideas when I'm doing things that activate my visual imagination. So for example not watching a movie, where I just have pictures fed to my eyes, but for example reading books, listening to evocative music, imagining something while strolling in the forest or riding a bus etc. I also get new ideas when I'm playing with my stones, browsing through Internet or looking through my sketchbooks. Actually ideas come to me in all, sometimes unexpected, places and situations, but all of them require some kind of activity. I don't believe in creativity being a sudden lightning from the sky. It's usually hard work that a brain makes, but it isn't always that obviously visible. And, what's the most important for me, it can be trained and developed.

Do you keep a sketchbook and how do you organize it?

Yes, I have a few sketchbooks, full of ideas, but organizing…? Well, I try not to loose them in a pile of other things ;). Being more serious – they are simply notebooks I make sketches in. Nothing especially interesting, no structure. They are also full of loose pieces of paper, because I don't have them always with me. When I draw something on a sheet of paper, I put it later into the current sketchbook. Pages of my sketchbooks are also full of holes, because I usually cut out a design when I finally decide to work with it. I simply want to have it somewhere close when I'm working and little piece of paper is more convenient than the whole notebook. I keep all sketchbooks, even the oldest ones, because I played out just a few percent of ideas I have there. Not all are worth making, but they can inspire something else. And some that I really like are simply waiting for right time. I usually go through my sketchbooks everyday, and decide that I feel like making this or that. I also keep in my sketchbooks notes about new materials and ideas that are on a verbal stage and are waiting to be developed into something visual.

Are there places or things you avoid that zap your creativity?

I generally try to avoid personal and proffessional conflicts. They seriously stifle my creativity – I simply think all the time about them and not about working, let alone coming up with new ideas. I also should avoid contemporary art :). I know it is simply a problem in my head, but after seeing all these simple, yet strong forms I sometimes feel like hiding into a dark little closet with all my naive flowers, trees etc. Actually I'm in a constant dialogue with myself about whether I should do simply what I feel, or strive to make something that could be considered art by some undefined authorities. And I can't be even sure if I'm capable of this. Sometimes I feel it zaps my creativity and sometimes I feel it may take me in some very interesting places. It's a process and I still don't know what the outcome will be.

Do you have a ritual before you begin to create?

I usually turn on an audiobook or music. If it's not too hot I also light a soy candle. I see my workshop as a sacred space in a way, and fire, nice music or a good book helps to induce certain state of mind. I like to feel a bit cut out from "normal" space and time when I work. Currently I'm listening to audiobook "Thief of Time" by Terry Pratchett (LOVE him) or to Żywiołak (Zywiolak) – Polish band playing Slavic neofolk, full of trance rhythms and texts inspired by Polish folklore.

What do you collect?

Stones, but only rough specimens. I started to collect them many years ago, long before I even thought about making jewellery. I also have a little collection of hand painted masks made especially for me and I really use them. Masks are very powerful tools to influence one's way of thinking and looking at the world. They are like a kind of mental lenses.

How do you rejuvenate your creativity?

I simply try to be in close relationship with everything that makes me think creatively. For me it means to spend a lot of time in nature, read good books, listen to wonderful music, have good relationships with amazing people. I also train my brain :). From time to time I make for myself little sessions of creative thinking excercises. It's fun and I see it really works.

What would your perfect creative day be like?

Wake up very early (simply because I love sunrises and I regret I see them so rarely), go for a walk to a nearby forest, eat delicious breakfast while drawing what I came up with during a stroll, turn on a wonderful audiobook or a folk metal band, light a candle and work for a few hours. Then greet my parnter coming back from work and spend great evening hanging out with him, or with our friends or maybe reading or painting something. And of course in my perfect creative day I would have a little fairy answering my emails, going to the post office and stinging me every time I want to check on Facebook ;).

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10 Responses to Anna Mazon: Muse Personality

  1. what a delight to read all about you and your life in the studio, thank you for sharing Anna!

    ps please don't enter me tonya, we have no starbucks here and i have most all of the lark books, but thank you!

  2. I just LOVE Anna! I have a necklace and a ring made by Anna. I look forward to seeing her new pieces!

  3. Thanks, Tonya, for the great article. I love reading about other artists. It makes me realize I am not alone in my creative thinking and habits. I am not on facebook or twitter, so this is a wonderful medium for connecting.

  4. Tanya, great write up on a great artist! It is so fun for me to hear about everyone's journey to metal clay! Anna, love that you abandoned your degree to follow your art! I am almost there too! Definitely an inspiration!

  5. Thank you everyone for your kind words about my work :).
    Michelle – I didn't abandoned my degree :). I completed my studies. I just decided not to work in corporation, but set up my own business. Maybe I wasn't clear enough in what I said. I'm not a native speaker, so I don't get all language nuances.

  6. […] The reason why Anna Mazon is featured here at “Meet the Slavs” is not only her Polish origin, but also the fact that this year she won the prestigious design award for a piece inspired by Slavic folklore.  Her “Slavic tales – Leshy” pendant brought her the second place in Metal and Clay category at “Saul Bell Design” 2014 competition. It is an important and internationally acclaimed contest based in USA, with the motto “recognizing distinction in jewelry design”. And Anna’s work is certainly distinctive! Having a look at it, one may think that the invisible creatures such as water nymphs and forest spirits weaved their magic in Anna’s pieces. No wonder, since she declares as a Naturalistic Pantheist and cherishes a deep connection to natural landscape. However, her work had not been especially based on Slavic heritage until the last year, when she stated in an interview: […]

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