Monday, February 28, 2011

In our hands... Mel Young.

Happy Monday everyone...
Did anyone else have a super super super huge week last week??
I certainly did! Hence the quiet posts' that i created last week on this tiny blog!

But I should have let you know that I was thinking of you, and working on something really big and very special for this week...
Last year I launched an online project entitled 'in our hands' that would focus on some of Sydney's brilliant artists', and more specifically, the way they create!

The first, and unfortunately only artist, that I was able to interview and photograph was the lovely ceramic artist Honor Freeman. I loved visiting her space and discovering the way she creates in the studio. But alas, that was where this project halted!
Well today I have the second installment for you...!
And this one is a beauty...
Today I have the pleasure of featuring the studio of brilliant Sydney-based jeweller
Mel Young...yay!
{Above in the lovely red dress is Miss Mel Young at the 2009 opening of un.nat.u.ral Naturally, a two-person exhibition of Mel and Lauren Simeoni's work that has now landed at the
Jamfactory in Adelaide, after touring New Zealand + Australia for the last two years.}

Mel Young is an artist that has exhibited, worked, written, curated, taught, and basically breathed-in jewellery for so many years, that it would take the whole post to list it all! Her passion, energy and love of her craft is plain for all to see. But on a recent visit to her studio space in Petersham it was so exciting for me to see the INNER workings of her creativity, and learn about the inspirations behind her amazing pieces.
Mel recently took some time out of her busy schedule to create another beautiful thing too, that being her lovely son Miles!!! Congratulations!!
So it was great to spend some time with her new addition to her life, while marveling at all her other shiny, colourful objects!! I had a ball as you can see from ALL the images I snapped on the day, but I hope you enjoy this little take on the creative life of Mel...


What is a typical day in the studio for you? Are they ever typical? Is there a pattern or routine to your studio day? Are you playful, organized + ordered or fluid?

The days have changed a lot since becoming someone’s Mum! I used to do a full eight to ten hour stretch playing and fiddling about, as well as hardcore making! Now, I spend a lot of time thinking and drawing and planning work away from the studio, so when I get in there (usually for only one – two hours at the end of the day), I am super efficient and get lots done.
Although I have always written lists, they are now more thorough. That said I still play, but probably a lot more in my head and on paper!

So… no one day is typical, there is a bit of a routine but I am also playful, organised and ordered!

How does inspiration come to you? e.g. in a dream, when you start to wake in the morning, while talking with someone? Meditating? Walking?

Inspiration comes from everywhere! Constantly! It really can strike at any time, but I do allow time to think about things – particularly exhibition briefs. I tend to do quite a bit of work for themed exhibitions and this means research – reading, looking, drawing, thinking which I love to do! I have a BIG research based project coming up which I am so excited about.
What is your process? Sketches/diary/travel/writing/workshop
How do you resolve a project? Do you always know when the piece/project is finished?

Research – visual and written, lots and lots of sketching, play and experimentation with materials followed by planning and making! Projects are resolved in this way too I guess and I wonder if anything is ever re finished?

What/who are some of your influences?
Gosh, lots!
What: architecture, the landscape, the interior of the body, social/cultural/historical ideas about the (female) body, a bit of cultural theory – I am particularly interested in cultural/historical attitudes towards odour/cleanliness. Traveling – be it around the world or around my wonderful, rich multicultural neighborhood. Traditional jewellery from the pacific, middle east and indigenous Australia; historical wallpaper, ceramic and textile pattern - particularly from China, the middle east and the Arts and Crafts era in Britain.
I could go on!!

.... again, a long list!

a small sample of Margaret West

the work of Warwick Freeman

What is one piece of inspiration that you carry with you? It may be a quote, an epiphany you have had while travelling, a life experience…

I have three quotes that I carry close to my heart:
‘Anything can be beautiful’ Marcel Duchamp

‘We finally made it... on a hilltop at 4am. The whole city is your jewellery box. A million yellow twinkling street lights. Reach out and take what you want. You can have it all.'
Lyric from 'Sheffield Sex City' by Pulp

…and most special of all, an artist statement written by the lovely Sean O’Connell for the exhibition alter ego which we both participated in during 2009, printed out and given to me by the equally divine Zoe Brand (who curated the show) – I actually carry this around with me all the time. It is beautiful, uplifting and never fails to make my heart sing!

Are you creative in other areas of your life? e.g. cooking, fashion, your home…

No, I don’t think so! Although years and years of working in galleries and craft/design retail means that I have a bad habit of curating/merchandising my living spaces and studio!

What other mediums do you enjoy? Drawing/photography…
I love to draw and paint!

Is there one misconception about artists’ that you would like to demystify?
That we are disorganized. All the artists I know are secretly rather anal!

Quickfire questions…
Favourite colour? Red
Fave spot in Sydney? Anywhere that I am with my partner and my son!
For coffee…? Salon Bim in Petersham
For swim….? Clovelly, North Bondi or Petersham pool during school term time.
Gallery space…? Gaffa, metalab, studio 20/17, object, breathing colours…
Art supplies….? Reverse Garbage
Best kept secret? The Dosa plate at Marrickville Markets on Sundays, oh, and apparently I am a secret Virgo!
The hands at work... with a beautiful vintage apron on her knee!

.... and they're off!

The studio partner... a.k.a Man-size the cat!

And finally Mel!
Busy working on a new piece
in the few short moments she has in the studio
while Mr. Miles is sleeping!
Thank you again Mel for allowing us into your private creative space!
I loved seeing it and I hope you all did too!


boxeduck said...

...Lovely interview! It's great to see another installment in the series. And Mel, I love to studio! So many interesting things!

Alenka said...

What a fabulous interview!! So interesting to hear and see how such a fascinating maker works! And take note how her life has changed since having a bub too. If you and Mel would like a coffee and playdate, Jona and I are always around xxx