Thursday, February 10, 2011

An Interview with Vicki Cook of VCMetalworks

by Nancy of nancyrosetta

Meet my friend Vicki.
Vicki is a fellow metal worker who makes beautiful jewelry as well as other small useable works of art. I have been inspired to try a technique or two from following her progress over the years, and more recently, her blog, and I must say... she is inspiring!

Vicki teaches classes at Krasl Art Center and the Kalamazoo Institute of Art and shows and sells her work at the Chartruese Gallery and her Etsy store...among other venues.

I asked her a few questions...

How did you get started In your field, or what made you want to become an artist?
I was always making things, always; from grass, cardboard, paper, string, horse hair off the fence, extra fabric from cutoff jeans. Mom & Dad seemed to let me use any material I could get my hands on (if it was free) and just let me have at it, free reign, no directions needed.

What is the first thing you remember making by hand?
I remember making little carvings on sticks with a pocket knife that I borrowed from my brother, my mom was a little upset that I had a knife so I must have been pretty young.

What inspires you. Where do your ideas come from?
It's changed over time and I expect that it will change more in the future, but right now I feel very motivated by process; I'm excited about fold forming and synclastic forming so I'm playing around with that a great deal, seeing what I can do with it and how I can take it to the next step and the next...and then combining THAT technique with another technique like color on metal or mixed metal or enamels...

What do you like most about your work?
Struggling with a piece, whether it is the design or technique or material, then, bang! I get it! That's what makes me skip around the room.

What is your background? (family background, education, former/current day job?)
I recently told a friend about how my grandfather was a metallurgist and my father was a machinist then he became a metal cutting fluid engineer and she said it's like I was genetically predisposed to work in metal. I like that. I remember dinner table conversations about tensile strength, foundries, and ingots. It seems like the language of metal has always been part of my language. I studied ornamental blacksmithing for several years after high school, then about 15 years ago took up jewelry-scale metal work. I teach at Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, Michigan, sell my work through Chartreuse Art Gallery, St Joseph and make my work in my Benton Harbor studio.

Describe your creative process.
Usually I get an idea for a form and do a quick sketch, then try to fill it in with details, thinking about the steps I need to make it. Then I usually set the drawing aside and come back to it later, sometimes it's just a day but sometimes it is literally years later when I think OH, it just needed that little curve, or more doming. Then I let myself at the metal to make a prototype which may become a one of a kind or I might make a limited number or make it a regular item I produce.

In five years, where would you like to be?
Doing what I'm doing but more, in the last year I clocked an average of 18 studio (actual hands on metal) hours per week, and I have to drag myself out in the afternoon, I don't want to leave.

If I had my way, Vicki would definitely clock in more hours at the studio. I love what she does, and I love how happy it makes her to do it! I am always excited to see her next finished piece, and even happier when it inspires me to try a new technique!

Check out Vicki's page on Facebook! VCMetalworks

1 comment :

  1. Vicki, just fascinating! You are so very talented and inspiring.

    Nancy, thanks so much for a great interview and giving us all a closer glimpse into what make the Vic chic tick. Well done.


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