Friday, April 15, 2011

Interview with Mary Lu Wason

Me at the bench  Our 2nd Interview as Art with TADA founder Mary Lu Wason!!

What was your first work of art and how old were you?

The first metal working I did was for a high school art class. I made copper earrings with stars cut out. I really loved them. Stars were my
thing, my personal symbol and to have my jewelry reflect that just seemed perfect. I remember thinking, this is fun. When I'm an old lady, I'll just make my own jewelry. And, that's basically what has happened.

I've been working on a collection this year called Metal Sky Jewelry Collection that is a tip of the hat to my younger self. I still draw freehand stars, some a bit wobbly and then cut them out of the metal.

I also remember, for the same class, making a bracelet from the top of my blues harp harmonica. The metal piece on top had fallen off, from so much use. (I played guitar and harmonica, back in the day.) So, I banged it into a cuff and added some macrame on the ends to tie it. This was the mid-70s. Very cool. I wish I still had it. I remember thinking this was also the perfect bracelet for me. My art teacher was astounded - wondering how I ever got this idea? He reacted to my projects like that
all the time. I didn't think it was unusual. I was just following my muse and using jewelry as a reflection of my interests.

I still do that. I still believe that something like an over used harmonica or an old button can be much more appealing in a piece of jewelry than a precious stone. It's all about why you are wearing the piece.

Who was the first artist to influence you?

That was probably Alphonse Mucha. Being a teen in the 1970s, his work and style was
all over the place on rock posters, t-shirts, etc. I realize now that's why I have a soft spot for Art Nouveau style. Pretty ladies, with long flowing hair, surrounded by stars. It represented a choice then, a way of looking at the world, a freedom from the boxes that our parent's
generation was imprisoned in.

I was also obsessed with Vincent Van Gogh. The passion he had, for whatever he did in life, was something I could relate to. I always go all the way with my interests - no holding back.

Do you think that there are any art movements now?

I do think that the Internet is fueling an art movement, but I'm not sure how to define it at this point. I'm excited about sharing my work daily online using social media in a community of other artists. I'm sure we'll look back in ten years and see this as a beginning of an upheaval in the art market. The concept of someone having to go to a distant city to see an exhibit and purchase work, seems more and more absurd. The concept of an artist having to spend $5000 to show and sell their work for 4 days to whoever can brave a snowstorm sounds ludicrous, doesn't it? But we're in the middle of changes now and there's no defined way of showing and selling art right now, especially art jewelry, which is not easily defined.

I believe that our Flickr group, TADA365 Art Jewelry, is part of a sleeping giant of an online Art movement. We are drawing on cave walls (or computer screens) - because the walls are there. We are collecting shells and other found objects and adorning ourselves with them
- because it's in our nature. This is how it's always been. Maybe the Internet can take some of us back to basics, casting off the dictates of an editor's whim or a gallery's connections. Maybe we can define for ourselves, what can be art, as well as fashion, talisman and memory. If we can show it and sell it online, maybe we won't need to fit into the definitions of the offline world.

Now that is really exciting!


  1. I would love to see your harmonica bracelet!! I like your thoughts on TADA and online art.

  2. I think I'll have to make another bracelet. The original is long gone.

  3. I love your way of looking at art and I had a thought that TADA shouldn't be only about jewelry. Love your thoughts. Harmonica bracelet is really an original idea and would love to see you do one more :)

  4. Very inspiring and thought provoking!Thanks for sharing these ideas Mary Lu!