Artist Philip Hartigan talks about art, interviews other artists, and more
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Interview with jewelry maker Ann Mazzanovich
Necklace by Ann Mazzanovich
Ann Mazzanovich is someone who I've worked with on the travel articles that I do together with my wife, Patty. In addition to helping shepherd travel-journalists and photographers around US destinations managed by her employer, PR firm Geiger & Associates, it turns out that Ann has a few other equally interesting sides to her personality. One, she studied sculpture at art college. Two, she comes from a family with a very interesting past. And three, she is still involved in art as a maker of jewelry.
Philip: You studied sculpture at art school. How did you get from there to making jewelry?
Ann: I’ve had a fascination—or some might call it an obsession—with jewelry my entire life. I had worked with beads and wire since I was small, but in college I began selling my work to make a little extra money. After graduating with a BFA in Sculpture from Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, I found selling my sculpture to be a difficult and lengthy process, often ending in heartache. I would spend countless hours on pieces only to be haggled down on the price, or worse yet, receive a free critique and not sell them at all. I found my jewelry to have a much more universal appeal, and it offered me the instant gratification I craved. Instead of laboring weeks or months over a piece, it was more like creating “sculptural sketches” which were done fairly quickly, fawned over and sold!
Philip: What sort of jewellery do you make?
Ann: I work mostly with vintage glass beads, semi-precious gems and sterling wire. I love the crazy colors and shapes of vintage beads and the challenge of incorporating them into a necklace. I also make wire-wrapped rings, which connect me to my background in sculpture the most.
Necklace by Ann Mazzanovich
Philip: You also have a busy life as a PR person working for Geiger & Associates. How do you balance the time between working and making?
Ann: Honestly, it’s a bit of a necessity. I’ve always been a crafter, a cook, a creative person, and tend to get depressed if I stay away from it too long. Being on the road so much means I’m in the studio less these days, but when I’m home I usually manage to find some time in the evenings to turn off the TV, tune in to NPR and get lost in the beads for a while.
Philip: Someone told me that your great-grandfather was the painter Lawrence Mazzanovich, and that his wife had a connection with Nina Simone. Could you tell us something about them?
Ann: Yes, my great-grandfather, Lawrence Mazzanovich, was born in 1872, right around the time his parents emigrated to the U.S. from Croatia. He became one of the early American Impressionist painters and was quite well known in his day.
Verdant Country Landscape, Lawrence Mazzanovich, c. 1915
I was named after his first wife, Ann, who we think had a lot to do with his early success (at least I’d like to think so!). However, in 1923 he left my great-grandmother and my grandfather, who was a child at the time, and moved to Tryon, NC where he eventually married Muriel (Harrington) Mazzanovich. In Tryon, Lawrence created some of his most admired works, and Muriel, known as “Miss Mazzy,” taught piano. Eunice Waymon, better known as Nina Simone, was one of her students.
Yes, THAT Nina Simone!
She began her formal music training with Muriel; I think she was only about 10, and several benefactors contributed to this early start of her career. My great-grandfather died before I was born, but in the 70s my parents would take us up to Tryon to visit Muriel, who still lived alone and taught piano until the day she died at age 102 in 1985. How I wish I had some of her genes as well!
Philip: Finally, how would someone go about obtaining some of your jewelry?
Ann: I mostly sell my work through two galleries: Humidity Gallery in Tallahassee, FL, and Newbill Collection by the Sea in Seaside, FL. You can also contact me about the work on my website, www.annmazz.com, and get information on upcoming shows there.
It's my 300th blog post. And I seem to remember that in my 200th blog post I said that I would start quoting from John Ruskin's "Praeterita", after which this blog was named. Well, better late then never, so quotation number 2 is below.
First, though, some thoughts on this blog and blogging in general. I started Praeterita at the end of last year after reading a book by an art-marketing guru called Alyson Stansfield that recommended it as a means for artists to publicise their work better. But from the start I thought it would be more interesting to talk in a discursive way about my wider interest in art, and artists, and the history of art. After a desultory beginning where I only posted once a week, my blogging habit has now grown to the point where I am posting sometimes twice a day, and more than 45 times per month (helped enormously by the Blogger feature that lets you save blog posts with a post-dated timestamp, so that you can put posts in the bank to …
Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:
Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.
Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.
A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…