INTERVIEW WITH NICOLE MOAN
Mayco: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Nicole: I am an Oklahoma City based artist who works in Custom tile, hanging ceramic art, however I am best known for my one of a kind wearable ceramic corsets.
What drew you towards working with ceramics?
Nicole: When I was around 4 or 5, I would spend time with my father in the studio watching him sculpt with clay and he would always hand me a hunk of clay to create what I wanted too. I really believe things like that helped form me as an artist, even though for a while, the last thing I wanted to be was an artist because I saw how hard my parents struggled to make a living. When art calls to you, it's really hard not to follow that calling.
Where did you come up with the idea of ceramic corsets?
Nicole: I needed an outfit for an event and I wanted to have something completely different. I was working on a tile mural at the time and began to devise a plan for making ceramic wearable in my head as I worked. The first corset was very rudimentary but inspired me to try new things until they became the more elaborate pieces they are today.
The details and designs of your pieces are one of a kind—how did you define the style of your work and where do you draw inspiration??
Nicole: I'd say the style of my corset work is best defined as electric yet, Venetian inspired. My custom tile work is most often nature themed but I take commissions of many different styles. There is so much in this world that inspires me. With my corsets I have series that are based on pop culture, nature based, some slightly macabre and others simply elegantly made for a night at a black tie function. I find so much beauty around me and I love when I can capture it in a new piece.
Can you briefly describe your production process for the ceramic corsets from start to finish? How long does it take??
Nicole: Time can vary from piece to piece. Most corsets are 4 pieces but they can be as many as 10 pieces. I engineered forms for different shaped of bodies. I use these as a base to shape my clay on. I roll my clay out as a slab and place it on my forms then sculpt into the surface or build on to the clay for more prominent pieces. Then I let it dry for a couple days before I fine tune the clay with water and a brush then fire the pieces in the kiln, glaze to dry for a couple days before I fine tune the clay with water and a brush then fire the pieces in the kiln, glaze to my desired Mayco colors before firing to a finished product.
How do Mayco glazes and products fit into your work?
Nicole: Mayco products are used in many of my steps to create a finished piece. I use Mayco tools From the Silicone stamps and mats to the spring molds and press tools used during the plastic or leather hard stages to apply texture to the surface of my corset, sculpture or tile. Glaze is one of the most important steps of my work. Mayco Glazes have become my chosen brand of glaze because the consistency and quality.
Is there a universal concept or theme that you would like to retain as the foundation to all your wearable fashion and other works?
Nicole: I want everything to be beautiful and usable. Some art is made to be static but I prefer to have both form and function in my pieces.
What roadblocks have you hit in both the ceramic and fashion marketplace? How did you overcome these?
Nicole: It's like walking a tightrope. Both the fashion world and artwork world have different guidelines and rules. Years ago I use to think this was a roadblock but now I use this to my advantage. Because I do not mass-produce or send off my creations I can take the time to be more individualstic with the jobs and shows that I apply to. I have had to work really hard to get work in both areas but I feel like focusing on more than one way to use clay has made me a stronger, more innovative artist.
Can you tell us a little about your studio space? How important is this environment in the conceptualization in your work?
Nicole: It has taken me years to get my studio close to the place I want it to be. Until 2 years ago, I made everything in my home because I didn't have an independent space. I built a room on the front of my house for my rolling table, kiln and shelves for my glazes. I now have a garage space built behind my house with plenty of room to work with my tools organized to help use my work time more efficiently. Having the room to work on several projects at once has been an extraordinary change for me.
What have been the most influential and career changing experiences you have had? What about these experiences was so important?
Nicole: Being the first person from the United States to be accepted to London's Swatch Alternative Fashion Week was probably one of the most influential at the beginning of my career. I had to learn how to put together fundraisers to afford to get not just myself but also my models and products over seas. It was a tremendous learning experience. It also made me appreciate so much the time and effort that non-profits go through to keep running and I find that some of the shows I get the most satisfaction out of are those that help out those groups. I have been working with Other Options, Inc. (a non-profit whose purpose is to provide food, resources, services and education to at risk individuals and families with a focus on those affected with HIV and AIDS) the last few years because I really believe in what they do, and I see how much they help in the community.
Can you tell us about any future projects?
Nicole:I have a few fashion shows coming up that that will benefit Other Options, as well as bids out for state projects for tile murals. I am always working on experimenting with new ideas as well. Currently I am working on a plus sized line because, even though my corsets are fairly adjustable for size, I feel like there is a part of the market that deserves to feel as beautiful that I haven't been able to reach.
What’s on your mind when you are working?
Nicole: With each project I ask myself how can I make this be6er than the last project? What new idea did I want to try? Can that be implemented here? Some projects do take a couple of tries because an idea didn't pan out but failure is a building block of success.
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