Denman Island metalwork artist Mary Hicks traces her inspiration all the way back to King Tut. Or more specifically, to the renowned international exhibition called The Treasures of Tutankhamun, which toured the world from 1972 to 1979, sparking global interest in the life and culture of this Egyptian Pharoah, who ruled 3000 years ago.
At the time, Mary Hicks was a pre-teen living in Chicago. Already a lover of art, Mary spent much of her spare time visiting the city’s many museums, galleries and sculpture gardens. When the King Tut exhibit came to the Chicago Natural History Museum in 1977, Hicks braved the long line-ups, and was not disappointed.
“I remember maneuvering through the crowds to get to the front of the showcases and being so struck by the beautiful metalwork, the brilliance of it, the play of light and the enduring quality of it. These things had been created so incredibly long ago and still remained. For me, that was the start of wanting to create objects of beauty that will arouse emotion or intrigue.”
It took a couple of decades, however, before Hicks began working with metal. In her formative years she attended California Institute of Arts, and was an art photographer/mixed media artist for over 30 years prior to becoming a sculptor.
It was literally a search for light that led Hicks to metalwork. She wanted a wall sconce for a bedside light, and decided to make it herself, out of copper foil. “When it was done, there was something about the quality of light when it hit the metal. It was so warm, so vibrant, so alive. I was completely captivated, and while photography will always be one of my main passions I have worked primarily with metal ever since.”
Metal offered the opportunity to move beyond the two-dimensional realm. Hicks began creating sculptural pieces, exploring weaving, grids and multi-layered patterns.
“I’ve always been drawn to abstraction,” says Hicks. “In my photography, I’m often shooting the innards of flowers. It’s the patterns of things and the quality of light—that’s what has always fascinated me.”
Hicks also makes art jewelry. “People started asking me to make jewelry. They’d see my sculptures and say, ‘I’d wear that if it I could.’” says Hicks. “I have woven copper jewelry pieces, pendants, earrings and hair barrettes.”
The jewelry will be the main feature at Hicks’ table at the Denman Island Christmas Craft Fair, along with small sculptures, ornaments, and photography. Hicks has been vending at the Denman fair for 10 years, and says the event is a highlight of the season.
“I’m honoured to be part of this community of incredible artists. I’ve attended several fairs and this is one of the best,” she says. You can see Mary Hicks’ artwork at www.maryhicksmetalarts.com
Denman Island Christmas Craft Fair
Nov 30 & Dec 1, 10 – 4
Free shuttle from the ferry, so you can walk on at Buckley Bay.
Home-made meals and treats available all day.
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