Interview with Nikki Nation

We took a few quick moments out of Nikki’s day to ask a few questions before we join her at her studio on May 15th for the first ever PERSPECTIVE: Shift jewelry edition.
Nikki is a full time jewelry artist/bench jeweler here in Colorado.
From her website:

Nikki has always had a strong interest in jewelry and body adornment from a young age. As a child she would create jewelry using a variety of materials and found objects. She found inspiration while exploring her grandmother’s jewelry collection,  from the different styles, materials, patterns, and shapes of every unique piece.

While studying Interior Design in college, she took a metalsmithing class and fell in love. She switched her area of focus  and in 2006 recieved her BFA in Jewelry & Metalsmithing.

eb951b_d1a85a4b8a9248bfb16688a9a5246dc7PERSPECTIVE: This is a really broad question, but why do you do what you do?
NIKKI: I don’t quite know how to answer this…. I guess I’ve always been creative and I’ve explored many creative outlets. After trying multiple mediums and art forms, I found that metalsmithing was the best way for me to communicate my ideas and to express myself. I really enjoy using techniques, tools, and metals that have been used for thousands of years. 
PERSPECTIVE: How do you work?
NIKKI: I tend to work a little different than some artists. I don’t really sketch or come up with full collections and lines based on one thing that inspires me. I normally start by working with metal in the raw form. While working on a piece, I normally get an idea. From there I sketch it out, and then go back to it later when I have time. I have stacks of designs and ideas and photos on my phone from “sketching” out with metal pieces that I can later reference. In the end everything has a cohesive feel, but comes from an unplanned place. I normally think of one of a kind pieces while working on production work. I also randomly get ideas in inconvenient places such as while driving or when I’m out being active.  
 P: How’d you get to where you are today? What’s your background?
N: I received my BFA in Jewelry & Metalsmithing in undergraduate school, and after graduation went on to manage a jewelry store, teach at multiple non-profit arts organizations, and I started figuring out a production line. A few years out of college I moved to Colorado and took a unplanned break from making and teaching. So jewelry in general. I started to pursue a Master’s degree in Arts Administration, and after getting into that decided that I really missed making jewelry. I found a new job as a bench jeweler for a small local jewelry company, and that inspired me to get back into jewelry. I started renting a studio space in River North Arts District, and worked on developing some new ideas. I finished my Master’s last summer and from there I launched my business and I pretty much make jewelry full time. I do still work a few days a week as a bench jeweler for someone else, and I also run my own business on the opposite days.


P: Congrats on getting your master’s! That’s a HUGE accomplishment! With so much experience, what work do you most enjoying doing?
N: My favorite thing is making one-of-a-kind statement pieces where I can experiment with my ideas on a slightly larger scale. 


P: Who is your favorite artist?
N: This is a tough question. I don’t really have one favorite. I would say Piet Mondrian, Mark Ryden, SWOON, and Richard Serra, Alexander Calder, Victor Vasarely, and Bridget Riley to name a few. 


P: As we discussed a little earlier, your inspiration comes from a lot of different places, but we’re still going to ask, what inspires you?
N: Another hard question, since there are so many things that do! I think I’m really inspired being around other artists who work in a variety of mediums and medias, and are really pursuing a full time career. It’s really inspirational to be around such a strong support group across the country.  Other things that I draw inspiration from are geometry, industrial spaces and landscapes, patterns, textures, and nature. 


P: Final question… What is your dream project?
N: One dream project is be collaborating with another artist, or a few artists, and creating a body of work that is left open to play. Nothing being preplanned. Another would be creating one of a kind pieces, or a body of work and presenting it for a museum exhibition. 


You can learn more about Nikki by visiting her website or her Facebook page.
Meet Nikki in person on May 15th and make your own jewelry at PERSPECTIVE: Shift – Jewelry Edition 

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