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Interview with Mary Zayman

Home > Designer Interviews > Mary Zayman

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Mary Zayman (MZ) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Mary Zayman by clicking here.

Interview with Mary Zayman at Monday 21st of April 2014

FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
MZ: One of my earliest memories is of sitting in a garden and being absorbed by a small seed of some kind. Each time I picked it apart I found yet more structures, shapes, and designs within. Designing and creating art brings me back to this pure experience of the world.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MZ: I work in a studio in my Brooklyn apartment. It's very well equipped, and includes my two cats Pip and Malik who are a great source of comic relief.

FS: What is "design" for you?
MZ: For me design involves seeing the universal patterns and connections all around us. Let's say I see a beautiful tree. I may run home and start making something because the branches sparked a feeling in me and it seems important to try and capture that. If I can distill that essence so other people can have a positive experience that connects me, the tree, and the other person. This may sound esoteric, but that's because this question is asking me to put into words something that is essentially an emotional and visceral experience.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MZ: No preference. Lately I am drawn to rings and bracelets.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MZ: My designs each have some meaning to me. A piece which may not be the most successful might have given me a crucial learning experience. Like a mother with children I try not to have favorites.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MZ: Currently forging, lost wax technique, and carving metal.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MZ: Late evening to early morning.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MZ: My focus moves from the piece as a whole to details and back to the whole. I also turn the piece around constantly to view it as a sculpture in the round.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MZ: All of them.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MZ: Happy yet also critical. I'm a perfectionist.

FS: What makes a design successful?
MZ: A design needs to speak for itself; it is a visual communication. If it needs to be explained it is not successful.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MZ: I look at the design in it's entirety. I pay attention to the response I am having. I keep in mind that even if I don't respond positively the work could still be a good design.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MZ: As a jewelry artist I feel a responsibility to make my designs express ideas, feelings, concepts, and beliefs wholeheartedly. To try and push oneself and one's work beyond what has already been done can help to inspire, inform, and uplift. I don't believe it is necessary nor possible to achieve this integrity with each design, but the striving to do so needs to be there.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MZ: My next and first exhibition will be a group show to be held near Venice, Italy next year.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MZ: I am inspired by the natural world as well as dreams, emotions, and memories.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
MZ: Sculptural and biomorphic. That's just now though. Who knows how it might evolve?

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MZ: I think the American artist Jasper Johns gave the best answer I have ever heard. He said "Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it." (excerpt from a New York Times article by Roberta Smith published July 29, 1990 entitled Jasper Johns, Incessant Recycler of Images.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MZ: Believe in yourself and find a mentor. Only hang around with people who are supportive of you and your work. Strive for balance in your life. Don't go into your studio and work ten hours straight without food or water. It will burn you out and make you crabby. I speak from experience!

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MZ: Being creative is one of life's great joys, but it can be isolating.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MZ: Each component of a good design is interesting in itself, and when seen as a whole the design should be more than the sum of its parts. A good design flows; the gaze of the viewer should flow around the design rather than getting interrupted by an aspect of the design which was not carefully thought through. Every line, shape and color should be there intentional.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
MZ: Determination and a willingness to fail. The ability to learn from mistakes and to keep on trying no matter what. Humility is helpful whereas superficial egotism is not.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MZ: First and foremost my sketchbook. I also have books and countless jewelry making tools,

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MZ: I try and stick to a set schedule to be in my studio whist making time for other important aspects of living. It's essential to also take time to have a life!

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MZ: It depends completely on the project.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MZ: Where do your ideas come from?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
MZ: All of them.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
MZ: I am an emerging artist and am looking forward to finding them.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MZ: Work, work, and more work.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MZ: I design by myself and am blessed to have a wonderful mentor who has been there for me from the start.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MZ: I am working on a bracelet that I am really excited about. I see branching out into many different directions in this piece.

FS: How can people contact you?
MZ: I can be contacted via email at zaymanmary@aol.com

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
MZ: Thank you to all of the people who have given me support and wisdom, especially my wonderful husband and my inspiring mentor. Thank you A' Design Award for this honor.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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