Originally from New Zealand, Vicki Mason started making jewellery from a young age, and went on to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies and then a Diploma in Craft Design (Jewellery). Subsequentially, she secured work with renowned Swiss goldsmith Kobi Bosshard before moving to Australia to obtain a Master of Philosophy degree in Gold and Silversmithing.  

Vicki has been a professional jewellery maker for more than 24 years, and a teacher of short courses at the CAE in jewellery design since 2002. During her accomplished career, she has been awarded multiple grants and awards and continues to run exhibition and production practices and teach.  

Teacher Profile: Vicki Mason

Notably, she was selected for the previous NGV Melbourne Now Exhibition, which showcased the best Contemporary Australian artists and designers from a range of disciplines. Vicki recently sat down to share her thoughts on making jewellery, her upcoming courses and some advice for anyone starting out.   

 “Making jewellery fulfils a need I have to create objects that hold special meanings. These objects can be worn and can potentially provoke in the wearer and viewer a need for a response or interaction of some kind — jewellery then acts as a portable tool for the communication of ideas as well as a social object”  

Her philosophy on making jewellery is integral to both her studio work and teaching practice. She values the connection each person has to their jewellery and believes it is a way for people to connect with each other.  

“Jewellery’s a fantastic connector, I immediately look at what you’re wearing and it’s an entry point to a conversation. I think for people who are interested in jewellery, it’s a way of potentially making a friend.” 

Vicki values the lessons and skills other artists have taught her along the way and believes this is an important part of teaching students at the CAE.   

It’s passing on skills, keeping skills alive because it’s an ancient field. My pitch to the students is that I’m teaching professional techniques in a chilled environment.  People don’t need to be intimidated, it’s just practice like anything in life, the more you do it the better you get.  

The classes are designed for complete beginners, with students taking away their own handmade pieces at the end of each class. Vicki feels the most rewarding part about teaching is inspiring people and wants her short courses to give students foundational knowledge of the craft and the opportunity to try new things. 

‘I love it when I see the penny drop and someone is really inspired, it’s such a thrill. I’ve had students that come back for years’ worth of classes before they go on to vocational study. Some students have been gifted a class or always wanted to try one. They do it and can leave with something tangible they’ve made on their own. I find that I’m really chuffed for them, I’ve helped with that.” 

Helping others learn a new skill is just one facet of Vicki’s ethos as a contemporary jewellery maker and teacher. Sustainability is at the forefront of her creative practice and teaching students about the value of the metals being used.   

Sustainability is really important, I really like at the CAE that we have our tubs for copper and brass scraps, any of the scrap metal and dust gets recycled. I think honouring these resources we use is really important, and that students understand they come out of the ground and they have fantastic histories.” 

Vicki brings her passion for sustainable materials and decades of expertise to the three upcoming CAE short courses; Jewellery Making: Acrylic Jewellery, Twisted Wire Workshop and The Radiating Brooch. Each class has versatile options for participants making their own jewellery, and requires a mixture of technical skill and creativity, with an option to choose one of the sample patterns provided or make their own. Vicki even points out that the Radiating Floral Brooch workshop involves her own patent textile knotting technique.  

That’s my own technique, I’m giving away my own intellectual property in a way. I taught a workshop recently for eight students and it was really fun. A lot of them were followers of mine or they’d seen and really liked the brooch. There’s that thrill of owning a little bit of me and being able to wear it. 

Vicki’s upcoming courses emphasise connection, expression and skill-sharing. Every student leaves with new knowledge and a unique and handmade piece, the perfect gift for a loved one or for themselves. 

Upcoming Courses: 

Jewellery Making: Radiating Brooch – CAE 

Make a Radiating Floral Brooch using textile knotting techniques, you will work with a beautifully coloured hemp cord and learn to knot a pile into a support structure. A prefabricated brooch pin will then be stitched to this backing structure enabling you to wear your precious handmade pin at home. 


Jewellery Making: Twisted Wire Workshop – CAE 

Design your own twisted wire bangle and ring from copper, brass or silver wire in this hands-on jewellery course.  


Acrylic Jewellery: Introduction – CAE 

Colourful, flat acrylic sheet (Perspex) is perfect for making a range of contemporary jewellery including earrings, pendants, brooches and bangles. Students will select a simple design to cut out, and, under the guidance of Vicki Mason, work through the various creative processes in order to complete a work to wear.