Artist Spotlight: Stacy Vickery of Modern Madini

Stacy grew up making jewelry. “My mom took me to this place called ‘A Place to Bead’ when I was eight. It was a tiny little shop, more like a nook, with beads all over, and I would sit with Lynn, the owner—an old lady with long white hair—for hours.” Seed bead daisy chains and wrapped Silver Creek river stones evolved into large statement necklaces, and Stacy can be seen in her high school graduation photo wearing necklaces stacked upon necklaces, covering her entire neck.

Despite her love for jewelry making, Stacy went to the University of Oregon with the intention of becoming a volcanologist. But this quickly changed. “I’m an artist; it was silly for me to try to be a scientist,” she tells me. So, she switched to printmaking. She began working with intaglio prints where an image is etched into metal plates usually made out of copper or zinc. While she enjoyed printmaking, she kept coming back to the metal work it involved. “I loved the copper and all I wanted to do was to cut the piece of metal up and make it in to something. So, my professor basically kicked me out of printmaking and sent me to the metalsmithing and jewelry program, and that’s what I got my bachelor’s in.”

After college, Stacy married, moved to Portland, had a child and got divorced.  During that time she bartended and, despite creating the name Modern Madini and making a website, her jewelry line was put on hold for years. “I didn’t think I was going to have enough money to support a child and myself.”  But a few years ago, her mom had a heart attack, so she quit her bartending job and left for California for three months to help her recover.

“It’s unfortunate it took a tragedy, but I finally acknowledged that in order to be a good example of how to be a human to my kid, I needed to fulfill my own destiny, because otherwise I would be teaching him to go half way. I had put my jewelry career on hold for years thinking I had to because I’m a single mom…It was just money and fear, and I finally just let go.”

Now Stacy is a full time jeweler, constantly working and reworking brass, silver and stone into elegant, organic shapes in the small studio behind her house. “I don’t ever want to stop. Jewelry is an amazing art form…Especially brass — the way in which it oxidizes and wears; it’s it’s own thing that is constantly changing and I think, becoming more beautiful.”

You can find Stacy’s work locally at Button, Altar, Rome, Twill, Somethings, Water Knot and on her website. This year, Stacy will also host a Modern Madini holiday popup shop in Pioneer Place on 5th and Morrison, next to J.Crew from November 6th through Christmas.