Work In Progress – Diese Ist (Mein) Opa

By Alex Kinsley Vey

Oscar Vey, London Ontario
1950’s

Recently I’ve been invited to participate in an exhibition with the theme and title Memento Mori. The usual tropes are skulls, hair, references to time, but I decided to respond to this theme in a less direct way.

My Opa (Grandpa in German) was unfortunately a man I never got to know well while he was alive. He passed away in 2012, and suffered a stroke shortly after I was born which made it incredibly difficult for us to communicate. As I’ve gotten older I’ve regretted that we were never able to talk much.

Well after his passing I began to learn more and more about the man he was, the things he liked and disliked, and trials and tribulations both during and after the Second World War.

Memento Mori made me think of my Opa, all the black and white pictures of him in his youth, frozen in time, and how eventually that will be me, only surviving through memory and photography.

Oscar Vey, early 1990’s
And yours truly rocking the bowl-cut

I decided to memorialize him and create work that acts as a reminder that when we pass all that is left are pictures and memories. By taking these images of him, translating them into a solid wearable form, I hope to remember his life, and process my own eventual death.

I’ve begun by creating paper mockups glued to left over steel sheet. This allows me to play with size, see how they interact with the body when worn, and play around in Photoshop with different colours or oxides.
Cut out to size!
On the body!

This series of work is still very much in progress, but I thought it would be fun to share! The next step will be to create the final etchings on steel. Decide on a framing system for the brooch findings. And to finalize how I will treat the steel once it’s been etched.

Inspiration, creativity and Salvador Dali

Continuing on the theme of artists I find inspriring, this month I am talking a bit about surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

Dali’s Mustache – Photo by Philippe Halsman

taken from: https://www.wikiart.org/en/salvador-dali

I love surrealism.  It appeals so much to my sense of whimsy, and the sci fi/fantasy book loving geek in me!  I’ve had a long fascination with Dali, and when I was going through my phase of visiting galleries round Europe in  my late 20’s, I’d always be on the lookout for any offering from this artist.  One of my favourite paintings is Persistence of Memory, although it’s unfortunately not one I’ve seen in person .

One of the things I didn’t initially appreciate was how prolific he was.  Over his lifetime he created over 1600 paintings, to say nothing of the sculptures and other objects (like the Lobster phone).

The Lobster Telephone

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lobster_Telephone_Photo.jpg ; user Nasch92

It wasn’t until I visited the Dali Paris gallery that I realised how interesting and strange the inside of Dali’s brain must be (in only the best way of course!).  This was finally confirmed when I purchased (and read) his autobiography after visting Dali Universe London (Which, incidentally is a lovely venue by the banks of the Thames, just over Westminster Bridge), The Secret Life of Salvador Dali.

Apart from his art, one of the things that really stuck with me, was his daily practice of creativity.  Not necessarily for any purpose, but  just to let it out of himself, as if he couldn’t hold it back, and he’d make something out of almost anything.  I love that concept, and it’s something I strive to practice too, although not on nearly the same scale.

How do you practice your creativity?  Here’s a suggestion: why not visit us at the studio and learn a new skill or develop your existing ones in jewellery creation.

Stay safe, and we hope to see you soon!

-Robin

House of Cassady

Alex Kinsley – Experiments with plaster

Recently I’ve been experimenting with plaster as a material to create work with. Below is my journey so far!

It arrives! Hydrostone plaster & powdered pigments!

I’d been planning on exploring this material in my work for a while, but with the recent slowdown due to COVID19 I figured this was the time.

My first tests mostly focused on embedding steel into the plaster and then revealing it and letting nature do its work via rusting.

I’ve started keeping a log of my tests as I go! This will help in the future if I need to revisit the process.

I’ve still got a lot of testing to do, but the most recent one above is looking promising! Excited to continue down this path and post more results here.

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